SUP.9 Problem Resolution Management

Involved in the challenges of Automotive SPICE, particularly problem resolution management? Read on for a quick overview of key information on SUP.9, a key process from VDA Scope, including a video and our free white paper.

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Automotive SPICE® is a trademark of VDA QMC.

The Problem Resolution Management process in Automotive SPICE® (also known as SUP.9) helps your organization to identify, analyze, manage and track problems to closure. 

In a project there are many problems that you have to take care of. For example, the customer reported a serious malfunction in the software that was delivered last week. You need someone to check what the cause is, fix it, and then deliver a corrected version. This sequence involves many people and many different steps. Many things can go wrong on this way. It is very likely that the customer will not receive his solution and he will be disappointed.

And that's why you need problem management.

You need to reliably manage this process and ensure that all work steps are completed on time and that the solution is ready at the desired time.

The following are the most important aspects of Problem Resolution Management in Automotive SPICE®.

Image   The SUP.9 process under VDA Scope
Your free white paper

Interested in finding out more about Problem Resolution Management (SUP.9), the Automotive SPICE® process from VDA Scope? Our free white paper provides you with a summary of all key information, including an extract from our book on Automotive SPICE® Essentials – ideal reading for anyone new to the topic of process improvements.

Set up a great Problem Resolution Management strategy.

Solving a problem requires dozens of people in different teams and locations.  If you don't coordinate these people and track the status of problems as they flow through the different steps, it will never work. A good strategy makes it clear to all involved how the workflow is, how progress is controlled and who is responsible for what.

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Focus on urgent resolution actions.

Imagine that the customer performs integration tests in the field. Your device does not interact correctly with other devices, blocking the entire test process. He calls someone in your company and wants a solution NOW! The problem is that your problem resolution process involves many steps and takes a lot of time, much more time than the customer expects. Well, how do you deal with it?

Here is your solution: Within your strategy, you have a definition of how to deal with such situations. This includes an accelerated process, for example, skipping some of the tests normally required. This, of course, involves some risks. Therefore, you also need to define who can authorize these types of short-cuts. Finally, you must specify how the process steps you have skipped are to be made up after the end of the urgent resolution case. With these simple steps, you can save valuable time, make customers happy, and still do everything your processes require. Also, don't forget to train the people involved properly.

Solve the problems.

Well, solving the problems sounds like a piece of cake. In fact, this is not the case and I have seen many disasters, for example:

  • Problem management is out of control because nobody is in charge.
  • Problems get lost or stuck or are solved far too late.
  • … and the worst thing is that the developers don't have enough time to solve problems when a large number of problems come in.

Let us talk about solutions and let me present some best practices and experiences.

  • In the strategy you should have a status model of the problems. For example: New, in evaluation, in implementation, implementation completed, released, delivered, approved by customer. When developers perform the problem resolution process, they switch the status in their task management tool to the next status. 
  • Also, make sure you have someone who actively monitors the flow of the problems. This person should regularly create status reports or dashboards. These reports are evaluated in weekly technical sessions, where issues are discussed and solutions agreed. 
  • Make sure that developers are not 100% busy developing new features and have enough time to resolve problems. Therefore, if you know when a large number of new issues will come up, make sure the developers have enough time left. If you keep all this in mind, your problem management will simply work great!

That is Problem Resolution Management in short.  

Nothing works without

As part of our strategy to systematically improve development processes in the automotive electronics sector, we are also an official licensee of Automotive SPICE® – a trademark of the Association of the German Automotive Industry (VDA QMC).

If you follow these points

  • you will implement powerful problem management functionality,
  • you will keep control of your problems,
  • and you will avoid having disappointed customers.
  • Using Automotive SPICE® to achieve the required maturity levels within your key processes in development
  • Systematically improving existing workflows and methods
  • Evaluating the status of your process improvements through formal assessments and gap analysis
  • Fulfilling the requirements of Automotive SPICE® in harmony with SECURITY,FUNCTIONAL SAFETY and AGILE METHODS
  • Training your staff and assessors

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