Continuous Improvement

Continuous Improvement Engineer

AEHQ Automotive Career Choices 1 Comment

Have you ever looked at a design and wondered why they made something the way that they did?  Did you analyze the part and disassemble it looking at the infrastructure as to why the end product looked like it did?  Did you puzzle over the innards of a part then put it back together and have parts left over but the product still functioned?  Is there always just one more tweak that you can make to a design and you are never quite happy until you’ve squeezed every last ounce of performance from a product?

If any of these questions sound like you, then consider a job as a Continuous Improvement Engineer within the automotive engineering field.

What is continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement is a philosophy that is integrated within the automotive engineering fields.  The thought is that those who are closest to the product and process will notice ways to improve the process and design to make it better.  Everyone working within the automobile manufacturers from the assembly line work through the administrative assistants and all the way to the design engineers are responsible for continuous improvement.  Each person within the is given the opportunity to share their ideas and most companies value these ideas so highly that they will reward the employee to documented the idea first with a share in the savings or credit for the design if there was no dollar amount attached.

Because of the importance of this idea, companies have now put together an actual job description around Continuous Improvement position.

Continuous Improvement Engineer Job Description

So, just what does a Continuous Improvement Engineer do on their day to day jobs?  First and foremost, their job involves looking at all designs and processes to see if they can identify areas where the process can be improved.  They will conduct efficiency studies on assembly processes looking for any places where there is wasted motion.  They will optimize test times to make sure that there are no bottlenecks in the process.  They will review production performance to see if there are any ways to tweak the process and make it even better.  Their role is to constantly be critical and never accept ‘no’ for an answer.  Additionally, the Continuous Improvement Engineer works as a gatekeeper for incoming ideas from the rest of the organization.  They will review the ideas they receive and determine if they are feasible for integration in the process while also assessing if there is a dollar amount in savings from the ideas.

Once they have a viable idea they will coordinate with the appropriate group to all them to implement the idea.

Becoming a Continuous Improvement Engineer

Like many other engineering fields becoming a Continuous Improvement Engineer requires an educational background in engineering.  This degree will provide the knowledge basis you need to determine if an idea is feasible and can be implemented in the design or manufacturing process.  Continuous Improvement Engineers can have any number of engineering specialties like Mechanical, Electrical or even Industrial Engineering as they will work with a team of like-minded engineers and be able to leverage everyone’s specialties in their fields.  To earn an engineering degree high school students will need a strong foundation in advanced math, sciences, physics and chemistry in order to prepare them for the stringent class work that students will see.

When you are constantly challenging the status quo and never quite happy with the way things are done then consider putting those habits to work as a Continuous Improvement Engineer in the automotive engineering field of work.  Those tendencies just might land you a bonus for implementing a valuable, time-saving alternative for the assembly process.

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