Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.
Industrial engineers typically do the following:
Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects
Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for
moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
evaluating job performance
Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers' safety, environmental concerns, and cost.
To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.
Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.