What is Industrial Engineering?
All engineers work in planning, designing, implementing and controlling the systems that enable people to use technology. Industrial engineers in turn design systems that enable people and society to improve productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and quality. The industrial engineer has a dual role, both to extend the human capability to operate, manage and control the overall production system, and to ensure the safety and well-being of those working in the system.
The process of engineering always starts with measurement. Where other engineers might measure temperatures, pressures, or loads, the industrial engineer measures the time of a work cycle, the dollar value of expenditures, rates of machine failures, and demand for finished goods. Usually, the mathematical analysis must take into account risk and uncertainty to a larger extent than in other engineering fields.
Theses systems are broadly designed and are characterized by a need to integrate both the physical and decision-making capabilities of humans with all aspects of the system design. Problems can range from the design of a factory floor to the overall corporate plan for procurement, production, and distribution. Industrial engineers are found in nearly every industry including healthcare, energy, and communications.
Students begin the Industrial Engineering program with a background in engineering fundamentals studied during their initial two years. In the latter portion of the program, they are introduced to the fundamental approaches of workplace design and operations research, while at the same time enhancing their mathematical and computer background.
Later, more advanced modeling approaches are examined together with courses more directly related to the management process. Production scheduling, inventory control, quality management, and plant layout are studied, as are the factors which influence human performance. Students are provided with the opportunity to study such areas as manufacturing, service systems, or maintenance through the department’s elective course offerings.