One of the most highly in demand, interesting, and profitable professions is industrial engineering. Although not the most common or even well-known discipline in the engineering sciences, it is perhaps the most distinctive. In a nutshell, industrial engineering is the study of how systems and processes may be optimized in order to save money, materials, energy, and time across industries.
What Industrial Engineering Students are Taught
They are taught how to implement business strategies such as Supply Chain Management, Six Sigma, and 5S. Simply put, industrial engineering takes what other engineering disciplines have completed and then improve it. Industrial engineering is at work in nearly every industry: entertainment, aerospace, manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, aviation, hospitality, energy, and logistics, among others.
An industrial engineering degree can enable the graduate to simplify a UPS supply chain to have a more expedient delivery, improve the quality of chocolates at Hershey to sustain customer satisfaction, streamline manufacturing processes of hybrid cars at Chevrolet to result in more affordable cars, and perform audits on energy of companies to encourage them to “go green” and save both the planet and company funds.
An industrial engineering degree holder can train people in the use of advanced technology for improved operations, optimize levels of the nursing staff at hospitals to enhance patient care, reduce the waiting time for rollercoaster rides at Disneyworld and increase visitor satisfaction, design factory floors of manufacturing plants more ergonomically for safer operations, and lead the design of new NASA equipment.
Career Opportunities of an Industrial Engineering Degree Holder
The field of industrial engineering is so vast that the job profile can range from industrial healthcare to internal industrial consultancy. The industrial engineering graduate plays a very important role in healthcare, for example, in that he/she becomes the problem solver who determines staffing positions, implements new technology, and streamlines daily operations for hospitals and healthcare systems.
As an internal industrial consultant for a theme park, for instance, the industrial engineer assists in problem solving and streamlining major processes, especially for new attractions such as amusement park rides. The industrial engineer’s main task is to launch that attraction in the best way possible, efficiently and safely, to satisfy and entertain visitors.
Another aspect that an industrial engineering graduate should expect is acting as a lean coordinator for cost-effective waste reduction that leaves only value-added activities and procedures like redoing the building’s layout to eliminate clutter. Lean coordinating is applied in most, if not all, industries but is most common in manufacturing, where the industrial engineer applies the principles of lean coordination to the workplace.
Quality assurance is also done by industrial engineer graduates to ensure that there is consistency in production of goods or delivery of services and its corresponding lifecycle. Industrial engineers who specialize in quality control determine quality levels and existing or potential disruptions of those levels and resolving those issues. He/she must do all that while ensuring that the procedure remains low cost and standardized.
Best Schools for Industrial Engineering Undergraduate Programs
Not many schools have industrial engineering programs, and this is exactly the reason why you should consider a school’s national ranking when choosing your university or college. U.S. News has ranked the Georgia Institute of Technology as the number one choice for industrial engineering programs, followed by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of California-Berkeley.