Quality engineer

Quality engineers guarantee the compliance of products (as well as services and manufacturing processes) with the company’s standards or those required by law. Their role is to ensure the ongoing equivalent quality of merchandise, in order to build customer loyalty.

Specifically, they define quality indicators (e.g. health, solidity), then set up control procedures for the overall production line, from raw materials to the finished product. Audits allow engineers to detect non-complying parts, analyze them and finally to improve manufacturing processes.

Quality engineers also supervise technicians and workers, and train them on the standards in effect in the company. Sometimes they prepare product certification files.

They most often work for manufacturing companies. They may specialize on a product line or take care of all the production.

The job involves close cooperation with various internal departments including maintenance, sales, studies, methods, and production. Likewise, contacts with customers, suppliers and subcontractors are very frequent.

SPECIFIC SKILLS

  • Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering
  • Be registered with their province’s professional engineering association for the right to practise as an engineer (P.Eng. or ing. in Quebec)
  • In-depth knowledge of quality tools and methods
  • Knowledge of the company’s products, technology and environment
  • Team management ability
  • Bilingualism (French/English) for Quebec professionals

PERSONAL QUALITIES

  • Thoroughness and attention to detail
  • Open-minded
  • Organizational skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Critical analysis skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teaching skills

WHAT THE PROS SAY

INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTIAN BARDOUX, CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT CONSULTANT

Since 2004, Christian Bardoux has worked on improving procedures—how things are done—used by the various Pratt & Whitney Canada departments. With ten years of experience in the study of product quality under his belt, the French engineer is thrilled with his passage to the “process” side for the aerospace giant.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DUTIES?

To summarize, I am in charge of advising my inside clients and on how to work better, faster and cheaper. I identify their weaknesses to help them become better. For example, I am going to show a professional that he is using 15 steps and three back-and-forths for a task that could be done in three steps, with no back-and-forths. My “clients” here at Longueuil include all the company departments, including manufacturing, finance and human resources.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT EXECUTING THIS BIG JOB?

When I work with a department, I start by analyzing its needs, then I map its processes. Then I look for potential areas of improvement, and draw up a new process map. This reiterative process is continually ongoing. To do this work, I use cause investigation models, which are both theory- and practice-based. They are standards resulting from the experiences of Toyota and of large aerospace manufacturers.

WHY ARE PROCESSES OF SPECIFIC INTEREST?

Because the key to quality depends on the use of effective processes. A company cannot make good products if the method has not been approved. I work on checking the bases upon which a business runs. I’m in a great position to know about all the jobs in a company. If I had to start my career over again from the beginning, I would spend less time on products and more on processes.

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