high level of quality management

Quality Auditor Role in Automotive Engineering

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Have you ever wanted to strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of the people around you but prefer an environment where your very life is not in danger? Then instead of joining the armed forces or police squad where there is always the risk of being shot at while you are doing your job, consider a job as a quality auditor for an automotive engineering company. This feared yet respected role in the engineering community will make you the final inspector as you check the work of your fellow employees and ensure it is meeting the stringent requirements required by the automotive certification authorities.

Role of the Quality Auditor

Just like the IRS auditors, there are people within the automotive industry who are responsible for making sure that all the rules are being followed while products are being launched in the automotive industry. Automotive companies are required to meet the requirements of multiple organizations in order to do business within the automotive industry and each of these certifications that the company earns has certain documentation and procedural requirements that must be met to maintain their certification. The quality auditor will schedule monthly and yearly audits that will look at all the documentation that has been completed on a regular basis to see if all the APQP requirements have been met and that everything has been properly completed prior to shipping product.

There are two main certifications that must be maintained within the automotive industry and then there are specialty areas for doing business within additional niche markets within the automotive industry. The first certification that must be maintained is ISO 9000 (International Organization for Standardization) and the second is TS 16949. Additionally, to conduct business in the European markets automotive suppliers are required to be CE Mark certified which puts specific requirements on products that are sold in those regions.

The quality auditor is responsible for reviewing the documentation that is required by each of these certification bodies and ensuring that it is correct, complete and accessible when needed. For example, the quality auditor will review the PPAP documentation that is submitted by the engineer to the customer. They will review the documentation for completeness, ensure that it has been signed off and that it has been properly archived for when the main auditor from the certification authority arrives to renew your company’s certification. The quality auditor will publish reports after they complete their audits and they will then follow up on the large and small findings to ensure that each item is closed and any gaps in the process fixed. The quality auditor will work with all organizations with the company and no one is beyond their reach no matter how obscure a job function they may have everything must be properly documented!

Becoming an automotive quality auditor

The role of quality auditor developed out of necessity within the automotive community as the multiple certification agencies began to be essential to do business within the industry. Many companies pulled a resource from within their ranks that were familiar with the certification processes but some decided to hire an outside resource. A variety of degrees will work if you are interested in this field and there are management, accounting and engineering degrees working successfully in the quality auditor field. Additionally, once you choose this path for your career, each certification body has training courses and manuals that assist with the audit and will help to ensure that your company stays certified.   Experience working within the certification process will be very helpful in taking on this role so consider these options when working towards this career.

So, if you enjoy being thorough in your work and maintaining order and correctness in your job environment then consider a role as a quality auditor but remember, just like the IRS tax audits that everyone likes to avoid, you may not be the most popular person when it comes to finding a group to go to lunch with each day, but your role is absolutely essential to maintain order in the automotive industry!

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