Globalization has lead to the continual geographical redeployment of manufacturing facilities to lower cost business environments as manufacturers seek the ever elusive competitive edge. Product development has become more complex, with consumers demanding ever more advanced features, requiring a mix of embedded electronics and embedded software. Consequently products or services are built with a network of specialized companies (ie parts suppliers), a trend which is only set to accelerate, – fueled by consumer expectations of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and the new features it promises. Nowhere is this more evident than in the automotive industry and the automotive supply chain, where the use of maturity models such as Automotive SPICE, a registered trademark of Volkswagen AG (sometimes referred to as ASPICE) and Capability Maturity Model (CMMI) have become a requirement for all concerned.
The problems associated with geographically dispersed manufacturing facilities are a consequence of actions taken to drive down costs and are a question of quality and Supply Chain Logistics as well as the need to increase the speed of development. Maturity models address these very issues, and with regards to the automotive industry, the two maturity models mentioned above dominate, and typically suppliers work with both models.
What exactly is a Maturity Model and What does it do?
A Maturity model is a organizational comparison tool designed to evaluate an organizations methods and processes against industry best practices; and based upon the results, provide a maturity rating (which is effectively a process and capability rating), enabling organisations to determine supplier suitability. Since 2005 when the Automotive SPICE model was published, many car manufactures have adopted ASPICE to evaluate both software and electronics suppliers. Key to the success of ASPICE is the scope of the model, accounting for domain specific models within an overall umbrella model.
Whats new in ASPICE v3?
- Since SPICE version 2.5, System engineering processes have been included but it is only now with the release of ASPICE version 3 (2015) that it is a top level architecture within the model, also the domain specific model has been extended to become a plugin concept. ASPICE is now being used effectively for system, mechanics and hardware development in Europe and elsewhere, this is similar to how the older more widely used CMMI model developed in the US and Asia. The plugin concept increases adaptability of ASPICE.
- Previously Automotive Spice was split into two documents, a Process Reference model (PRM) and a Process Accessment Model (PAM) document but with ASPICE v3, PRM and PAM are merged into a single document (also version 3).
- With regards to Stakeholder requirements, system requirements and system architecture, earlier versions of ASPICE were focused on bidirectional traceability but with V3 the focus has split to not only bidirectional traceability but also to consistancy, highlighting the importance of consistancy when considering the traceability matrix in review.
- ASPICE Version 3 includes an optional measurement scale for the Capability level model, (Process Attribute Rating scale, Rating & Aggregation method by reference to ISO 33020)
- Reorganisation of software Design – aligned with ISO 26262 Part 6 clauses
- Reorganisation of Construction Process – aligned with ISO 26262 Part 6 clauses
- Engineering Process ID altered to indicate System and Software Level Processes.
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