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A quality process engineer is responsible for evaluating and improving the systems used to manufacture and test new chemicals or consumer products. Professionals in the field focus on both industrial engineering principles and the utilization of human labor to ensure efficiency, safety, and quality in production. Among other tasks, a quality process engineer studies current production and quality control measures, develops ways to improve them, and trains workers on new policies.
Carefully regulated quality control measures are essential if a company wants to be successful. A quality process engineer helps a business owner reach production goals, manufacture reliable products, and ultimately make a profit. He or she spends time both on the factory floor and working on a computer to analyze quality. An engineer routinely tours a facility to inspect equipment and ask workers if they have any concerns or suggestions. Facts and figures about production, testing, and sales are reviewed and compared to statistics from previous years and data about competitors.
When an engineer identifies an area that can be improved, he or she discusses options with bosses and begins working out the details of a new project. Some projects involve designing new training protocol for production workers and quality control technicians. Others focus on purchasing and installing new equipment that will enhance efficiency and worker safety.
New projects are closely supervised by lead quality process engineers. They make sure equipment is set up correctly and that workers know how to use it. An engineer might suggest that additional help or specialty workers be brought in to run new machinery or conduct different types of quality control tests. After new systems are put into place, engineers frequently review performance and suggest adjustments if they are needed.
A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum requirement to become a quality process engineer. Most future professionals decide to pursue degrees in industrial or mechanical engineering, though it may be possible to find a job with a degree in business management or a physical science. Many workers begin their careers as assistants or engineering technicians, where they are primarily responsible for putting together official documents and helping experienced engineers carry out their daily duties. Ongoing experience and success can lead to promotions and the freedom to design and supervise projects. A new quality process engineer may also be required to pass a regional or national exam before he or she can start working independently.