How to Become a Supply Quality Improvement Engineer

How to Become a Supply Quality Improvement Engineer: Career Path Guide

There are many possible paths for becoming a supply quality improvement engineer, although they all involve either relevant education and/or experience. Here is an example of the steps needed to get into this field and advance your career:


1. Make sure you have the right personal traits for this work

2. Pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or industrial engineering

3. Get a job or internship in manufacturing while you’re a student

4. Land an entry-level job in supply quality improvement once you graduate

5. Move into roles of greater responsibility as you gain experience

6. Pursue the Certified Quality Engineer (CQE) designation 


Below, we’ve expanded on these points to give you an idea of what you'll need to begin a career as a supply quality improvement engineer in Canada or the United States.



What Education Will I Need?

Employers typically hire candidates that have a degree in a relevant field, such as Business, or Mechanical or Industrial Engineering. A bachelor’s degree is often sufficient, but some employers may require a master’s degree. It’s worth noting that some quality improvement engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and an MBA, although this wouldn’t be considered a universal requirement.




What is a Supply Quality Improvement Engineer?

A quality improvement engineer is a professional who understands the principles of product and service quality, evaluation and control. They are concerned with the development and operation of quality control systems, application and analysis of testing and inspection procedures, and using metrology and statistical methods to diagnose and correct improper quality control practices.



What Does a Supply Quality Improvement Engineer Do?

Supply quality improvement engineers ensure that products conform to any applicable quality and reliability requirements and legislation. They work towards process improvement in the areas of in-process data analysis, incoming inspection and supplier manufacturing.



What Are Their Job Duties?

Although their duties can vary from one job to the next, supply quality improvement engineers are generally responsible for performing the following functions: 


• Working with the Purchasing department to ensure supplier performance is regularly reported and that appropriate and timely corrective actions are implemented

• Maintaining and updating critical supplier audit system and schedule

• Conducting supplier audits to drive process standardization, waste elimination, and continuous improvement

• Monitoring, communicating and improving key supply chain key performance indicators

• Establishing specific short and long term supplier quality goals  

• Championing problem solving and root cause analysis activities with suppliers and customers to eliminate recurrence of non-conformances

• Working to resolve supplier technical issues in a timely manner to ensure continuity of supply

• Developing long term supplier relationship

• Generating and implementing cost reduction ideas

• Helping the Manufacturing department in the evaluation and qualification of new supplier materials following a defined new product development process

• Communicating engineering and manufacturing specifications to supplier technical teams

• Actively managing suppliers to ensure there are no regressions with the implementation of new processes

• Traveling to supplier locations to resolve quality problems

• Assuring compliance to all applicable legal requirements pertaining to the environmental aspects and impacts



What Certification Will I Need?

Most employers prefer to hire candidates that have the Certified Quality Engineer Professional Designation or are working towards it. This designation is offered internationally by the American Society for Quality (ASQ).



How Do I Become Certified?

Earning the CQE designation takes a combination of years of work experience in progressively responsible roles, a demonstrable understanding of the body of knowledge used in this work, and the passing of an exam. Technically there is no education requirement, but completing a diploma or degree from an ASQ accredited school will count as credits towards your experience requirement.


Success Tip: For more on what it takes to become certified as a quality improvement engineer, visit the Quality Engineer Certification page of the ASQ website.



Is a Career in Supply Quality Right for You?

To succeed as a supply quality improvement engineer, and to find fulfillment in this career, you’ll need certain personal traits, and have certain professional interests and tolerances, including:


• You can observe and listen, to gain complete understanding of a problem 

• You have the ability to visualize the effects of changes

• You can work well with others and develop good working relationships

• You have the initiative to have regular contact with suppliers 

• You’re willing to travel domestically and/or internationally to visit supplier sites

• You enjoy taking charge of situations and providing critical assessments and constructive advice 

• You have an interest in developing and implementing quality programs

• You enjoy having clear guidelines and methods for your work

• You have maturity and decorum, and are willing to abide by your employer’s code of conduct and values

• You're interested in a career that involves a large amount of collaborating with colleagues from different departments and operational areas



How Much Do Supply Quality Improvement Engineers Make?

Salary in the United States: “Supply Quality Improvement Engineers” are part of the occupational group “Industrial Engineers”. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in this field earn a median salary of $83,470 per year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $53,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $126,920.


Salary in Alberta: According to the 2015 wage and salary survey (Government of Alberta), Albertans working as part of the “Industrial and Manufacturing Engineers” occupational group (which includes “Supply Quality Improvement Engineers”) earn an average salary of $111,808 per year.


Please Note: The salary level you can earn in this occupation will vary, based on the following factors:


• Your level of education, experience and certification

• The level of responsibility involved in your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The industry in which you work

• The type of remuneration package you’re offered 

• Many other factors



Who Creates Jobs for Supply Quality Improvement Engineers?

Supply quality improvement engineers are typically employed by companies involved in some level of manufacturing or goods production, or engineering firms. They may be employed by:


• Insurance companies 

• Electrical/electronics manufacturers

• Medical equipment manufacturers

• Pharmaceutical companies 

• Transportation companies and vehicle manufacturers

• Heavy equipment manufacturers

• Food and beverage producers 

• Large retailers

• Local, provincial/state or federal government agencies

• Large distribution companies 

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Quality assurance, manufacturing, management and engineering consulting firms



Supply Quality Improvement Engineering Jobs

Our job board below has postings for supply quality improvement engineering in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. 



What are Careers Similar to “Supply Quality Improvement Engineer”?

Listed below are careers that may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities as “Supply Quality Improvement Engineer”:


• Logistics Assistant

• Manufacturing Engineer

• Operations Analyst

• Operations Manager

• Purchasing Manager

• Quality Control Specialist

• Supply Chain & Logistics Manager

• Supply Chain Consultant

• Software Quality Assurance Engineer



What Scholarships Are Available to Help Get Into This Field? 

The “Majors in Our Database Relevant for this Career” section below lists fields of study that are relevant to becoming a Supply Quality Improvement Engineer. You can search for relevant scholarships by finding those majors on our “Any Field of Study Scholarships” page.


Success Tip: Apply for any scholarships that you qualify for, even if it's just barely, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!




Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become a supply quality improvement engineer:


• Occupational Profile: “Industrial Engineer.” (April 10, 2014). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved March 22, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Industrial Engineers.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 22, 2017.

• Student Jobs - All Access Pass: “Supplier Quality Improvement Engineer.” (December 8, 2016). Cummins Careers. Retrieved March 21, 2017.

• Certifications Catalogue: “Quality Engineer Certification CQE.” (n.d.). American Society for Quality. Retrieved March 22, 2017.

• Programs: “Certified Quality Engineer (CQE).” (n.d.). Ontario College of Technology. Retrieved March 22, 2017.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was obtained from online Supply Quality Improvement Engineer job postings, which due to their brief nature aren’t listed here as sources.



Majors in Our Database Relevant for This Career Field

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our database. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant to becoming a supply quality improvement engineer. Click on the links to see what else you can do with these majors!


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