When many people talk about engineering careers, they’re referring to jobs like mechanical or electrical engineering where there is a very practical aspect to the jobs, whether it’s constructing a road, building or power plant

Industrial engineering is a little bit different in this regard. It’s not so much about creating as it is about streamlining and improving efficiency.

And with cost management playing such a big role in the potential success or failure of a business or government department, there’s certainly a great need for skilled industrial engineers who can help manage these costs.

Industrial Engineering Definition

The term industrial engineering was originally coined to refer to work done by people in industry to help streamline manufacturing by improving factory and assembly line efficiency.

The role of the industrial engineer has expanded over the years to the point where they now involve themselves in virtually all operational aspects of a business or organization.

As mentioned above, industrial engineering is all about improving efficiency. These improvements can come from streamlining processes in a range of different areas including:

  • People Management
  • Finance Engineering
  • Supply Change Management
  • Systems Engineering
  • Research & Design
  • Manufacturing

For each of these aspects of a business, it’s the job of industrial engineers to continually look at ways that systems and processes can be improved and optimized.

Industrial Engineering Job Description

Because of the broad range of businesses that employ industrial engineers, as well the the different complexities of each of those kinds of businesses, it’s hard to create a catch-all job description for industrial engineering.

But the different tasks and responsibilities can be broadly classified under a couple of different headings

Process  & Systems Analysis

The first task of any industrial engineer will be to do a thorough analysis of all the processes and systems that make up the operations of the organization.

The idea is to try and identify areas where improvements can be made.

Change Implementation

Once areas of opportunity have been identified, and plans to take advantage f these have been created, the next job of industrial engineering is to oversee the implementation of the changes that are need to improve the overall efficiency of operations.

This will generally more of a project management style role where jobs are delegated to specific professionals with the skills needed to do the job.

Industrial Engineering Salary & Career Info

Industrial engineering is one of the three largest engineering disciplines with just over 200,000 people being employed in the United States to work as industrial engineers.

The industrial engineering salary is fairly standard – both the typical starting salary of around $55,000 and the average salary of $73,000 are very much in line with industry averages.

Job growth over the next decade is expected to be quite strong at roughly 14%, and when you consider the size of the industry already, this means that a career in industrial engineering definitely has a positive outlook.


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