Quality engineers are at the heart of our organization. As a third-party quality assurance firm, we count on the hundreds of engineers we have positioned throughout the world to be the eyes and ears for our clients on-site at their factory locations. As an exhibitor in this year’s World Conference on Quality & Improvement last week, we had the pleasure of meeting more than a handful of these passionate quality professionals and have further assurance that these individuals share certain attributes unique to the industry. An eye for quality doesn’t quite do it justice, but rather a combination of attributes that are unique to these individuals.
Quality Magazine recently posted an article discussing Five Things a Quality Engineer Should Know, and they were spot on:
- Business Management System
- Time Series Tracking for Process Metrics
- Process Documentation
- Data Analysis
- Organizational Metrics Improvement
We agree with Quality’s summary,
Quality Engineers can be a more valuable asset to their organizations when they expand a silo scoping of their work efforts to orchestrate the big picture and its associated processes.
But, what do we look for in our quality engineers?
For us, we do look for the certifications such as ASQ’s CQE, to further solidify an engineer’s commitment to the industry and practice. In addition, we want to see that they have an intuitive eye for quality. For example, there are times when issues arise during on-site inspections when defects are noted that are not detailed within the product specifications. A subjective call of major, minor or critical is required and must be justified to the client for a final disposition. Of course, an operations team is setup with Technical Supervisors and such, but the field engineers play an important role in identifying issues and capturing the broader scope of the production situation and how it relates to our client’s current and future orders.
What does it mean to be an ASQ CQE?
The American Society for Quality Control defines the CQE as: a professional who understands the principles of product and service quality evaluation and control.
They are trained in researching and preventing unnecessary costs through lack of quality, lost production costs, lost market share due to poor quality, etc. They possess the knowledge needed to set up quality control circles, assess potential quality risks, and evaluate human factors and natural process variation.
More on the ASQ CQE exam here.
Quality engineers that join our team must also be detail oriented and have that attention to detail translate professionally through the reporting process. We take proactive steps to ensure we work with qualified engineers in terms of their technical ability and experience, but that information is ultimately reflected in the reporting process. It is the final report that gives supervisors and clients the information they need to make important decisions regarding shipment dispositions.
Several months ago, a survey indicated only 9% of respondents said engineers would make the best chief executive officers, behind people from other fields including operations, finance, marketing, academia and sales. Our own observation of quality engineers felt additional factors were at play, but we do expect our quality engineers to show leadership ability. We believe this is a skill not defined by the profession, but rather an individual’s personality.
If you’re thinking all of this describes you, and you’re wanting to work with a team of people that appreciates and values their engineers, contact us. At Pro QC, we are always looking for quality engineers to assist with projects we have throughout the world!