Trustworthy Product Lifecycle Management Using Blockchain Technology—Experience from the Automotive Ecosystem

  • Manuel HollerEmail author
  • Linard Barth
  • Rainer Fuchs
Part of the Decision Engineering book series (DECENGIN)


Rooted on the principle “from cradle to grave”, the lifecycle-driven approach to managing products like automobiles and related services has been recognised as a pivotal approach in research and practice [5, 15]. Digital technologies have continuously fostered the further development of product lifecycle management (PLM) in recent decades [17]. Nowadays, novel disruptive technologies offer even more important advances for providers and users of such solutions alike [14]. For the case of the automotive industry, intelligent products have created seamless visibility over the vehicle operations [9], big data techniques allow for the creation of sound insights [10], and blockchain technology holds the potential for trustworthy vehicle data management [2, 7]. The economic potential of preventing fraud and providing correct data is vast. Solely for the case of mileage manipulation, financial damage of around 9 billion Euro is estimated for the European Union [3]. Accurate data establishing the basis for digital services potentially delivers a global revenue in the 100 billion Euro range [11]. While these benefits of decentralised and encrypted data management are clear in theory [6, 18], less knowledge is available about the practical implementation of such blockchain-based solutions [2, 7]. The purpose of this case study [19] is to reflect experiences from a project in the setting of a leading automotive player which targets development and roll out of a trustworthy product lifecycle management using blockchain technology. Specifically, the study at hand mirrors insights from the automotive ecosystem focusing on the business-to-business context, involving fleets, OEMs, and repair shops. Such a case study seems valuable as research and practice call for real-world insights on blockchain applications especially outside the financial industry [1]. After this abstract, the second part of the case study provides a sketch of product lifecycle management and blockchain technology itself. In the third part, further details on the case of vehicle operations in the automotive ecosystem are given. The fourth part illustrates findings in terms of experience from the realisation of trustworthy product lifecycle management. In the fifth part, a discussion on the diverse and relevant hurdles to overcome is followed by a description of limitations and a view towards the future.


Product lifecycle management (PLM) Blockchain technology Distributed ledger technology Automotive ecosystem Case study 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marketing Management, Product Management CenterZurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)ZurichSwitzerland

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