Most C3P (CAD/CAM/CAE/PDM) and CPC (Collaborative Product Commerce) tools in use today are not really PLM knowledge capture tools. The need for change after a design model is initially built is all but inevitable. Today, PLM CAD models are built from scratch only when engineering activity is complete, and are validated via a series of design reviews. Design workgroups typically document the design through CAD software only after the completion of major engineering processes and after resolving all of the pressing engineering issues. A PLM work-group captures the geometry in a static form, such as lines and surfaces. Static representation is actually a documentation that tells a designer what the final design looks like, but not how it has come to be.
If changes are required in the design, a new CAD model is recreated (see CE Fundamentals BOOK-Volume II Figure 6.1) using some type of computer-aided "re-do" or backtracking methods. Such CAD methods of activating change or modification (e.g., a redo or a backtracking) can be extremely time-consuming and costly that late in the PLM process. In such static representations of geometry, configuration changes cannot be handled easily, particularly when parts and dimensions are linked. In addition to the actual process that led to the final design, most of the useful lessons learned by designers/engineers along the way are also lost. In the absence of the latter, such efforts have resulted in loss of configuration control, proliferation of changes to fix the errors caused by other changes, and sometimes-ambiguous designs.
Hence, in recent days, during a PLM product development process, some forward thinking companies are looking on the methods used for capturing the PLM (life cycle) intent model with ease of modifications in mind NOT only its PARAMETRIC-driven features. The power of a true "PLM intent capture tool" comes from the methods used in capturing the "PLM intent" initially, so that the anticipated changes can be made easily and quickly later, if needed.
Such "PLM Intent Capture" concepts are described by this author in a Concurrent Engineering Fundamentals Book published by Prentice Hall. You may find details in: