Industrial engineers create systems to streamline production or administrative processes, eliminating waste and utilising materials, facilities and workers for optimum efficiency. They study every aspect of the business, from production schedules to process flow to quality control.
Duties and responsibilities
- Consult with clients, vendors, staff and management to assess all aspects of production
- Study operations flow, organisational charts and project information to determine worker functions
- Review orders, manufacturing specifications, production schedules and procedures
- Discuss production and design standards with management and other relevant staff
- Collect and analyse statistical data on processes and staff requirements
- Recommend methods for improving manufacturing methods and personnel utilisation
- Develop cost analysis systems to improve efficiency of staff and fully utilise facility
- Determine accuracy of design drawings, production standards and testing equipment
- Create quality control procedures to eliminate production errors and reduce costs
- Record all data, process changes, design alterations, production improvements and compile reports
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Industrial engineers typically split their time between offices and observing processes on-site in various industries. Depending on the project, you may spend long hours analysing data on a computer or several days watching how workers interact with automated equipment at a manufacturing plant. Most industrial engineers work full time during office hours, but some projects may require a varying schedule or overtime.
As an industrial engineer, you may need to travel to local, national or international sites. When working on the manufacturing floor, you will likely be required to wear appropriate safety gear, such as hard hats and safety glasses.
Annual salary estimates are based on data published on the Today's Military website.
Bachelor's degree in industrial engineering
Industrial engineers typically have a four-year degree in industrial engineering or industrial engineering technology. Some may have achieved related degrees in mechanical, electrical, manufacturing or general engineering. High school students interested in pursuing an industrial engineering career should focus their coursework on mathematics, computer science, chemistry and physics.
Some colleges and universities offer a combined bachelor's and master's degree programme which typically takes five years to complete. Consider looking for cooperative education programmes that combine classroom and lab study with practical experience.
Entry-level industrial engineer jobs do not require licensure. Individual states offer a Professional Engineering (PE) licence to engineers who have an ABET-accredited degree, at least four years of experience and passing grades on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineering exams.
Entry-level industrial engineers typically begin work under the supervision of experienced engineers. Passing the FE exam after earning your degree, taking any corporate training offered and earning experience on the job can help you move on to projects with more responsibility.
Getting your full PE licence opens up more job opportunities and team leadership roles. Many industrial engineers focus on a specialty, such as quality engineer or facility planner. Earning a master's degree in your specialty can also help you land the more challenging and lucrative jobs.
You may also consider roles in management. A graduate degree opens the door to teaching at a university or a job in research and development.