Problem Solving

Quality Root Cause Analysis Engineer

AEHQ Automotive Career Choices Leave a Comment

Have you ever watched a movie starring Sherlock Holmes?This intuitive and intelligent investigator would take a seemingly inconsequential piece of information and use it to take him down an investigative path till a crime was solved.  Sherlock Holmes launched an entire line of investigative analysis that resulted in the development of investigative techniques for criminals within the police force as well as forensic science that followed minute traces of clues sometimes too small for the visible eye.  We watch these types of investigations on TV and almost every show uses some form of these techniques but did you know there is an engineering job that follows these same type of investigations?

Introducing the Root Cause Analysis Engineer, the Sherlock Holmes of the engineering world.

This investigative engineering position works across all bands of the development process within the engineering field from the early prototype phases where designers are trying to build a robust component that meets specifications all the way to the production phases where they help trouble shoot manufacturing issues.  In each case the investigative skills of the root cause engineer are put to the test as they troubleshoot issues and identify a true fix to each problem within production.

A day in the life of the Sherlock Holmes of the automotive world

If you are looking for a position that is constantly changing from day to day then look no further than the Root Cause Analysis Engineer.  Each day brings new issues that this multifunctional engineering job must address from an unknown failure in a validation test to a defect in final assembly that threatens to shut down an expensive manufacturing line.  When an issue is found the technicians or production engineers will notify them and they will step into action.  First, they will isolate all suspect parts to ensure that they have the issue contained, second they will begin to compile data and test results to look for a clue to the issue, third, they may call in additional experts depending on the size of the issue and finally, they will kick off their investigative process.  If the issue impacts production they may put an interim inspection process in place to allow production to continue while a root cause is identified.

Once all necessary information and resources have been identified, the root cause analysis engineer will use a variety of different techniques to root cause the issue at hand.  They may lead brainstorming activities with a team of experts or conduct a root cause analysis exercise like a fishbone diagram or 8D problem solving process.  Each tool is used to look for minute clues to the heart of the issue allowing the team to eventually identify what went wrong.

After the root cause analysis is completed the engineer will then implement a solution to ensure the problem does not recur.  This could mean changing the supplier of a raw material, adjusting the parameters on a manufactured part, modifying a piece of production equipment so it does not produce defects or any number of solutions.  After the process is completed the root cause analysis engineer will document the issue and resolution so that future engineers will benefit from the work.

Becoming the Sherlock Holmes of the automotive world

Joining this elite investigative force is not for the faint-hearted.  These investigative engineers must have a wide spread engineering knowledge including a strong background in physics, chemistry and science to truly succeed in this career.  The beginning steps towards this position will require a degree in engineering and then in many cases a second level degree in a specialty area will be required to truly provide the background that is needed.  The root cause analysis engineer will have access to a large group of area experts but a base knowledge is required in order to truly succeed.  This additional experience could be through a specialty degree or years in the field learning the automotive engineering processes.

The Root Cause Analysis Engineer is the one truly investigative position within the automotive world.  If you are ready for a position that brings new challenges from day to day then consider aiming towards a career in this field.

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