What does a process design engineer do? (Duties explained)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

One of the most important things for a business of any kind is having efficient processes. Efficient processes mean that a company uses its resources in the most effective ways possible, increasing profits and limiting costs across the company. This is why a process design engineer is a contributing factor to a company working effectively. In this article, we answer 'What does a process engineer do?', including what a process design engineer is and some of the most important skills a process design engineer uses in the workplace.

What is a process design engineer?

Before answering 'What does a process design engineer do?', knowing more about what a process design engineer is is an important part of the process. A process design engineer is a key member of staff in a company with the responsibility for designing and implementing a range of different processes to achieve business goals. Process design engineers work in a range of different industries, supporting processes in every industry from manufacturing to software development.

What does a process engineer do?

A process engineer completes a range of different tasks in their roles. These include:

Assessing existing processes

One of the most important aspects of a process design engineer's position is assessing the way that current processes work. This means thoroughly examining the individual steps of current company processes, finding inefficiencies and learning about why each part of the process is important. A better understanding of processes means that a process design engineer creates solutions that resolve a company's issues, improving on existing mistakes whilst retaining the best parts of current processes.

Designing new processes

Process design engineers have a major part in creating new processes and systems for organisations. This means understanding the role of the process and creating a step-by-step methodology that delivers consistent results when employees use it. Designing new processes is a meticulous process in itself, with a range of different stages and several variables to consider. This includes the employees the process involves, the relevant technology in use and the number of steps in the process.

Related: What is process design? (Plus its 8 core principles)

Completing thorough research

Process design engineers go through a significant amount of research in their work. This means remaining informed on important industry updates and using this information as an opportunity to improve processes throughout the company. Doing so means reading through industry journals, research papers and any related academic work. Some process design engineers attend industry events such as conferences as a means of building their understanding of new technology and systems in their respective industries.

Related: What are the different types of research methodology?

Report to management

One of the most important tasks that process design engineers have is reporting important information to management staff. Process design engineers do this after designing processes or after completing an analysis of existing processes in the business. Reporting to management comes in several formats, the first of which is using written reports. Members of staff send long-form reports to managers detailing issues with existing processes and ideal steps towards resolution. The alternative to writing reports is presenting the information in person. Process design engineers use presentations and Q&A sessions, thoroughly detailing new processes and why they use them.

Related: How to write a report in 9 steps (with definition and tips)

Understand rules and regulations

Process design engineers have a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations that pertain to the industry in question. This means reading through the industry's specific laws and regulations whilst keeping track of changes in the law and Parliamentary votes. This is an important part of a process design engineer's work, as process design engineers create processes, systems and workflows that not only increase the productivity of a company but work legally. Full awareness of current and future rules and regulations is an integral part of doing so and futureproofing.

Related: System Design Interview Questions (With Tips)

Support process implementation

Process design engineers support the implementation of new processes in addition to designing them. This is because process design engineers have the best possible understanding of the reasoning behind each aspect of the new process and important tips for completing the process effectively. Process design engineers talk to members of staff, explaining the new process in addition to flaws with the previous process before answering any questions. This makes the transition between systems more efficient, as everyone has a better understanding of their role.

Related: Technologist vs engineer: what is the difference?

Talk to members of staff

As part of assessing existing processes, a process design engineer talks to members of staff throughout the organisation. This includes talking to people with direct involvement in the process itself and those working in similar areas that rely on the initial process. Process design engineers talk to members of staff in both formal and informal settings, gathering opinions on the effectiveness of processes and potential areas for improvement. Many process design engineers anonymise their coworkers as a means of getting as much honesty as possible from their staff members.

Complete thorough testing

When a process design engineer completes the implementation of a new process, an important stage of their follow-up work is the completion of thorough testing and assessment. This means measuring productivity within the new process, employee happiness and resource efficiency. The entire goal of a new process is that it outperforms the previous process and leaves the company in a better situation than before. Completing thorough testing means that a process design engineer has the best possible chance of completing the right tweaks to the process at the right times to ensure quality outcomes.

Plan for the future

Process design engineers are a significant part of a company planning for the future. This entails understanding the current state of processes and planning to evolve those processes in the coming years, keeping the company in an advanced position in comparison to many competitors. Completing a lot of research is important for this stage, as process design engineers prepare for incoming technical advances. Planning for the future is important as it keeps a company at the forefront of the industry's evolution, working as efficiently as possible throughout.

What skills do process design engineers use?

Process design engineers use a range of different skills in their roles, including:

Attention to detail

One of the most important parts of a process design engineer's skillset is a high level of attention to detail. This means that a design engineer pays as much attention as possible to every aspect of a process, finding the issue and resolving it in the next iteration. Improve attention to detail by limiting the amount of multitasking you do, as this improves your focus on the individual task at hand.

Related: How to improve your attention to detail

Time management

Depending on the specific nature of the process a process design engineer works with, time management is an important factor. Some processes require completion faster than others, which means prioritising between tasks and managing time in a way that increases efficiency is important. Improve time management skills by implementing efficiency tools such as Pomodoro timers into your workday, in addition to using graphs such as Gantt charts that establish workflows and dependencies in your daily work.

Communication

Process design engineers use communication skills consistently. This is because process design engineers use a range of different communication methods, from writing clear instructions and reports to management to speaking to members of staff about their concerns and new processes. Communication is a soft skill. This means that practising is the best possible way of improving your skills, in addition to focusing specifically on techniques such as active listening.

Related: 6 fun communication games to improve communication skills

IT skills

IT skills are an important part of working as a process design engineer. This is because process design engineers create documents outlining their processes, complete forms for members of management staff and complete comprehensive research on their computers. Process design engineers improve their digital skills by completing training courses, making use of refresher courses and asking colleagues for advice when struggling.

Leadership

Process design engineers may use leadership skills. This occurs when the engineer works as a team with their members of staff, developing processes as part of a larger group. Improve leadership skills by sharing leadership roles amongst the team over time, as this provides more people with leadership experience that they use to build their skills.

Explore more articles