What is an Industrial Engineer?
Industrial engineers find ways to optimize production processes. They design efficient ways to use workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. Industrial engineers often work in teams with other professionals, industrial engineering technicians, and production personnel.
What does an Industrial Engineer do?
Industrial engineers are usually in charge of:
- Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand manufacturing and service activities and methods.
- Discover how to manufacture parts or products to provide services with maximum efficiency.
- Develop management control systems to streamline financial planning and cost analysis.
- Enact quality control procedures to solve production problems or minimize costs.
- Work with clients and management to develop design and production standards.
- Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning to ensure that products meet quality standards.
- Confer with customers about product specifications, salespeople about purchasing, management staff about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about project status.
Industrial Engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to business administration. For example, they design systems to:
- Moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants.
- Obtaining goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants.
In all these different projects, industrial engineers focus on how to do the job more efficiently, balancing many factors such as time, number of workers needed, actions workers need to take, bug fixes, available technology, workers, safety, environmental concerns and cost.
To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, they first carefully study product requirements. They then use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet requirements more efficiently.
What is the workplace of an Industrial Engineer like?
Depending on their tasks, industrial engineers work both in offices and in the environments they are trying to improve. For example, when they observe problems, they may observe workers on the floor of a factory or staff in a hospital. When solving problems, they may be in an office on a computer looking for data that they or others have collected.
Industrial engineers often work in teams with other professionals and production personnel. They may need to travel to observe processes and conduct evaluations in various work settings. Most of the work is full time.