SBS - The Best Value in QMS software

Job Interview Question - Faulty machine



Hi everyone,

I was at a job interview where I was given the question what steps must you take to keep a line running if a machine becomes faulty in a manufacturing line (the machine is essential to keep the line running). I was quite stumped and did not really know how to answer it, so i proceeded to talk about having a replacement machine and directly incorporating it into the line.

I was just wondering whether my answer was correct and was really hoping for some advice into how to answer this particular question.

Just some information about myself, I have almost graduated from university with a mechanical engineering degree.

thank you so much everyone!
Elsmar Forum Sponsor


Quite Involved in Discussions
I suppose the answer would have to be tailored to the position applied for. For example, your answer as a line supervisor or production manager would be different than a position in machine maintenance. Maybe you could tell us the position title?


Quality Manager
In all the CNC shops I've worked in we were able to temporarily use another machine while maintenance got the machine up and running. In the sheet metal forming shop I worked in there were machines that had no others that could run what they do; deep draw press, hydroform press, and heat treat ovens and tanks. That shop was proactive with preventive maintenance but I did see one go down that halted production until it was fixed.

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator

This may be a question to test your:

1. Commitment to quality, and
2. Awareness of TPM.

...after all prevention is the key to profitable production.

Your research of the organization and its ethos prior to the interview may have helped.



Starting to get Involved
The answer to your question depends totally on manufacturing, if they are manufacturing candles it is different and if they are manufacturing sensitive circuit boards it is different.
Than do they have a an computer automated system in manufacturing?
If it is automated robotic system what is making it faulty, the software or some glitch in the server.
Do the company has redundancy plans.
Is critical data recorded automatically , downtime of computers can halt whole operation, loss of data.
Company must have a manual of their own regarding what to do in that situation.
John Broomfield has suggested the right thing that one must have a detailed research regarding the company, its products and its operations. And in case you are not familiar with their manufacturing, try to google that specific manufacturing and watch some youtube videos to have a virtual tour of how things are happening in that kind of manufacturing.
Usually a new manager first tries to do the same which previous managers have done to curb that issue successfully. If all previous efforts were fruitless than one would adopt new strategies. But the best way is to stick to the SOP developed by that corporation ( And that development is result of study/facing of issues and problems in the past)


Thanks for the responses everyone!

The title of my position was a Graduate Manufacturing Engineer and the company mainly deals with lean manufacturing practices within the company.


Looking for Reality
Staff member
Super Moderator
Typically, questions like this in an interview have no "right" answer...the question is really to see what your approach to the issue is.

The "answer" might include questions back to them such as:
- Is there a safety stock of product? How much time is available to sort this out?
- Is there a maintenance crew on site, or do you outsource?
- Is there a PPAP or other validation requirement connected to the machine that I need to be aware of?
- Is the malfunction known or still to be diagnosed?
- How much product has already been affected?

Things like this display your awareness of a bigger picture than "a machine broke, fix it"...and the question may have been asked to probe how big of a picture you see.

In my experience, interview questions are not typically about whether you have the right answer...but to determine how you handle issues amid the bigger picture of business profitability.
That said...if the question is "what is the cube root of 27 ?"...there is a right answer and approach doesn't really matter...


Quite Involved in Discussions
In lean, many speedboats, no ocean liners. So your idea of swapping out a machine may have been on the right track, as a flexible supply of smaller output machines rather than one or two monster machines would be the resource factor. Many machines would also tolerate this condition well without a major impact on the production flow, as ideally, the Takt time could be adjusted to compensate.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
8 Lean Specialist Job Interview - Revision & Question Lean in Manufacturing and Service Industries 1
Wes Bucey That dreaded Job Interview Salary Question Career and Occupation Discussions 46
G Job interview - So I have to do a presentation on PPAP APQP and PPAP 16
B Suggestions for job interview regarding CCD's (Charge Coupled Device) Quality Tools, Improvement and Analysis 3
S Calibration Engineer and Calibration Technician Job Interview Questions General Measurement Device and Calibration Topics 2
Wes Bucey The "Informational Interview" - a job hunt tip? Career and Occupation Discussions 2
Manix Supplier Control and Development Presentation for a Job Interview - Input Requested Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 5
Q Does she need to reveal her pregnancy during job interview? Career and Occupation Discussions 19
S SQE (Supplier Quality Engineer) Job Interview Questions Benchmarking 4
B Demonstrating Leadership Skills in a Job Interview Career and Occupation Discussions 7
T Nylon Fiber Production - Job Interview - New to this type of process Manufacturing and Related Processes 1
Q Job Interview Feedback from HR Career and Occupation Discussions 17
E Interview Questions to ask a Job Applicant on a Second Interview Career and Occupation Discussions 1
Y Phone Interview for Job - Help on Follow Up Career and Occupation Discussions 3
Marc How Skype Is Changing the Job Interview Career and Occupation Discussions 12
R Help with Job Interview presentation - Position of Management Auditor Career and Occupation Discussions 8
Wes Bucey Surviving the job interview! Career and Occupation Discussions 5
C Job Interview Tips needed - Specific questions that maybe asked Career and Occupation Discussions 32
B Quality Engineer Job Interview Questions Career and Occupation Discussions 19
G "Inspection Culture " to "Quality Assurance Culture" - Upcoming Job Interview Career and Occupation Discussions 15
S Is PPAP exclusive to the Automobile Industry? Job Interview APQP and PPAP 11
C Job Decision Making - Post Interview Followup Career and Occupation Discussions 15
C Post Interview Job Follow up - What should I do? Career and Occupation Discussions 3
Jen Kirley Jennifer's Job Interview - This oughta be in the papers Career and Occupation Discussions 54
M ISO 9001 vs. QS9000 vs. ISO 14001 - Job interview tomorrow night for a QM position Career and Occupation Discussions 4
T How should I approach REACH, CM, etc. as a job shop? RoHS, REACH, ELV, IMDS and Restricted Substances 18
was named killer Job Opportunity-Quality Engineer-Tampa Florida Job Openings, Consulting and Employment Opportunities 0
Marc Job Opportunity – Quality Assurance Specialist - Suspense 7 April 2021 Job Openings, Consulting and Employment Opportunities 0
L Job Aids for administrative staff in GLP environment Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 6
B Qualifcations of Staffing Agency Employees to meet job description General Auditing Discussions 6
K Looking for a job as Quality Engineer Career and Occupation Discussions 3
J New Job Position - Achieving ISO 13485 Certification ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 5
XRAY_3121 New Job with Wholesale Distributor Pharmaceuticals (21 CFR Part 210, 21 CFR Part 211 and related Regulations) 0
N Looking to Impress - New Job - Advice, Thoughts, Comments Welcome Career and Occupation Discussions 23
C Refreshing an old and boring topic - Job descriptions and Roles vs Process Documentation ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 38
BeaBea Organizational Charts and Job Titles Process Maps, Process Mapping and Turtle Diagrams 20
M IATF 16949 Verification of job set-ups - Do we need secondary check? IATF 16949 - Automotive Quality Systems Standard 7
B Product Safety Responsibility - Job shop such as a machine shop AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 10
JAMESH Job Safety - Lockout/Tagout and Respiratory Protocols Manufacturing and Related Processes 3
S Regulatory job in pharma vs. medical device US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 16
S Regulatory job in pharma vs. medical device CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 0
M Do I Expect Too Much of Job Candidates? Career and Occupation Discussions 33
JAMESH Building a "Lean" Job Shop Training Program Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 0
I "On the job training" as a response to how someone was trained? ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 75
M Nonconformity for missing form number on the job description document Nonconformance and Corrective Action 1
Sidney Vianna Are the Accreditation Bodies doing their job? Keeping CB's accountable Registrars and Notified Bodies 0
T QMS Template Help - Small machine shop/job shop Manufacturing and Related Processes 1
I ISO 9001:2015 - On the Job Training and Records Training - Internal, External, Online and Distance Learning 4
F Job Travelers questions - unsigned operations AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 41
Marc Posting Job Openings - Read Me Please - 27 January 2019 Job Openings, Consulting and Employment Opportunities 0

Similar threads

Top Bottom