Quality Progress - August 2015 - (Page 46)

QUALITY IN THE FIRST PERSON BY LATOYA R. GRIFFIN Supplier Hugger or Engineer? Explaining the important dual role of a supplier quality engineer AN ENGINEERING MANAGER recent- the military, but a job description that ly said I was part of a "soft profession." I included travel, suppliers, investiga- Why is supplier quality important? interpreted his comment as a roundabout tions and quality assurance practices Think about your car, the food you eat way of expressing his belief that I wasn't sounded intriguing. I applied based on or the products you put on your skin. a real engineer, and people didn't know that description alone and began my SQE Depending on their function, they must what I was working on day to day. career. meet certain quality standards. Those SQEs are those who monitor the standards have to be communicated plier quality engineer (SQE), I possess supply base, ensuring suppliers are to the supply base providing the raw soft skills. SQEs work behind the scenes, providing quality products. They monitor materials. ensuring suppliers are meeting require- supplier performance, evaluate correc- ments. I decided instead of being offend- tive and preventive action responses and capability, tools, systems and people ed, I would capitalize on an opportunity perform audits. SQEs investigate recur- in place to provide materials that meet to explain supplier quality engineering to ring issues while providing suggestions standards every time. This is important the engineering team. and solutions for improvements. They because quality raw materials equate to I guess I could see his point. As a sup- SQEs ensure suppliers have the also act as consultants for improving a quality final products. For many orga- What is an SQE? supplier's quality management system nizations, their supply base provides a I had no idea what an SQE was when and as change agents within their own strategic advantage over competitors. I perused job postings before leaving organizations. Strong relationships with your suppliers can be the difference between a good organization and a great one, and SQEs strengthen and maintain those relationships. Good cop, bad cop Regarding the "soft profession" comment: Is it true? Well, yes! While SQEs can and should have strong engineering backgrounds, it's important that they are technical and personable. Why both? Having a technical background will make it easier to understand the processes involved in manufacturing or fabricating products and materials. Being personable makes it easier to relay information, especially when you must take action and definitely when that information isn't positive. SQEs are relationship managers. When dealing with the supply base, an SQE can be the bad cop, a counselor, a defender (also called supplier hugger) or the business equivalent of a life coach (really, that's how it 46 QP * www.qualityprogress.com http://www.qualityprogress.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Quality Progress - August 2015

Up Front
LogOn
Expert Answers
Keeping Current
Mr. Pareto Head
Under Construction
Creative by Design
Coming Together
All the Right Moves
3.4 per Million
Quality in the First Person
Career Corner
Statistics Roundtable
Standards Outlook
QP Toolbox
QP Reviews
One Good Idea
Back to Basics

Quality Progress - August 2015

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