The role of a quality engineer can vary greatly between companies. In larger manufacturing operations, quality engineers can have a specific focus or area of expertise (such as Quality Assurance Engineering [include link to QA Associate article] or Quality Control Engineering [include link to QC Associate article] – check out the links for more information about the differences in those areas). In smaller operations, quality engineers can be tasked with a much wider remit of responsibilities, providing quality engineering support to the whole system.
Whatever the specific set up, quality engineers are working to ensure that manufacturing processes and ultimately, final products, meet both internal and external quality standards.
Based within the manufacturing facility, quality engineers can work on the manufacturing floor, in an office, or in a lab – depending on the specific tasks they are carrying out at the time.
- As previously mentioned, specific duties of a quality engineer will vary from company to company. But as examples, they can include:
- Creation of quality documentation and development of SOPs for their facility and products in line with industry standards
- Proactive review and improvement of systems and processes to ensure maintenance of standards
- Maintaining accurate quality documentation
- Close working with manufacturing staff to ensure quality protocols are followed and documentation is correctly maintained and implement any new changes or adaptations based on quality review
- Inspection and testing of various parts of manufacturing including products, components, processes, and comparing against predefined standards
- Ensuring safety requirements are met at every point in the manufacturing facility
- Analysing problems reported and developing improvements to overcome them
- Oversight of junior quality team members
- Statistical analysis of manufacturing data and creation of reports for senior staff members based on quality documentation
- Close working with external partners e.g. suppliers, customers, etc
- Continuous improvement to the manufacturing process