Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What Is the SDCA and How Does It Help FCA Suppliers Win More Business?

Dear Jeff, we received a notice from Fiat Chrysler that an SDCA appraisal has been scheduled for us. As a new supplier to FCA, we know they use it to determine whether we will be a long term supplier, and we're excited about the opportunity. What is the SDCA, and how does it help us win more business? ~ Paul A.

Dear Paul,

Great questions! The Supplier Design Capability Appraisal (SDCA) is a engineering performance model that was established to provide an intuitive and flexible framework to be used for evaluating the engineering and project management capabilities of suppliers.

The goal of the SDCA is to determine if a supplier demonstrated high performance their work with Fiat Chrysler. From the suppliers’ perspective, the goal is much larger. The SDCA is a model for improving service and product delivery. By following its guidance, suppliers can put themselves on the path to becoming not just a better company, but a great company that earns the long-term business that FCA is able to provide them.

Here are three ways the SDCA can have a positive impact on your ability to win more business:

Reason #3: Marketing

There is no inherent value in having a high SDCA score. The real value comes from making it your goal to improve and change the way your entire organization behaves, so that you deliver a work product of greater value to the customer. As a by-product, you will be able to demonstrate a higher level of technical and process capability, which will become what you are known for, i.e., your “Way” of doing business, your brand.

Reason #2: Customer Mandates

FCA wants you to be a high performer for reasons that should inspire you to want to be better. They think the SDCA is important because it is important.

You seem to get this, Paul, but some suppliers really don’t yet. They call us and say, “What do I need to do to get a high score?”

I always respond by asking, “Is that really why you are doing this? I understand that you want to stay in your client’s good graces. But the SDCA is so much more valuable and useful than that. Let’s talk about things like how well you are running your operation, how well you are delivering, how happy your customer really is with your service and delivery.”

For anyone who is passionate about improvement, these kinds of questions will get your heart thumping. These are the kinds of things you WANT to be asking, because learning is your goal, not merely getting a high score, and because asking the right questions is what great companies do.

And that brings me to …

Reason #1: To Be a Great Company

I find that more and more organizations understand the value of process improvement and performance innovation. Suppliers are approaching the SDCA as one of the tools that can help them learn how to behave like a great company. And while they know it won’t be easy to do the work necessary to learn the behaviors and transform their culture, they willingly take on the challenge, knowing that the journey can be its own reward.

I appreciate your taking the time to send in your question, Paul. With a little context and creativity, the SDCA is a powerful solution for any supplier that plans, designs, and delivers any type of product or service for the FCA. As long as you focus on setting the right goals and objectives, and asking the right questions, you are going to be a great company, and your business will grow.

Good luck!

Like this blog? Forward to your nearest engineering or software exec!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit http://my-broadswordsolutions.com for more information about running a successful SDCA program.

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