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Transition from QC Inspector to QA Engineer

QCJS

U can't change a person but u can change yourself
#1
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum and desperately needed help in the Quality arena.

I've been working as QC Inspector for over 10 years in a Small-Medium Enterprise (SME). The company deals in Automation/ Engineering/ Manufacturing and recently moving to Contract Manufacturing. From my point of view, I was previously hired for the sake of having a person called "QC Inspector". I only started to take care of calibration AND ISO documents when my colleague (ex-QA Engineer) left 6 years ago. I was given a crash course and everything starts to spiral out of control from that point.

Fortunately, I was given a QA Engineer 4 years ago but she left after a year. Half year later, my mentor (a retired guy) joined me. He supported me. His management skills are exceptional but his QA skills is only up to a certain level.

In my perspective, Project Engineers, Designers or technicians starts to question Quality when things arises. I'm sick and tired of that. I want to throw my data in front of their faces and let them see for themselves.

Now are the questions:
1. How do I actually progress from a QC Inspector to QA?
2. I found that I don't know when I attended a MSA course a few days ago. I feel I can provide the data. BUT I can't analyze it. What's the use of providing the data when you can't analyze and explain to the people?
3. By the way, my calibration knowledge is minimal. Since my company is ISO9001:2015 certified, can I calibrate my own equipment instead?

Thanks,
SJ
 
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Johnny Quality

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
SJ,

Welcome.

I went through something like you; thrown in at the deep end without much warning or training. Quick crash course, here you go. My best resources have been here (some seriously smart and wise specialists in most business and quality disciplines are here) and quality and psychology books. Most of my work and perhaps most of quality is extracting knowledge and seeing the business through their eyes and them through yours; if you have the tact and diplomacy of a rotting turtle then you're on the back foot.

But anyway...to your questions.

1) For that you'd need to know what a QA Engineer can be expected to be competent at. I've found quality to be extremely varied and what one company calls a Quality Engineer another might call a Project Engineer, or NPI Engineer or SQA. Universal skills I've found are problem solving, communication (especially written), process knowledge, auditing and critical thinking. If you have those and can prove them in some way then doors can open or you can unlock them. Perhaps you can prove them at your current position, or prove them in an interview for another position or further education.

2) For that I'd recommend "Out of the Crisis" by Dr Deming. Learning variation, the types of variation and how to detect them has been invaluable.

3) That depends on the equipment and how you plan to calibrate it yourself. Share with us what your equipment is and how you plan to calibrate it and we can advise further.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#3
SJ, for starters you couldn't find a better place on the internet to come to than here to have access to a huge number of seriously smart and talented people.

You have to put in the work, period. It won;t happen overnight, but over years. Here are some things I'd advise to begin:

Visit here and read often, as even if you don't have questions, and you will find answers to questions you didn't know you had or problems that will arise in the near future. Learn to use the search function, too.

For analyzing data, for starters buy and read and keep handy a copy of "Understanding Variation" by Donald Wheeler, it's an easy read but packed with insight. Or at least read some of his articles here SPC Press - Reading Room Dr. Wheeler is the very best industrial statistician alive, IMO, and one of the best ever, and his name carries weight for good reason. Another statistician and problem-solver I think highly of is Davis Balestracci -- his book Data Sanity is pricey but good. You can read a lot of his free articles here Harmony Consulting, LLC» Article Archives

Good luck!
 

QCJS

U can't change a person but u can change yourself
#4
Thank you all who replied! It's precious input and like a shining beacon of light for me. I should have registered to the Forum earlier.

Johnny Quality: I have sent my external micrometer to an accredited calibration lab for calibration. Then I intend to use it to calibrate my Pin Gauges, and finally use the Pin Gauges to calibrate my Vernier calipers. My course tutor says I can't do that because there is no Reference Standard.
If I want save cost for the company considering the present economic situation, can I use the above procedure? Are there any loopholes in the standards?

Mike S.: Thanks for the advice! Looks like I'll use a lot of Google from now!
 

Johnny Quality

Quite Involved in Discussions
#5
SJ,

ISO 9001:2015 doesn't specify calibration activities so in the eyes of the standard you can do what you'd like.

Your course tutor makes common sense, it would be best to calibrate your pin gauges and then use those to calibrate everything else you can calibrate. You may find cost savings on calibration frequency based on risk (how often are you calibrating your pin gauges, what does the variation show from each calibration, what's the worst that could happen if we use "out of calibration" gauges for calibration).

Of course a cost saving here could result in a costly recall later. You'll have to think it through and see what the data tells you.
 
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