3. The ASPICE-Processes (VDA Scope)

3.16 ACQ.4 – Supplier Monitoring

What is the purpose?

There is an agreement between the customer and each supplier outlining how they will interface and work with the project.

What is the benefit?

With continuous monitoring and control of the supplier relationship and deliverables the project is aware of the supplier performance and ability to deliver their product and to take corrective actions if required.

What is the content?

  • Common processes and interfaces are agreed upon and maintained. (BP1)
  • Relevant information is regularly exchanged between the customer and the supplier. (BP2)
  • The technical development is regularly checked with the supplier and technical aspects, problems and risks discussed. (BP3)
  • The progress of the supplier regarding dates, quality and costs is regularly checked. If necessary, risk mitigation measures are implemented. (BP4)
  • Corrective actions are taken when objectives are not achieved. Changes to the agreements are approved and documented between the parties. (BP5).
Cooperation between customer and supplier
Cooperation between customer and supplier

Experiences, problems and hints

  • ACQ.4 is required if development of a component is subcontracted, or a purchased component need to be adapted to project requirements.
  • This can refer to both external and internal development of product components. Supplier control is also helpful and necessary for internal suppliers.
  • The VDA Automotive SPICE Guidelines recommends that ACQ.4 be applied to COTS products as well. In our opinion this recommendation adds little value. Check with your OEM(s) to understand their requirements.
  • Some organizations use supplier employees that are fully integrated in projects. In these cases, ACQ.4 does not apply. In an assessment, this situation should be assessed as part of project management (MAN.3). Whether ACQ.4 or MAN.3 is used to assess the cooperation is based on the actual nature of the cooperation and not on formal, legal aspects.
  • Supplier management can be very labor intensive and is often underestimated, especially for off shore suppliers. Often there needs to be a dedicated role “Supplier Manager”.
  • Even if you impose Automotive SPICE compliance on your supplier, the project still needs to execute the ACQ.4 process where appropriate.

Automotive SPICE text of Supplier Monitoring (ACQ.4)

The purpose of the Supplier Monitoring Process is to track and assess the performance of the supplier against agreed requirements.

BP1: Agree on and maintain joint processes, joint interfaces, and information to be exchanged. Establish and maintain an agreement on information to be exchanged and on joint processes and joint interfaces, responsibilities, type and frequency of joint activities, communications, meetings, status reports and reviews.

NOTE1: Joint processes and interfaces usually include project management, requirements management, change management, configuration management, problem resolution, quality assurance and customer acceptance.

 NOTE 2: Joint activities to be performed should be mutually agreed between the customer and the supplier.

 NOTE 3: The term customer in this process refers to the assessed party. The term supplier refers to the supplier of the assessed party.

 BP2: Exchange all agreed information. Use the defined joint interfaces between customer and supplier for the exchange of all agreed information.

NOTE 4: Agreed information should include all relevant work products.

 BP3: Review technical development with the supplier. Review development with the supplier on the agreed regular basis, covering technical aspects, problems and risks and also track open items to closure.

BP4: Review progress of the supplier. Review progress of the supplier regarding schedule, quality, and cost on the agreed regular basis. Track open items to closure and perform risk mitigation activities.

BP5: Act to correct deviations. Take action when agreed objectives are not achieved to correct deviations from the agreed project plans and to prevent reoccurrence of problems identified. Negotiate changes to objectives and document them in the agreements.

Output Work Products

Commitment/agreement, Acceptance record, Communication record, Meeting support record, Progress status record, Change request, Corrective action register, Review record, Analysis report

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