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   Home > Overview > What Is Industrial Engineering? 30 Aug. 2014
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overviewWhat Is Industrial Engineering?

Industrial Engineering (Industrial and Systems Engineering) is the branch of engineering that is concerned with the Design, Analysis, and Operation of Systems. These can range from a consumer product or single piece of equipment to large business, social, and environmental systems.  Industrial Engineers determine the most effective ways to utilize the basic factors of production—people, machines, materials, information, and energy—to make a product or provide a service.  The Industrial Engineer's interest lies in modeling system functions and determining how best to achieve the objectives of the system. The methods employed in Industrial Engineering provide an excellent vehicle for considering both private and public costs and benefits.

Of the 1.5 million engineers in the US, over 200,000 are Industrial Engineers, making this the third most popular area of engineering (BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-9 Ed.).  While engineering overall is expected to grow at 11% between 2006 and 2016, Industrial Engineering is expected to grow at 20%!  The complexity of many large systems continues to increase, efficiency is more important than ever to the success of both for-profit and not-for-profit operations, and the recognition of the importance of human-centered design applied to products and work systems are all contributing to the growth in Industrial Engineering.

Average salaries for degrees in Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering are (engineeryourlife.org):
B.S.      $58,581
M.S.      $71,163
Ph.D.    $87,000

In order to develop the capacity of the industrial engineering student to handle basic engineering problems, the industrial engineering curriculum provides a background in calculus, statistics, computing, psychology, accounting, and economics. Physics, chemistry, engineering graphics, and engineering mechanics round out the areas of study among the prerequisites for the core courses in the department.

How the Discipline's Professional Society, the Institute for Industrial Engineers (IIE), Describes Industrial Engineering

    "Industrial engineering (IE) is about choices... IE gives you the opportunity to work in a variety of businesses. The most distinctive aspect of industrial engineering is the flexibility that it offers. Whether it's shortening a rollercoaster line, streamlining an operating room, distributing products worldwide, or manufacturing superior automobiles, all share the common goal of saving companies money and increasing efficiencies... the need for industrial engineers is growing. Why? Industrial engineers are the only engineering professionals trained as productivity and quality improvement specialists... Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity... IEs save companies money... 'Industrial engineer' is synonymous with systems integrator - a big-picture thinker..."

Visit IIE's website to learn more...

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