domingo, 7 de febrero de 2010


What is Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineering can be better explained with the statement that the two focus areas of industrial engineering are human effort engineering and system efficiency engineering. These two focus areas match with Urwick’s statement 1 and 2. Industrial engineering (i) analyzes, measures, and improves the method of performing the tasks assigned to individuals, and (ii) Designs and installs better systems of integrating tasks assigned to a group (Urwick, Lyndall, F., “Development of Industrial Engineering”, Chapter 1 in Handbook of Industrial Engineering, H.B. Maynard (Ed.), 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, New York, 1963).
It is interesting to note that the first representation to the teachers and practioners of industrial engineering was given in the name of Industrial and Efficiency Engineering Committee in 1912 in Society for Promotion of Engineering Education (S.P.E.E.). In this committee, there were three teachers and 8 practioners and Frank Gilbreth was among practioners (Gerald Thusesne, History of Development of Engineering Economic Representation in within A.S.E.E.).
System design and system efficiency design are to be distinguished by dividing system design into system functional design and system efficiency design. Engineers or managers with specialization in a function do the functional design part. An electrical power generation system is designed by electrical engineers. Industrial engineers may take up the functional design and do efficiency engineering work on it. Similarly a marketing system is designed by marketing managers, and industrial engineers may do efficiency engineering of it.
The explanation of industrial engineering as human effort engineering and system efficiency engineering brings out more clearly the scope of the IIE definition that industrial engineering is concerned with the design, improvement, and installation of integrated systems. The word engineering is associated with design and production, fabrication or construction according to designs. As explained above, system design in entirety cannot be the sole preserve of industrial engineers. The functional design of production systems in various branches of engineering can be done by engineers of that branch only. Similarly functional design of various management systems in a business organization can be done by managers of that function only. Industrial engineers have a role to play in systems design and it is of designing efficiency into the functional systems designed by others.

Maynard stated the scope of industrial engineering in his preface to the second edition of Hand Book of Industrial Engineering, edited by him in 1963. Industrial engineers have been traditionally concerned with the design of manufacturing plants, methods improvement, work measurement, the design and administration of wage payment systems, cost control, quality control, production control and the like. These procedures are all directed toward the reduction of cost. All the techniques of industrial engineering reflect the common denominator of all industrial engineering work – an intense interest in improving thing that is currently being planned or done. Cost reduction or efficiency improvement is the focus of industrial engineering. Maynard also pointed out in his preface that developments in applied mathematics and statistics during the post world war years facilitated industrial engineer to tackle design of much larger systems with more predictive power.

In 1943, the Work Standardization Committee of the Management Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers identified the following areas as the purview of industrial engineer: Budgets and cost control, manufacturing engineering, organization analysis, systems & procedures, and wage & salary administration. The traditional industrial engineering methods of operation analysis, motion study, work measurement, standardization of the method were included in manufacturing engineering and these techniques are relevant for hourly base wage rate determination, incentives and administration of wage payment.

The study of various functional areas in industrial engineering curriculums is for the purpose of understanding the functional designs in those areas and industrial engineering graduates should not claim expertise in those subjects to do functional design unless they really specialize in them through extra study and experience of efficiency design of many systems in the same functional area.

According to M.H. Mathewson, industrial engineering is distinguished from other engineering disciplines in that it:

1. Places increased emphasis on the integration of human being into the system.
2. Is concerned with the total system.
3. Predicts and interprets the economic results.
4. Makes greater utilization of the contribution of the social sciences than do other engineering disciplines.

Industrial Engineering as practiced today can be explained by identifying three components.

1. Human Effort Engineering
2. System Efficiency Engineering
3. Systems Design, Installation and Improvement Management.
All methods and techniques of industrial engineering can be categorized under these three major components.


Statement\ˈstāt-mənt\ noun \ the act or process of stating or presenting orally or on paper

Measure\meʒər\noun\how much, there is something that you can quantify, to choose or control with cautious restraint : REGULATE b : to regulate by a standard

Measurement \meʒərmənt \noun\the act or process of measuring; "the measurements were carefully done"; "his mental measurings proved remarkably accurate"

scope \ˈskōp\noun\ extent of treatment, activity, or influence

concern \kən-sərn \verb\ to have an influence on. involve\ to the problem concerns us all

\ in-ˈtī-rə-tē, -ˈtī(-ə)r-tē\noun\ the state of being entire or complete


These two focus areas match with Urwick’s statement 1 and 2
Noun: focus areas
Verb: match

An electrical power generation system is designed by electrical engineers.
Noun: electrical power generation
Verb: designed

Industrial engineers may take up the functional design and do efficiency engineering work on it.
Noun: focus areas
Adjective efficiency
Verb: take up

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