What Does a Process Engineer Do?
A process engineer focuses on designing, optimizing, and operating various industrial processes. Working primarily in manufacturing, petrochemicals, and food production, they aim to improve efficiency and quality while minimizing costs and waste. These professionals map out workflows, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven recommendations for operational improvements.
Responsibilities also extend to monitoring and evaluating ongoing processes. Using statistical analysis and real-time data, process engineers adjust variables like machine speed, material input, or temperature settings to achieve desired outcomes. Their work enhances operational efficiency and contributes to product quality, safety standards, and environmental compliance.
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Process Engineer Roles and Responsibilities
- Process Design and Optimization: Create and improve manufacturing processes to enhance efficiency and reduce waste.
- Technical Support: Provide technical expertise to troubleshoot and resolve process-related issues that impact quality, cost, and throughput.
- Data Analysis: Collect and analyze process data to identify trends and make data-driven decisions.
- Implement Process Controls: Utilize control systems to monitor and adjust processes in real-time, ensuring optimal operating conditions.
- Resource Management: Evaluate and manage the resources needed for various processes, including raw materials, manpower, and time.
- Quality Assurance: Work with quality control teams to ensure the final product meets set specifications.
- Risk Assessment: Conduct safety reviews and risk assessments to ensure industry regulations and standards compliance.
- Process Documentation: Create, revise, and maintain detailed process documentation for training and compliance purposes.
- Project Management: Oversee project timelines, budgets, and deliverables.
- Interdepartmental Collaboration: Collaborate with cross-functional teams like R&D, Production, and Quality Control for integrated project success.
- Process Simulation: Use simulation software to model process scenarios for analysis and optimization.
- Cost Analysis: Perform economic evaluations of new or existing processes to determine the feasibility or cost-saving potential.
- Training and Development: Train staff and team members on new process changes, tools, or methodologies.
- Technology Integration: Evaluate and integrate new technologies or systems to enhance process efficiency.
- Vendor Negotiation and Management: Collaborate with suppliers to procure required materials or services at optimized costs.
Process Engineer Job Requirements
To be qualified as a process engineer, candidates generally need a solid foundation in engineering principles, specifically in areas related to process optimization, thermodynamics, and industrial design. Hands-on experience with computer-aided design (CAD) tools and specialized process simulation software is often considered crucial. Familiarity with quality management systems like ISO 9001 and a proven track record in project management are highly desirable.
- Process Optimization: Experience applying lean manufacturing or Six Sigma methodologies to optimize existing processes for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- Technical Troubleshooting: Demonstrable ability in diagnosing and resolving complex process-related issues that impact quality, cost, and efficiency.
- Project Execution: Significant experience in seeing projects through from conception to completion within stipulated timelines and budgets.
- Cross-Functional Collaboration: History of effective collaboration with various departments such as R&D, Quality Control, and Production to achieve project objectives.
- Regulatory Compliance: Familiarity with industry-specific standards and regulations.
- Resource Management: Experience in efficient allocation and utilization of resources, including manpower, materials, and time.
- Vendor Management: Hands-on experience negotiating with and managing suppliers and third-party service providers.
- Quality Management: In-depth experience working closely with quality assurance teams to conduct tests, validate results, and implement quality control measures.
- Data-Driven Decision Making: A track record of collecting and analyzing process and operational data to drive improvements.
- Advanced Proficiency in CAD Software: Ability to use CAD tools for complex process design and simulation.
- Process Simulation Expertise: Mastery of specialized software tools like Aspen Plus, HYSYS, or similar for detailed process simulation.
- Data Analysis Tools: High proficiency in data analytics software such as Minitab, R, or Python libraries specifically designed for data analysis.
- ERP Systems: In-depth understanding of enterprise resource planning systems for integrated business process management.
- Automation and Control Systems: Skill in programming and managing automated control systems, often using languages like Ladder Logic, Structured Text, or C++.
- Effective Communication: Exceptional ability to convey complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders.
- Critical Thinking: Strong aptitude for evaluating problems and identifying the most effective solutions.
- Leadership and Teamwork: Demonstrated ability to lead cross-functional teams while being an effective team player.
- Time Management: Proven record of managing multiple tasks and deadlines in fast-paced environments.
- Change Management: Skills in facilitating change, including implementing new procedures and helping teams adapt to new technologies or methodologies.
Education and Certifications
A bachelor’s degree in engineering – typically chemical, mechanical, or industrial – is generally required. Some roles may require a master’s degree or additional post-graduate study. Professional certifications to look for include:
- Professional Engineer (PE) License
- Six Sigma Green or Black Belt Certification
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Automation Professional (CAP)
- Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)
Process Engineer Compensation
Compensation for process engineers varies by experience, industry, and the scope of responsibilities. Those in specialized fields like chemical or petrochemical engineering generally have higher earning potential. Explore salaries by local market on our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for a Process Engineer is:
Sample Job Descriptions
The first step when hiring a great process engineer is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.
Junior Process Engineer Job Description
ABC Petrochemicals is seeking a Junior Process Engineer to join our dynamic team. In this role, you’ll assist in optimizing plant operations, contribute to process design projects, and support safety protocols, aiming to maximize efficiency and profitability.
- Assist in the development and modification of process flow diagrams and P&ID’s
- Conduct basic process simulations and calculations under senior engineers’ guidance
- Support the implementation of process improvements and new process technologies
- Collaborate with operations and maintenance teams to troubleshoot process-related issues
- Participate in safety reviews and risk assessments
- Help in gathering and analyzing plant data for process optimization
- Work closely with vendors and contractors to ensure specifications and safety guidelines are met
Qualifications and Experience
- 0-2 years of experience in process engineering, preferably in the petrochemical industry
- Proficient in using process simulation software like Aspen HYSYS or similar
- Basic understanding of thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, and reaction engineering
- Experience in data analysis using tools like Excel or MATLAB
- Familiarity with industry codes and standards such as ASME, API, and ISO
- Previous internship experience in process engineering
- Exposure to Six Sigma or other process improvement methodologies
- Knowledge of process safety management systems
- Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering or a related field
Senior Process Engineer Job Description
Join our team as a Senior Process Engineer, where you’ll be the cornerstone of optimizing and innovating our manufacturing processes. You’ll have the opportunity to lead key projects, improve efficiencies, and contribute directly to our company’s growth.
- Lead cross-functional teams to implement process improvements and resolve manufacturing issues
- Develop detailed process plans and schedules for new product introductions
- Collaborate with R&D to transition new products from concept to production
- Design and implement statistical quality control methods
- Conduct root cause analysis to troubleshoot manufacturing efficiency issues
- Provide mentorship and training to junior engineers and technicians
- Optimize existing processes using Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, or similar methodologies
- Prepare technical reports, including documentation for process changes and updates
- Evaluate and select vendors for process materials and equipment
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or related field
- Minimum of 7 years experience in process engineering, preferably in manufacturing
- In-depth knowledge of AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and Microsoft Project
- Proven experience in Lean Manufacturing or Six Sigma implementation
- Strong proficiency in statistical analysis software such as Minitab or JMP
- Excellent project management skills, PMP certification is a plus
- Proficiency in PLC programming is preferred
- Required: Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or closely related field
- Preferred: Master’s degree in Engineering Management or MBA
- Certifications: Six Sigma Black Belt or PMP certification is a plus
We offer a competitive salary, comprehensive benefits, and an environment that encourages and rewards creativity and innovation.
Food Process Engineer Job Description
The Process Engineer will be responsible for building and maintaining a strong and long-lasting culture of continuous improvement. This person will deliver continuous improvement training and actions throughout the facility while serving as the Subject Matter Expert on Continuous Improvement. They will provide direction to, Production Team Members, Engineers, and Functional Leaders throughout the facility. This individual will lead and grow a culture of Continuous Improvement and Change Management with all activities in the plant. The Process Engineer will facilitate continuous improvement projects focused on Team Members, food safety, quality improvements, on-time delivery, inventory and cost reductions, and process performance improvements. They will provide efficient leadership and cost-effective integration of Continuous Improvement, creating operational excellence.
Duties & responsibilities:
- Responsible for leading daily mini-Kaizen events for OEE improvements and longer detailed Kaizen or Process improvement events
- Evaluate process and/or requirement applications and recommend and implement improvements to the existing product, equipment, or processes
- Utilize Continuous Improvement tools, including but not limited to Early Management, Specialized Maintenance, Autonomous Maintenance, Failure Modes, and Effects Analysis, Induced Failure Testing, and support CI and Phase Progression efforts
- Provide engineering/technical support to day-to-day plant operations and maintenance
- Provide project management and technical support for capital projects
- Assist in the collection of data identifying opportunities and tracking improvements
- Experience applying formal Root Cause Analysis and problem-solving methodologies
- Utilizes the concepts of continuous improvement and cost reduction in the execution of the job function
- Follow and hold others accountable for following all company Good Manufacturing Practices
- All other duties as assigned
- Completes safety system documentation and verifies compliance with program standards. Reports deviations to Supervisor
- Participates in mandatory safety training and adheres to all safety policies
- Required to report all safety issues, near misses, and injuries
Quality & food safety:
- Completes quality & food safety system documentation and verifies compliance with program standards. Reports deviations to Supervisor
- Participates in mandatory food safety and quality training program requirements
- Preserves the integrity of the BRC system through adherence to the policies and procedures outlined. Takes actions necessary to resolve food safety and quality system deficiencies
- Required to report food safety and quality system failures and take actions necessary to preserve the BRC system
- Bachelor’s degree in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering or equivalent experience
- A minimum of 2 years experience in an engineering process improvement position
- Proficient in the use of personal computers and Microsoft programs (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Experience in the optimization of processes, including the establishment of process KPIs
- Ability to work collaboratively across organizational boundaries to achieve company results.
- Adaptable/Flexible: Functions effectively within ever-changing environments. Easily adjusts to multiple demands, shifting work priorities, ambiguity, adversity, and change. Is resilient, positive, and calm under pressure
- Drives Innovation and Growth: Thinks “outside the box”, encourages risk-taking, generates creative solutions, and learns from both successes and failures
- Have or working towards Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt certification preferred
- 2-5 years experience in a food/beverage, chemical/powder, or pharma manufacturing facility preferred
- Knowledge of process systems in a DCS environment
- Proficient in AutoCad
- Ability to read, understand, and update P&IDs
Medical Products Process Engineer Job Description
The Process Engineer supports manufacturing operations with scientific expertise to ensure the successful transfer of new products from development to manufacturing ensuring robust manufacturing processes at commercialization, failure investigation of commercialized products, and support processes to ensure performance within expected parameters. Includes laboratory roles.
In this role, you will have the opportunity to:
- Monitors and improves Manufacturing KPI – Overall Equipment Efficiency, Throughput, and Unplanned Stops during shift operation by supporting daily execution of Standard Works – Centerlines, Cleaning, Inspection, Start-ups and Shutdowns, and Changeovers
- Supports problem-solving using continuous improvement tools – RCAs, fishbone, and 5S
- Assists in the development of technical and operating standards – Standard Operating Procedures, One Point Lessons, Job-Aides, and Troubleshooting Guides and training of manufacturing Associates
- Co-creates validation documents (IQ, OQ, & PQ) and leads the execution of process qualifications for new and existing production systems
- Follows and observes all regulatory requirements (GMPs, ISO, FDA, OSHA, internal policies) applicable to the area of responsibility
The essential requirements of the job include:
- Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or a related discipline; or equivalent combination of education and experience to perform at this level. A minimum of 2+ years overall related engineering experience within the medical device or a regulated industry
- Ability to work off-shift
- Professional Certification – Lean Six Sigma Green Belt or on track to getting certified within 12 months of hire
- Proficient with Manufacturing software – Minitab and Microsoft Applications – MS-Visio, MS-Power BI, MS-Excel, MS-Word, MS-PowerPoint
- Familiarity with real-time multiplex PCR and/or working under cGMP, ISO, and FDA regulations
Manufacturing Process Engineer Job Description
Innovate, optimize and troubleshoot new product introduction and commercial manufacturing processes throughout the lifecycle to improve process/product robustness, reduce cost, and eliminate waste in oral solid dosage manufacturing of modified release products using conventional and novel technologies. Design, develop, and optimize process simulation techniques for process optimization and scale-up.
Essential areas of responsibility
- Providing process engineering expertise for technology transfer, from pre-validation through commercial lifecycle for modified release solid oral dosage form manufacturing including scale-up, validation, and lifecycle changes
- Perform technical analysis to understand and reduce technology transfer risk, estimate cycle time, improve equipment fit, and implement required technologies
- Provide continued technical leadership to commercial operations and ensure cost-effective and robust manufacturing processes for various unit operations including blending, sizing, compression, coating, fluid bed processing, and novel technologies
- Contributing to business teams through innovation, strategic input, and industry knowledge to troubleshoot and achieve cost leadership
- Perform engineering analysis of process execution, recommends opportunities for improvement with plant efficiency and risk mitigation as goals, and capture analysis in campaign summary documents
- Provide process expertise in post-batch record review and analysis
- Act as a quality events investigator for assigned projects.
- Lead documentation for equipment, lead FMEAs, recommend equipment modifications as needed for validation optimization, Analyze statistical data from qualification, product, or functional specifications to determine conformance with standards and established quality requirements
- Maintain product during lifecycle (stage 3 – CPV) using appropriate statistical tools
- Implement and lead the use of new pharmaceutical manufacturing technologies including melt extrusion, spray drying, extrusion–spheronization, spray congealing, laser drills, nano particulates, continuous manufacturing, NIR, PAT, etc.
- Lead and execute material changes, process changes, cost reduction projects, and CPV
- Responsible for completing all training requirements and maintaining 100% compliance with all assignments
- Responsible to comply with company goals based on departmental assigned goals
- Responsible for maintaining work areas and performing job functions in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with company policies and procedures, Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs), and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instructions
- Responsible for performing additional related duties as assigned
- A Master’s or Ph.D. degree in Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, or Pharmaceutical Technology is required
- Proficiency with statistics (using JMP or Minitab), SPC, NIR
- Experience and certification in the commercialization of PAT or certification in project management
- Experience using Excel for data mining and analysis is required
- Experience with novel manufacturing technologies (at least two) melt extrusion, extrusion spheronization, spray drying, spray congealing, laser drills, nano particulates, continuous manufacturing, NIR, or PAT
- Masters – minimum 7 years experience; out of which at least three years in modified release oral solids manufacturing
- Ph.D. – minimum research work in any of the novel manufacturing technologies mentioned above and exposure to pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal skills required
- Understanding of various unit operations used in conventional and novel oral solid dosage manufacturing
- Comply with FDA regulations at all times
- Skill levels in MS Office including proficiency in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and SharePoint
- Must be able to maintain the highest levels of confidentiality, integrity, and discretion
- Able to identify solutions to general problems through collaboration and creativity
- Proactively works on problems of complex scope
- Seeks out all resources when selecting methods and techniques for obtaining results
- Acts independently and proactively to recommend and administer methods and procedures for problem resolution
- Fast-paced environment
- Able to manage multiple priorities and ensure appropriate follow-ups
- Highly organized and excellent time and project management skills with the ability to juggle a wide range
- Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
- Low to loud noise level exposure
- 24/7 Support based on business needs
Hiring a Process Engineer
When hiring a process engineer, first consider your internal capabilities and resources. Begin by considering these questions.
- Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to effectively source and recruit for this role?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an indefinite need?
- Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
- Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
The answers will help determine the best course of action. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. Here are the options we recommend for hiring a process engineer.
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
When working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources, the heavy lifting is done for you. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a public job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. This can be a great choice if you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively. We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using zengig’s job board, where you can post an unlimited number of jobs for free for 30 days.
3. Leverage your internal resources
Utilize your website, social media, and employees to source top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Post all openings on your site’s career section and social channels – especially LinkedIn.
Also, remember current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives. We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- How do you overcome common challenges when designing a new process?
- What methods do you use to ensure that a process meets quality standards?
- What types of equipment and systems have you worked with, and how do you decide which technology to use?
- What is the best way to collaborate with other engineers and technicians to ensure that a process is working as it should?
- Can you tell me about a time when you had to resolve a technical issue in a process?
- What are the steps for designing new production processes?
- What major processing systems have you implemented?
- How would you troubleshoot a piece of equipment in a plant?
- How did an important process improvement you worked on impact the company’s operation?
- How would you work with a high volume of data involving many overlapping processes?
- What is your experience working on a cross-functional team, and how do you ensure that everyone is working together?
- Is there a time when you had to make a difficult decision about a process design or improvement, and how did you come to that conclusion?