What is an Industrial Engineer?

Rachel Burkot

An industrial engineer works in a combination engineering and business position. Industrial engineering is a broad category that can lead to many career choices, unlike other, more specialized types of engineers. Industrial engineers work in settings where they can increase efficiency and save businesses money. These engineers are the only ones trained to improve both productivity and quality.

Industrial engineers develop more efficient ways to build products and manage production lines.
Industrial engineers develop more efficient ways to build products and manage production lines.

Daily tasks of an industrial engineer vary. They analyze the processes and systems of a business and figure out how to do things better. This involves eliminating the waste of time, money, resources and energy. Successful industrial engineers are often promoted into management positions.

Industrial engineers meet with company executives, observe the manufacturing process, and review production data.
Industrial engineers meet with company executives, observe the manufacturing process, and review production data.

Industrial engineering applies to service industries as well as the manufacturing business. Industrial engineers can work in entertainment, shipping, health care or logistics. Within these fields, they can provide more efficient and profitable practices, improved customer service, stronger products and the ability to do more with less. Additionally, industrial engineers can make the work environment safer, faster and easier for employees. These engineers improve the design of products and reduce the costs associated with technology.

Industrial engineers seek to prevent the waste of time, money, resources and energy.
Industrial engineers seek to prevent the waste of time, money, resources and energy.

An industrial engineer will analyze, evaluate and improve methods of production to decide how a business should use its resources, such as equipment and labor. These types of engineers can work either as consultants or internal managers. They must become experts in the current manufacturing and production processes of the company, as well as in the company’s history, such as its culture, problems and challenges.

Industrial engineers can work in fields such as shipping and logistics.
Industrial engineers can work in fields such as shipping and logistics.

Industrial engineers meet with company executives, observe the manufacturing process, and review production data. They rely on information from others, but at times they also observe for themselves. The communication of suggestions to the business’s executives can be the most uncomfortable task of an industrial engineer. Engineers must be tactful yet must stand by their recommendations because in the end, their suggestions help the company to be stronger and more productive.

An industrial engineer may oversee the operation of various systems in a manufacturing plant.
An industrial engineer may oversee the operation of various systems in a manufacturing plant.

Those who wish to become industrial engineers should obtain a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. 70% of these engineers work at manufacturing companies in the assembly, processing or administrative departments. Benefits of a career as an industrial engineer include good working conditions and rewarding results. The work can be challenging and the hours long, but most industrial engineers find that the results are satisfying. Additionally, each project increases an industrial engineer’s knowledge.

An industrial engineer may be responsible for performing maintenance and calibration on manufacturing equipment.
An industrial engineer may be responsible for performing maintenance and calibration on manufacturing equipment.

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