An increasingly competitive marketplace has steered the business transformation of companies, and they continue to develop innovative products for a competitive edge. With a wide range of products and services available, manufacturers and service providers must provide top-quality products with competitive pricing for a business edge. Herein, customer satisfaction and feedback play an important role, as product designs revolve around greater happiness and ease of living. Companies thus take into account the ‘voice of the customer through Quality Engineering methods and tools at every stage of the product development and release conception, development, and implementation processes. An efficiently implemented Quality Engineering mechanism lowers costs while maintaining high quality, positively impacting the organization’s bottom line.
In the race to gain a larger share of the market and a wider consumer base, companies are constantly developing and introducing new or improved products. As success in garnering more customers is not always a surety, businesses ensure high standards and competitive prices. It is possible by continuous quality control and engineering, reducing wastage, and ultimately bringing down product prices. The Voice of the Customer (VOC) is integrated into product designs for better products that satisfy customers and reduce attrition.
If you are an Engineer who likes to work with product design and end-to-end management of quality control, you may want to consider an online course to become a certified Quality Engineer.
Decoding Quality Engineering
Quality Engineering is the method of ensuring that products are designed, developed, and manufactured to specifications for improvement and higher customer expectations. It is an engineering discipline that works closely with the R&D department to maintain the highest quality and control wastage. In manufacturing sectors, Quality Engineering looks at optimal resource use for the quality rollout of products and ongoing monitoring of the production stages to identify and reduce wastage while enhancing product quality. In software development and service sectors, Quality Engineering is the process of managing, developing, and operating IT systems and enterprise architectures with adherence to high-quality standards. It leverages engineering discipline and tools for a cross-functional approach to quality control.
The discipline of Quality Engineering includes the following processes:
- The creation, implementation, and management of an integrated Quality Management System (QMS)
- Application of Product Quality Planning tools at every stage, from design to manufacturing, and checking the finished product for defects
- Implementation of control mechanisms such as Statistical Process Control (SPC)
- Integration of customer feedback into the development of new product designs
- Identification and elimination of waste across the manufacturing lifecycle
- Development of tests and quality control inspections to ensure standards are maintained and products or services adhere to the blueprint
- Engaging with customers to gain feedback and resolve any quality issues through Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and tools such as 5 Why, 8D, and Cause and to prevent the re-occurrence of quality lapses
- Working with suppliers to ensure standardization of materials, components and assemblies used and adherence to the design concept
In some companies, a Quality Engineer engaged in quality control deploys inspection and testing to measure and remove defective products. The process involves developing random sampling and statistics for the evaluation of results. In other companies, Quality Engineers engage in the entire life cycle of quality assurance, using testing and root cause analysis to discover where and how outages and silos occur, why defects occur and how to rectify them, and how to redesign to remove the faults. In companies implementing digital transformation, Quality Engineers use automated tools, pre-defined parameters, and end-to-end quality management methodologies like six-sigma and lean process design.
How it differs from Quality Assurance
While Quality Assurance ensures that goods are manufactured with optimal qualities, Quality Engineering defines quality control and how to maintain or improve the same. In other words, it involves ‘engineering” the quality to ensure adherence to the design prototypes.
What does a Quality Engineer do?
Quality Engineers are at the forefront of product design and development. They are engineering professionals who apply the principles of quality for product and process evaluation. Quality Engineers develop, deploy and maintain systems for measuring, monitoring, and controlling product quality through the production lifecycle. They work with design and manufacturing teams, suppliers, and other stakeholders to uphold quality standards. Quality Engineers use various quality management tools to monitor the manufacturing and testing processes. For the same, they define the quality parameters and develop testing methodologies to keep quality under control. It involves the application of tools for problem-solving, wastage reduction, troubleshooting, and process improvement. The Quality Engineer also develops appropriate countermeasures for seamless process or product changes as necessary to maintain quality standards, reduce time to development, and meet customer expectations.
Is Quality Engineering a good career?
The benefits of a certification in Quality Engineering are many, as it impacts product quality, process efficiency, pricing, overall customer satisfaction, and ROI.
Experienced professionals who begin with entry-level average salaries of $65,000 a year can go on to earn over $100,000 in specialized quality assurance roles, with niche expertise having the potential to command over $120,000.
The career path in Quality Engineering grows progressively to a management or leadership role. It provides the engineer passionate about the manufacturing process with immense scope for career growth in an ever-growing and dynamic field of Quality Engineering.
Some entry-level positions are Quality Assurance or Production Tester, Production Supervisor, Quality Assurance Manager, Senior Quality Engineer, Quality Supervisor, Systems Engineer, and Product Manager.
Other mid-level job titles are Quality Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, Production Manager, Processing Supervisor, Manufacturing Manager, QA Engineer, and IT Project Manager.
Senior leadership roles include Quality Systems Manager, Corporate Quality Manager, Project Quality Manager, Supplier Quality Manager, Senior Process Manager, Production Engineering Manager, Quality Program Manager, Factory Manager, Launch Manager, New Product Manager, Global Engineering Manager, Manufacturing Program Manager, Director of Quality Engineering and Quality Engineering Consulting.
A Quality Engineering education helps you develop industrial skills, understand end-to-end manufacturing processes across industries, and gain global exposure to business technologies. Certification provides the candidate with the necessary knowledge and techniques to improve the delivery and quality of goods and services. Upon completion of the program, the candidate can achieve performance excellence in manufacturing and business processes through modern quality assurance methods, master problem-solving techniques, and eliminate waste for price and product optimization. A certified Quality Engineer brings value to his company by reducing waste and defects before they occur and improve the manufacturing ROI.