Quality engineering is a cross-functional Six Sigma strategy encompassing a wide range of methodologies and tools. It is the idea that by incorporating quality into the design, development, and manufacturing processes, a product will be made that meets or exceeds customer expectations.
Quality engineers are the individuals who make quality systems a reality. These engineers can identify issues, troubleshoot, implement quality controls, monitor the production line, test products, and much more. Some common quality engineering methods include:
- Quality Management Systems: To ensure successful quality engineering, it is imperative to create, implement, and manage a QMS. This will help to keep continuous improvement on track by providing a succinct framework for quality.
- Advanced Product Quality Planning: Apply tools like Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and QFD early on in design concept and continue it all the way to the finished product.
- Voice of Customer: Incorporating the VOC from the very first steps of design is key when designing new products or processes.
- Process Mapping: One of the most effective quality engineering practices is the practice of identifying and eliminating waste within the manufacturing production. Organizations often create detailed process maps to look for wasteful areas and where processes can be improved.
- Statistical Process Control: Monitoring manufacturing with statistical process control helps supervisors understand the capacity of their production line and process capability.
- Root Cause Analysis: If any quality issues are spotted by customers, it is important to identify the root cause of the problem. Be sure to listen to customer feedback and use tools like the Fishbone Diagram or 5 Whys to prevent the issue from re-occurring and eliminate related issues.
And more! Quality engineering covers a broad scope of methodologies that can be found in Lean manufacturing, Six Sigma, and Kaizen. Not only will quality engineering ensure a quality product, but it supports the continuous improvement mindset and the elimination of common manufacturing wastes.