What’s it all about then?
Quality Assurance Managers make sure that the food manufacturing process is safe by monitoring and controlling the production process from raw ingredient intake through to packaging of finished products. They ensure that all processing meets rigorous standards of quality and hygiene.
As QA Manager you’d be responsible for setting up quality assessment processes which maintain these standards.
Depending on the size of company, you’re also likely to be managing a team of quality technicians.
What might I be doing?
Your job will be varied but includes the following:
- Measuring performance against internal and external standards such as those maintained by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and under Hazardous Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements
- Reviewing existing policies and planning how to improve quality management systems
- Making recommendations for improvements
- Inspecting and testing products and production processes
- Ensuring that all quality policies and procedures meet national and international standards
- Ensuring all staff are competent to do their jobs properly
- Liaising closely with other managers and departments.
- Managing a team of quality technicians and ensuring consistency of approach from the team
What will be expected of me?
As a QA Manager you’ll probably have had previous experience of this job at the level of Quality Assurance Technician and your basic qualification is probably linked to the food industry.
You will have a good working knowledge of the different legislative standards and requirements affecting the sector of the industry that you’re working in.
You will need to be an extremely well-motivated and diligent individual who is passionate about helping colleagues to work as effectively as possible.
You’re someone who approaches their work logically and analytically.
You’ll be someone able to make quick, accurate judgements and back these up with facts and information.
As a manager, you’ll be expected to lead a team and so past experience of a leadership role is beneficial as is the ability to communicate professionally and competently.
What can I expect?
This is a demanding but very interesting job and as well as day to day activities you should expect to keep yourself updated with any changes to standards affecting your job.
If you understand the importance of quality to consumers and businesses, have an eye for detail and are a good communicator, this could be an ideal career for you.
What about the pay?
As a guideline, salaries usually vary somewhere between £23,000 and £35,000 a year, depending on the size of the organisation and level of responsibility. Senior managers can earn between £40,000 and £50,000.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
You will need proven experience in project management and/or quality control to become a quality manager and having a degree or postgraduate qualification in quality management or business studies will give you an advantage in aiming for this kind of position.
What about further training?
There are professional qualifications available for Quality Managers and staff.
You might also help your promotion prospects by understanding study for professional exams offered by organisations like the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) and Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
Anything else I might need to know?
You’ll probably be office-based but could well spend some time checking work in a quality control lab or on the factory production line. You could find yourself working shift based hours spanning the week and weekends but in most companies you would work standard office hours Monday to Friday.