Product lifecycle management (PLM) is a software platform that helps centralize all product information, data, and processes to help improve collaboration and make better products by having access to all the required information. It includes everything related to the product from the initial notes and design sketches all the way through the recycling and disposal instructions. With all this information readily available teams can effectively communicate and make critical design decisions.

Selecting a PLM Solution

Choosing the right PLM solution for your organization is no easy task. As the backbone for your organization, you want to make sure that you have a platform that meets all of your needs. We do believe that any product-oriented company should make an effort to onboard a PLM solution, but we also understand most companies don’t have the resources or expertise to conduct a full head to head investigation. As an expert in the PLM space we thought it would be helpful to provide a comparison of two of the major leaders (PTC Windchill and Autodesk Fusion) so you can make the right choice for your organization.

PLM Comparison: Feature Breakdown

Product Data Management

Product data management (PDM) is one of the primary functions of a PLM system and while both systems have this capability Windchill is more robust.

Autodesk Fusion includes advanced functionality that supports document controls, check-in/check-out capabilities for Microsoft Office documents, centralized data vaults with controls, and embedded 3D viewing.

Windchill includes all of these functionalities, plus the ability for non-CAD users to markup documents. This plus the more advanced UI makes it the winner in this category.

PTC Windchill includes robust PDM tools and an easy-to-use UI.

New Product Introduction

Autodesk Fusion and PTC Windchill both cover the basic needs when it comes to new product introduction. However, Windchill goes above and beyond with a seamless UI that makes navigating through menus and tasks simple. In addition, Windchill also includes integrated Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), which helps teams ensure that products and applications continue developing in lockstep. Windchill also allows users to seamlessly switch from a drawing-centric approach to a parts-centric approach depending on what is needed.

PTC Windchill includes integrated Application Lifecycle Management features which helps support new product introduction.

Bill of Materials (BOM)

A requirement in a PLM solution, both platforms include Bill of Materials (BOM) tools. Autodesk Fusion provides numerous examples of customizable and configurable BOM documents so users can decide what information they do and do not want to include. Product roll-ups in Autodesk include both the traditional cost roll-up and also offers the option to include additional factors like weight.

PTC Windchill and Autodesk Fusion both include advanced BOM tools.

PTC Windchill includes more advanced sorting and searching capabilities as well as superior parts classification. These tools help reduce the creation of duplicate items and supports improved engineering productivity.

Quality and Risk Management

Autodesk Fusion includes advanced capabilities for quality management. It includes tools for up-front inspection reporting and various processes for tracing compliance, which is used in a variety of industries including aerospace, medical device, and food and beverage. Unfortunately, Autodesk doesn’t include any tools to help with risk management.

PTC Windchill includes all the same features as Autodesk, plus includes advanced risk management capabilities.

PTC Windchill includes all the aforementioned Autodesk features, plus adds risk management capabilities. There are tools to predict reliability and maintainability, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), and a variety of advanced statistical analysis algorithms to help teams predict and manage risk.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Connecting and integrating operations using the Internet of Things (IoT) is a goal for many organizations. PTC Windchill includes the tools you need to gather and analyze data from your connected products in the field to support and improve product design. Windchill also has the Performance Advisor which automatically alerts PTC about any issues occurring within your Windchill instance. While Autodesk does have capabilities to monitor equipment in the field, their Fusion Connect platform isn’t able to self-monitor like the PTC solution.

PTC Windchill supports your smart and connected operations and includes self-monitoring features.

Cloud Deployment

More than half of new PTC Windchill customers choose cloud deployment, but PTC offers a variety of deployment options for customers. The cloud setup simplifies collaboration, increases the availability of data, and easily integrates with other applications.

Autodesk Fusion is only available in the cloud and like many other cloud-based applications, is very open about its pricing structure. While both Autodesk and Windchill have comparable price points, some users find up-front openness more reassuring.

Both solutions include cloud-deployment options.

On the flip side, if you choose PTC Windchill with NxRev we can provide you with additional guidance that is more accurate than self-pricing estimates that are publicly available. We understand how and why the software is priced the way it is and know all the hidden “gotchas” that people often overlook when estimating their deployment costs.

PLM Comparison Winner: PTC Windchill

Based on our analysis above, PTC Windchill is the clear winner. Many industry experts from IDC and Forrester also agree that PTC is one of the leading – if not the top – PLM solution. We understand that depending on your specific situation PTC Windchill may not be the ideal platform for you – we recommend working with a reliable third party during the selection process to help you make the right choice.

We will admit, we are slightly partial to PTC due to our existing relationship – but we have made every effort to keep our PLM comparison as unbiased as possible. Based on the feature sets and available capabilities, PTC Windchill is just a more robust and comprehensive solution that is likely to meet your organization’s needs.

Curious to see how Windchill compares to other PLM solutions? Check out our other PLM comparisons!