Evolution of industrial engineering (Part I)
In any productive environment, whether it is an industrial plant, an institution such as a hospital, restaurant, office, etc. there is a need to improve the quality of work. This means that a given task should be carried out efficiently and accurately in terms of time and effort spent.
During the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th century, many small ownership based businesses grew into larger enterprises in which a number of manual tasks were performed by mechanical and steam operated machines. At that time there weren’t adequate tools or working conditions and there was considerable exploitation of labor. As a result, there were wide variations in output from different workers and different factories making the same product.
Frederick Taylor, a mechanical engineer was who observed that better methods could be established even for a simple task as handling iron ore and coal for a blast in a steel plant. He pursued the task of establishing a norm for the weight and size of the shovel for scooping and transferring material. He observed and proved that instead of using the largest shovel to move the maximum material in a day, it was better to design a shovel which could be comfortably used by the workers on a repetitive basis without tiring or injuring them at the end of the day. When his plan was implemented, he reduced the manpower by over 25%. Taylor was also considered to be the father of scientific management because he was a pioneer in improving methods and establishing the incentive system for workers with the benefit of higher productivity to the owners and higher wages for the workers.