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How to become a Quality Control Manager

quality control manager careers

What does a Quality Control Manager do?

Quality managers, also known as quality assurance or quality control managers, are responsible for developing and implementing quality management systems (QMS) and procedures. They also monitor and report on performance of those systems. Quality managers work in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, engineering, food production, petrochemicals, transport and the public service sector.

Work may focus on a particular physical aspect, for example, looking at component quality on an assembly production line, or it may be dealing with cross-departmental administrative issues, such as reviewing working practices within an organisation. The specific duties will vary according to the sector but in all cases, the outcome is to achieve a standard of product or service which satisfies client requirements.

A quality manager employs a variety of methods to improve the product or service being offered. These include checks against national and international standards such as:

ISO 9000 - standard around which QMS can be developed; ISO 14001- standards against which a company can build an Environmental Management System (EMS) reflecting the environmental awareness and legislative compliance; BS 7799 - standards for implementing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) that protects the integrity of a company's data and information. For more information on quality standards and training providers, contact the British Standards Institution in Further Information.

An organisation's key performance indicators (KPIs) are another yardstick used to assess business performance and identify areas for improvement.

Managers also use methodologies such as Total Quality Management, involving the workforce at all levels to continually improve processes and procedures, and Business Process Management techniques and software to analyse and enhance performance.

Generic duties carried out by quality managers include:
  • working with marketing and sales departments to define client requirements and expectations, and determining whether the organisation meets those needs and if not, whether changes in work practices are required
  • analysing business performance statistics to measure performance against internal and external standards, such as those outlined above
  • carrying out audits to identify and document areas of weakness within a company's structure, for instance, their communication and information systems or customer feedback and complaints procedures - and recommending ways to improve them
  • carrying out sampling, testing and inspection routines to check product quality during a production process
  • reviewing existing policies, drawing up and implementing plans to improve quality systems within an organisation
  • ensuring procedures meet legislation requirements, such as Equal Opportunities, Health and Safety and financial regulations, or meet targets to achieve recognition against national quality standards, for example, Investors in People
  • consulting with staff to find ways of improving quality, and working with training departments to put plans into effect
  • carrying out assessments and reviews of changes to gauge how effective they have been, and advising and guiding managers on quality assurance policies and systems.

Quality managers normally have responsibility for quality control technicians and report to senior project, departmental or operations managers.

What's the working environment like working as a Quality Control Manager?

Quality managers usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. If working in manufacturing, shiftwork may be required.

Work settings depend on the sector the manager is employed in. Some of the duties are office based, some may be in a lab, and some will be linked to a production or processing line.

Travel between sites and clients is common, so a driving licence is useful.

What does it take to become a Quality Control Manager?

To be a quality control manager you should:

  • have excellent analytical skills, be able to distill key points from complex information and set objectives
  • be an effective communicator with all levels of staff
  • be an excellent motivator
  • have good negotiating skills
  • have good planning skills and be able to lead projects through to completion
  • be able to interpret statistical data, using software packages
  • be familiar with methodologies, tools and concepts in quality management
  • have excellent report writing skills
  • be customer focused.

Managers working in manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals, food processing or construction will need strong technical skills relevant to those fields.

Quality Control Manager Career Opportunities

Opportunities are available in a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Quality control and assurance is playing an increasingly important role as a way of demonstrating a company's competitiveness.

Progression routes include moves into departmental management positions, coordination of quality projects, and strategic management and planning.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Quality Control Manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Institute of Quality Assurance (IQA)
12 Grosvenor Crescent
London
SW1X 7EE
Tel: 020 7245 6722
www.iqa.org

The Chartered Management Institute
Management House
Cottingham Road
Corby
Northants
NN17 1TT
Tel: 01536 204222
www.managers.org.uk

British Standards Institution (BSI)
389 Chiswick High Road
London W4 4AL
United Kingdom
www.bsi-global.com



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