Customer Quality Engineer

Keep Customers Happy as a Customer Quality Engineer

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When you stay at a high-end hotel, the hotel provides a concierge service that works directly with the guests at the hotel to help ensure that their stay is perfect. The concierge will address any issues with the rooms, help make reservations at local restaurants, arrange for transportation and even provide suggestions of local attractions. This ensures that will make the guest’s stay more enjoyable. The role of the customer quality engineer is much like a hotel concierge that works directly with the customer to help launch new products, complete quality documentation, facilitate changes and address quality issues in production. The customer quality engineer does whatever it takes to keep the customer’s line up and running while be supplied with high quality parts.

Education for Customer Quality Engineers

Customer quality engineers require a combination of skills including a background in engineering or materials science, quick problem solving skills and, most importantly, people management skills to be a direct interface with the customer and be able to address their concerns. Customer quality engineers must have the technical background to be able to analyze problems in the field and help to expedite resolving quality issues for the customer while still being personable and easy to work with when a customer has a problem that has shut down their production line. When a production line is shut down due to a quality issue the customer measures the downtime in lost dollars so it is understandable that they would be upset at the lost production time. When dealing with OEMs, the costs of shutting them down is roughly $10,000 per minute.  The customer quality engineer must have the technical background to quickly fix the issue while still providing a helpful interface to correct the problem and get their line back up and running.

Customer Quality Engineer Job Description

There are three phases of the customer quality engineer job that starts with launching a new product, managing any product changes and final monitoring ongoing quality and addressing any quality issues.

During the initial design phases of a product design the customer quality engineer will work directly with the customers and their own design engineering departments to outline the specifications that the end product must meet. They will ensure that all the specifications are documented appropriately and that the end product is tested and certified. The customer quality engineer will document and submit all component production part approval process (PPAP) and ensure that all APQP processes are followed and correctly documented.

When an engineering change must be made to the product design, the customer quality engineer will again work between the two engineering groups to facilitate the change. They will outline the change and make sure that it can produced to the new specification. If necessary, testing and inspection will be added to the production process to ensure that new requirements are met. Finally, the customer quality engineer will update all the documentation to certify the requirements are met.

Customer quality engineers are the direct interface with the customer and help to address any quality issues that are found after a product has been shipped. They will work as a representative of the customer to assist in resolving any issues the customer has from the location of a label to a product non-conformance complaint. They will maintain a record of the quality performance at the customer site and watch for any deviations from the norm that will be an indicator of a potential problem. It is their responsibility to take steps to address issues before it becomes a serious problem. Overall, the customer quality engineer will ensure the customer is happy with the quality performance that is being provided and that they would be a supplier of choice for future parts.

Developing, designing and producing a high quality product requires a close working relationship with the design engineers and the customer. The customer quality engineer plays an integral role in this process to ensure that all the customer requirements are met and the resulting product is the highest quality possible.

Want to learn more about the engineers who deal with the customer quality engineers? Take a look at our page on Supplier Quality Engineers

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