Quality supervisors ensure that a quality control team is properly inspecting and testing products for defects. They can work in different industries, like food processing or manufacturing, and might have any number of job titles, including mechanical quality supervisor, testing quality supervisor, industrial production manager, or materials quality supervisor, all of which are discussed in more detail here. Depending on the position and job title, education requirements vary from a bachelor's degree to just a high school diploma.
Quality supervisors oversee quality controllers who sample, test, and inspect products. Supervisors also review the work of controllers to ensure that goods and services are functional and efficient. Some manufacturing facilities employ industrial production managers to review processes and procedures for continuous quality management.
|Career||Industrial Production Manager||Quality Control Inspector|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||High school diploma|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||1%||-18%|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)*||$103,380||$38,250 (for inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Quality Supervisor Job Specializations
Quality supervisors work in a number of industries, ranging from food inspection to assembly line testing. They may also work in an office, factory, or warehouse setting.
Mechanical Quality Supervisors
Mechanical quality supervisors analyze products to make sure that parts fit and move properly. For example, supervisors in the automotive industry may inspect the installation of tires for proper alignment or check electrical systems for correct wiring. These professionals may also use computer software programs to verify component performance.
Materials Quality Supervisors
Materials quality supervisors review products to ensure they are up to corporate, industry, or government standards. They look for broken parts, cracks, discolorations, or other visible signs of imperfection. Other supervisors may instruct workers to weigh or measure parts for conformance to specifications.
Testing Quality Supervisors
Some quality supervisors test products for durability or functionality. For example, testers may use a product several times to check for signs of unusual wear. Others may operate computer software, looking for bugs that interfere with a program's interface or experience.
Industrial Production Managers
These management-level employees supervise other technicians in industrial settings. These professionals review the production process including all aspects of quality control. Industrial production managers may be responsible for implementing lean manufacturing processes to improve the efficiency of plant production, as well as monitoring vendor shipments for quality supplies. Additional duties may include reviewing training programs and manufacturing machinery.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cited that inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers earned an average wage of $42,010 annually as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). Also as of May 2018, those employed in the electric power generation and distribution industry received the highest wages, with average earnings of $70,600 yearly. Industrial production managers earned average annual wages of $113,370, in the same time period, per the BLS.
An additional search on PayScale.com reported that entry-level quality control supervisors earned a median annual salary of $60,764 as of September 2019. Salary.com noted that these supervisors might need a bachelor's degree in their respective field.
Due to the increase of automated inspection, the BLS reported that employment for quality control inspectors was expected to decline between 2018 and 2028. On the other hand, employment levels for industrial production managers were expected minimal or no change from 2018 to 2028. Additionally, the Bureau noted that as firms increasingly incorporate quality control measures into the production process, demand for quality control workers and, subsequently, supervisors may be reduced. For example, employers may add quality control duties to an assembly line workers job description, making them responsible for testing products they have put together.
The duties of a quality supervisor vary by industry; for example, while mechanical quality supervisors deal with mechanical parts, a materials quality supervisor seeks out imperfections in a finished product. A testing quality supervisor often deals with a product's durability, while an industrial production manager is an upper-level employee who oversees all aspects of a company's quality control processes. Since companies are relying more on automated quality control testing, the BLS has indicated there will be stagnation and decline for related job opportunities between 2018-2028.