Product graders perform preventive and operational quality control on products and resources. They inspect, grade and evaluate the materials at various stages to make sure it conforms to the desired standard, and send the product back for repair or improvement if necessary. They work in companies and industrial facilities to ensure the produced commodities achieve quality standards.
The duties of a product grader include, but are not limited to:
- studying product specifications and taking measurements to determine conformity to specifications
- examining and marking output for visible defects such as cracks, holes and breakages
- making minor repairs and adjustments to products
- compiling quality assurance reports, maintaining documentation and reporting findings
- examining products for defects and grading produce
- designating grading of produce and recording details of assessments according to classification system
- collecting and labelling samples for inspection
- recording details of sampling procedures and sources of samples
- preparing samples and carrying out prescribed tests
The following job titles also refer to product grader:
product quality inspector
product quality grader
product quality observer
product quality monitor
A high school diploma is generally the minimum required to work as a product grader. However, this requirement may differ according to the type of product to grade.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Product grader is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Product grader career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to product grader.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of product grader. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of product grader with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of product grader.
- Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of product grader.
- Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
- Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
- Record survey measurements: Gather and process descriptive data by using documents such as sketches, drawings and notes.
- Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
- Monitor manufacturing quality standards: Monitor quality standards in manufacturing and finishing process.
- Operate precision measuring equipment: Measure the size of a processed part when checking and marking it to check if it is up to standard by use of two and three dimensional precision measuring equipment such as a caliper, a micrometer, and a measuring gauge.
- Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
- Define data quality criteria: Specify the criteria by which data quality is measured for business purposes, such as inconsistencies, incompleteness, usability for purpose and accuracy.
- Define quality standards: Define, in collaboration with managers and quality experts, a set of quality standards to ensure compliance with regulations and help achieve customers’ requirements.
- Maintain test equipment: Maintain equipment used for testing the quality of systems and products.
- Apply safety management: Apply and supervise measures and regulations concerning security and safety in order to maintain a safe environment in the workplace.
- Prepare technical reports: Prepare technical reports that describe results and processes of scientific or technical research, or assess its progress. These reports help researchers to keep up to date with recent findings.
- Perform sample testing: Examine and perform tests on prepared samples; avoid any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination during the testing phase. Operate sampling equipment in line with design parameters.
- Prepare samples for testing: Take and prepare samples for testing, verify their representability; avoid bias and any possibility of accidental or deliberate contamination. Provide clear numbering, labelling and recording of the sample details, in order to make sure that the results can be accurately matched to the original material.
- Lead inspections: Lead inspections and the protocol involved, such as introducing the inspection team, explaining the purpose of the inspection, performing the inspection, requesting documents, asking appropriate questions, and maintaining a high level of professionalism when investigating subjects.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of product grader. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Manufacturing processes: The steps required through which a material is transformed into a product, its development and full-scale manufacturing.
- Grading systems: The features of several grading systems such as FAS (Firsts and Seconds) and various forms of SEL (Select) and Common, which are used to buy and sell lumber worldwide.
- Non-destructive testing: The techniques used to assess the characteristics of materials, products and systems without causing damage, such as ultrasonic, radiographic, and remote visual inspection and testing.
- Database quality standards: Techniques and methods of estimation and evaluation of system quality and overall database quality, as well as the set quality standards and regulations.
- Quality assurance methodologies: Quality assurance principles, standard requirements, and the set of processes and activities used for measuring, controlling and ensuring the quality of products and processes.
- Types of wood: Types of wood, such as birch, pine, poplar, mahogany, maple and tulipwood.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of product grader. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
- Grade pulp: Oversee pulp quality based on their pulping process, raw materials, yield, fibre length and other categories such as dirt, moisture content, porosity, density, and brightness.
- Define manufacturing quality criteria: Define and describe the criteria by which data quality is measured for manufacturing purposes, such as international standards and manufacturing regulations.
- Grade engineered wood: Assess the quality of engineered wood looking for flaws, incomplete gluing, and irregularities.
- Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
- Identify preventive actions: Anticipate situations that could be damaging to the workplace and the processes undergone there by drawing attention to possible undesired outcomes and suggesting preventive actions.
- Check quality of products on the production line: Check products for quality on the production line and remove defective items before and after packaging.
- Oversee quality control: Monitor and assure the quality of the provided goods or services by overseeing that all the factors of the production meet quality requirements. Supervise product inspection and testing.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Revise quality control systems documentation: Revise quality control documents. Read through the documents, editing them, and revise items in the documentation like the numbering scheme, process to create new documents, revision and follow up process, closure of non-conformities, methods for tracking documents, etc.
- Use testing equipment: Use equipment to test performance and operation of machinery.
- Use non-destructive testing equipment: Use specific non-destructive testing methods and equipment that do not cause any damage to the product, such as X-rays, ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, industrial CT scanning and others, in order to find defects in and assure quality of a manufactured and a repaired product.
- Write technical reports: Compose technical customer reports understandable for people without technical background.
- Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
- Check quality of raw materials: Check the quality of basic materials used for the production of semi-finished and finished goods by assessing some of its characteristics and, if needed, select samples to be analysed.
- Read engineering drawings: Read the technical drawings of a product made by the engineer in order to suggest improvements, make models of the product or operate it.
- Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
- Recommend product improvements: Recommend product modifications and process improvements.
- Use technical documentation: Understand and use technical documentation in the overall technical process.
- Apply health and safety standards: Adhere to standards of hygiene and safety established by respective authorities.
- Identify improvement actions: Realise possible improvements for processes to increase productivity, improve efficiency, increase quality, and streamline procedures.
- Analyse production processes for improvement: Analyse production processes leading toward improvement. Analyse in order to reduce production losses and overall manufacturing costs.
ISCO group and title
7543 – Product graders and testers (excluding foods and beverages)
- Product grader – ESCO