The feasibility of developing new automotive parts from the supplier perspective: proposal of a managerial tool for a plastics company
The automotive sector is one of the main pillars of the Brazilian industry and supplier companies – although often neglected in the literature - have a crucial role in its growth. In these companies, processes associated with product development have increasing importance due to shorter products’ life cycles and the continuous spillover of R&D activities to emergent countries, as observed in last decades. This study aims at proposing a managerial tool to support the business process of a plastics company, focused on activities triggered by the Request For Quotation (RFQ of “buy” non-Codesign parts, often sent by a car manufacturer) till the formal response to the client and the project planning. To achieve this objective, a search on the product development literature nurtured the contours of a first version of the proposal. Then, data about the quotation processes of two other automotive suppliers was collected in order to allow a comparative study. Finally, structured interviews were conducted with some managers of the plastics company to refine the understanding about the information flow and generate a final version of the proposed process and tool. As a result, a new process was designed as so as a new managerial tool to support its systematic application within the company. Such a proposal intends to guide the assignment of responsibilities among the functional areas, define clear inputs and outputs for each task and also assure that precise information can be generated for each involved agent throughout the quotation process and project planning. As a conclusion, not just the risk associated with the quotation process is expected to reduce, but also the horizontal communication and reliance among all internal functions involved is expected to improve. The experience described in this study also intends to serve as a reference for other non-codesign supplier companies in their challenge of establishing processes that enable a better insertion in the automotive supply chain and in its inter-organizational product development processes.