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Industrial engineering

ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING (Part two)

ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING (Part two)

Some of the major functions of industrial engineers involve the following:

  • Designing integrated systems of people, technology, process, and methods.
  • Developing performance modelling, measurement, and evaluation for systems.
  • Developing and maintaining quality standards for industry and business.
  • Applying production principles to pursue improvements in service organizations.
  • Incorporating technology effectively into work processes.
  • Developing cost mitigation, avoidance, or containment strategies.
  • Improving overall productivity of integrated systems of people, materials, and processes.
  • Recognizing and incorporate factors affecting performance of a composite system.
  • Planning, organizing, scheduling, and controlling production and service projects.
  • Organizing teams to improve efficiency and effectiveness of and organization.
  • Installing technology to facilitate work flow.
  • Enhancing information flow to facilitate smooth operations of systems.
  • Coordinating materials and equipment for effective systems performance.
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Industrial engineering

WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING?

WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING?

Industrial engineering can be described as the practical application of combination of engineering fields, together with the principles of scientific management. It is the engineering of work processes and the application of engineering methods, practices, and knowledge to production and service enterprises. Industrial engineering places a strong emphasis on an understanding of workers and their needs in order to increase and improve production and service activities. Industrial engineering activities and techniques include the following:

  • Designing jobs (determining the most economic way to perform work).
  • Setting performance standards and benchmarks for quality, quantity, and cost.
  • Designing and installing facilities.

An important aspect of industrial engineering is its concern with the human element in industrial processes. The classical industrial engineering of the late 19th and early 20th centuries emphasized time studies, work sampling, methods engineering, costing methods, and employee incentives to make human interaction with industrial processes cost effective and reliable. Modern industrial engineering, in addition to the classical methods, deals with mathematical process modelling, management science methods, automation, and robotics. The use of advanced mathematical methods has become possible with the advent of computers.

Mathematical process modelling allows the consideration of all available information on a process and the prediction of outcomes for given inputs and process parameters. The work of industrial engineers is varied and ranges from practical aspects of data gathering and analysis to the use of advanced mathematical methods of process simulation and optimization, as firms seek to reduce costs and increase productivity. Industrial engineers are in demand in all industries, ranging from manufacturing to service enterprises.

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Industrial engineering

INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING – WHAT IS SYSTEMS ENGINEERING?

INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING – WHAT IS SYSTEMS ENGINEERING?

Systems engineering involves a recognition, appreciation, and integration of all aspects of an organization or a facility. A system is defined as a collection of interrelated elements working together in synergy to produce a composite output that is greater than the sum of the individual outputs of the components. A system view of a process facilitates a comprehensive inclusion of all the factors involved in the process. Systems engineering is the application of a multi-faceted problem through a systematic collection and integration of parts of the problem with respect to the lifecycle of the problem. It is the branch of engineering concerned with the development, implementation, and use of large or complex systems.

It focuses on specific goals of a system considering the specifications, prevailing constraints, expected services, possible behaviours, and structure of the system. It also involves a consideration of the activities required to assure that the system’s performance matches the stated goals. Systems engineering addresses the integration of tools, people, and processes required to achieve a cost-effective and timely operation of the system.

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Industrial engineering

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – TIES TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Part one)

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – TIES TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Part one)

Industrial engineering has a proud heritage with a link that can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution. Although the practice of Industrial Engineering has been in existence for centuries, the work of Frederick Taylor in the early 20th century was the first emergence of the profession. It has been referred to with different names and connotations. Scientific management was one of the original names used to describe what industrial engineers do.

Industry, the root of the profession’s name, clearly explains what the profession is about. The dictionary defines industry generally as the ability to produce and deliver goods and services. The industry in Industrial Engineering can be viewed as the application of skills and cleverness to achieve work objectives. This relates to how human effort is harnessed innovatively to carry out work. Thus, any activity can be defined as industry if it generates a product, be it service or physical product. A systems view of Industrial Engineering encompasses all the details and aspects necessary for applying skills and accuracy to produce work efficiently. Hence the academic curriculum of Industrial Engineering must change, evolve, and adapt to the changing systems environment of the profession.

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Industrial engineering

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING- TIES TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Part two)

INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING- TIES TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (Part two)

It is widely recognized that the occupational discipline that has contributed the most to the development of modern society is engineering, through its various segments of focus. Engineers design and build the infrastructure that sustains the society. This includes roads, residential and commercial buildings, bridges, canals, tunnels, communication systems, healthcare facilities, schools, habitats, transportation systems, and factories. The Industrial Engineering process of systems integration facilitates the success of these infrastructures. In this sense, the scope of Industrial and Systems Engineering spans all the levels of activity, task, job, project, program, process, system, enterprise, and society.

It is essential to recognize the alliance between industry and Industrial Engineering as the core basis for the profession. The profession has branched off on too many different tangents over the years. Hence, it has witnessed the emergence of Industrial Engineering professionals who claim sole allegiance to some narrow line of practice, focus, or specialization rather than the core profession itself. Industry is the original basis of Industrial Engineering and it should be preserved as the core focus. This should be supported by the different areas of specialization. While it is essential that we extend the scope of Industrial Engineering to other domains, it should be realized that over-divergence of practice will not sustain the profession. A fragmented profession cannot survive for long. The incorporation of systems can help to bind everything together.

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Industrial engineering

WHAT IS OPERATIONAL OR OPERATIONS RESEARCH?

WHAT IS OPERATIONAL OR OPERATIONS RESEARCH?

Operational Research (OR) is the use of advanced analytical techniques to improve decision making. It is sometimes known as Operations Research, Management Science or Industrial Engineering. People with skills in OR hold jobs in decision support, business analytics, marketing analysis and logistics planning – as well as jobs with OR in the title.

WHY IS OR NEEDED?

Because it makes sense to make the best use of available resources. Today’s global markets and instant communications mean that customers expect high-quality products and services when they need them, where they need them. Organizations, whether public or private, need to provide these products and services as effectively and efficiently as possible. This requires careful planning and analysis – the hallmarks of good OR. This is usually based on process modelling, analysis of options or business analytics.

EXAMPLES OF OR IN ACTION

  • Scheduling: of aircrews and the fleet for airlines, of vehicles in supply chains, of orders in a factory and of operating theatres in a hospital.
  • Facility planning: computer simulations of airports for the rapid and safe processing of travellers, improving appointments systems for medical practice.
  • Planning and forecasting: identifying possible future developments in telecommunications, deciding how much capacity is needed in a holiday business.
  • Yield management: setting the prices of airline seats and hotel rooms to reflect changing demand and the risk of no shows.
  • Credit scoring: deciding which customers offer the best prospects for credit companies.
  • Marketing: evaluating the value of sale promotions, developing customer profiles and computing the life-time value of a customer.
  • Defence and peace keeping: finding ways to deploy troops rapidly.
  • Some OR methods and techniques
  • Computer simulation: allowing you to try out approaches and test ideas for improvement.
  • Optimization: narrowing your choices to the very best when there are so many feasible options that comparing them one by one is difficult.
  • Probability and statistics: helping you measure risk, mine data to find valuable connections and insights in business analytics, test conclusions, and make reliable forecasts.
  • Problem structuring: helpful when complex decisions are needed in situations with many stakeholders and competing interests.
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Industrial engineering

HUMAN FACTORS IN INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

HUMAN FACTORS IN INDUSTRIAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Human factors is a science that investigates human behavioural, cognitive, and physical abilities and limitations in order to understand how individual and teams will interact with products and systems.

Human factors engineering is the discipline that takes this knowledge and uses it to specify, design, and test systems to optimize safety, productivity, effectiveness, and satisfaction.

Human factors is important to industrial and systems engineering because of the prevalence of humans within industrial systems. It is humans who, for the most part, are called on to design, manufacture, operate, monitor, maintain, and repair industrial systems. In each of these cases, human factors should be uses to ensure that the design will meet system requirements in performance, productivity, quality, reliability, and safety.

The importance of including human factors in systems design cannot be overemphasized. There are countless examples that illustrate its importance for systems performance. Mackenzie found in 1994 that in a survey of 1100 computer-related fatalities between 1979 and 1992. 92% could be attributed to failures in the interaction between a human and computer. The extend of the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was largely due to human factors challenges, almost resulting in a disastrous nuclear catastrophe. The infamous butterfly ballot problem in Florida in the 2000 U.S. presidential election is a clear example of an inadequate system interface yielding remarkably poor performance. Web sites such as baddesigns.com and thisisbrokenn.com provide extensive listings of designs from everyday life that suffer from poor consideration of human factors. Neophytes often refer to human factors as common sense. However, the prevalence of poor design suggests that human factors sense is not as common as one might think. The consequences of poor human factors design can be inadequate system performance, reduced product sales, significant product damage, and human injury.

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Industrial engineering

EARLY ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

EARLY ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

Before entering into the history of the profession, it is important to note that the birth and evolution of industrial engineering are analogous to those of its engineering predecessors. Even though there are centuries old examples of early engineering practice and accomplishments, such as the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and the Roman construction projects, it was not until the eighteenth century that the first engineering schools appeared in France. The need for greater efficiency in the design and analysis of bridges, roads, and buildings resulted in principles of early engineering concerned primarily with these topics being taught first in military academies (military engineering). The application of these principles to non-military or civilian endeavors led to the term civil engineering. Interrelated advancements in the fields of physics and mathematics laid the groundwork for the development and application of mechanical principles. The need for improvements in the design and analysis of materials and devices such as pumps and engines resulted in the emergence of mechanical engineering as a distinct field in the early nineteenth century. Similar circumstances, albeit for different technologies, can be ascribed to the emergence and development of electrical engineering and chemical engineering. As has been the case with all these fields, industrial engineering developed initially from empirical evidence and understanding and then from research to develop a more scientific base.

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Industrial engineering

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Even though historians of science and technology continue to argue about when industrial engineering began, there is a general consensus that the empirical roots of the profession date back to the Industrial Revolution, which began in England during the mideighteenth century. The events of this era dramatically changed manufacturing practices and served as the gene- sis for many concepts that influenced the scientific birth of the field a century later. The driving forces behind these developments were the technological innovations that helped mechanize many traditional manual operations in the textile industry. These include the flying shuttle developed by John Kay in 1733, the spinning jenny invented by James Hargreaves in 1765, and the water frame developed by Richard Arkwright in 1769. Perhaps the most important innovation, however, was the steam engine developed by James Watt in 1765. By making steam practical as a power source for a host of applications, Watt’s invention freed manufacturers from their reliance on waterpower, opening up far greater freedom of location and industrial organization. It also provided cheaper power, which led to lower production costs, lower prices, and greatly expanded markets. By facilitating the substitution of capital for labor, these innovations generated economies of scale that made mass production in centralized locations attractive for the first time. The concept of a production system, which lies at the core of modern industrial engineering practice and research, had its genesis in the factories created as a result of these innovations.

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Industrial engineering

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – SPECIALIZATION OF LABOR

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING – SPECIALIZATION OF LABOR

The concepts presented by Adam Smith in his treatise The Wealth of Nations also lie at the foundation of what eventually became the theory and practice of industrial engineering. His writings on concepts such as the division of labor and the “invisible hand” of capitalism served to motivate many of the technological innovators of the Industrial Revolution to establish and implement factory systems. Examples of these developments include Arkwright’s implementation of management control systems to regulate production and the output of factory workers, and the well-organized factory that Watt, together with an associate, Matthew Boulton, built to produce steam engines. The efforts of Watt and Boulton and their sons led to the planning and establishment of the first integrated machine manufacturing facility in the world, including the implementation of concepts such as a cost control system designed to decrease waste and improve productivity and the institution of skills training for craftsmen. Many features of life in the twentieth century including widespread employment in large- scale factories, mass production of inexpensive goods, the rise of big business, and the existence of a professional manager class are a direct consequence of the contributions of Smith and Watt.

Another early contributor to concepts that eventually became associated with industrial engineering was Charles Babbage. The findings that he made as a result of visits to factories in England and the United States in the early 1800s were documented in his book entitled On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers. The book includes subjects such as the time required for learning a particular task, the effects of subdividing tasks into smaller and less detailed elements, the time and cost savings associated with changing from one task to another, and the advantages to be gained by repetitive tasks. In his classic example on the manufacture of straight pins, Babbage extends the work of Adam Smith on the division of labor by showing that money could be saved by assigning lesser-paid workers (in those days women and children) to lesser-skilled operations and restricting the higher-skilled, higher- paid workers to only those operations requiring higher skill levels. Babbage also discusses notions related to wage payments, issues related to present-day profit sharing plans, and even ideas associated with the organization of labor and labor relations. It is important to note, however, that even though much of Babbage’s work represented a departure from conventional wisdom in the early nineteenth century, he restricted his work to that of observing and did not try to improve the methods of making the product, to reduce the times required, or to set standards of what the times should be.