Industrial Engineering Overview
The Field - Preparation - Accreditation Day in the Life - Earnings - Employment Career Path Forecast - Professional Organizations
Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways to use the basic factors of production -people, machines, materials, information, and energy -- to make a product or to provide a service. They are the bridge betweenmanagement goals and operational performance. They are more concerned with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology than are engineers in other specialties, who generally work more with products or processes. Although most industrial engineers work in manufacturing industries, they may also work in consulting services, healthcare,and communications. To solve organizational, production, and related problems most efficiently, industrial engineers carefully study the product and its requirements, use mathematical methods such as operations research to meet those requirements, and design manufacturing and information systems. They develop management control systems to aid in financial planning and cost analysis and designproduction planning and control systems to coordinate activities and ensure product quality. They also design or improve systems for the physical distribution of goods and services. Industrial engineers determine which plant location has the best combination of raw materials availability, transportation facilities, and costs. Industrial engineers use computers for simulations and to control variousactivities and devices, such as assembly lines and robots. They also develop wage and salary administration systems and job evaluation programs. Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work is closely related. The work of health and safety engineers is similar to that of industrial engineers in that it deals with the entire production process. Health and safety engineerspromote worksite or product safety and health by applying knowledge of industrial processes, as well as mechanical, chemical, and psychological principles. They must be able to anticipate, recognize, and evaluate hazardous conditions as well as develop hazard control methods. They also must be familiar with the application of health and safety regulations.
"Industrial Engineering Overview"Prepared as part of the Sloan Career Cornerstone Center (www.careercornerstone.org) Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for almost all entry-level engineering jobs. College graduates with a degree in a physical science or mathematics occasionally may qualify for someengineering jobs, especially in specialties in high demand. Most engineering degrees are granted in electrical, electronics, mechanical, chemical, civil, or materials engineering. However, engineers trained in one branch may work in related branches. For example, many aerospace engineers have training in mechanical engineering. This flexibility allows employers to meet staffing needs in newtechnologies and specialties in which engineers may be in short supply. It also allows engineers to shift to fields with better employment prospects or to those that more closely match their interests. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in both mathematics and science. Most programs include a design course, often accompanied by acomputer or laboratory class. A degree in Industrial Engineering might include the following types of courses: operations research, production and inventory control, probability and statistics, and information systems. Industrial Engineering students would also study people systems, conduct cost analyses, evaluate facilities, and explore other elements of business.
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