The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology defines industrial engineering as: the profession in which a knowledge of the
mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience and practice is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize economically, the materials and
forces of nature for the benefit of mankind concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of people, materials, equipment and energy.
It draws upon specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and
design to specify, predict and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems.
The origins of industrial engineering can be
traced back to many different sources. Fredrick Winslow Taylor is most often considered as the father of industrial engineering even though all his ideas where not
original. Some of the preceding influences may have been Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. All of their works provided classical
liberal explanations for the successes and limitations of the Industrial Revolution.
Another major contributor to the field was Charles W. Babbage. a
mathematics professor. One of his major contributions to the field was his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers in 1832. In this book he
discusses many different topics dealing with manufacturing, a few of which will be extremely familiar to an IE. Babbage discusses the idea of the learning curve, the
division of task and how learning is affected, and the effect of learning on the generation of waste.
In the late nineteenth century more developments where
being made that would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne stressed the economic aspect of an engineer's job. Towne belonged to the
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as did many other early American pioneers in this new field. The IE handbook says the, "ASME was the breeding
ground for industrial engineering. Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and presenting wage incentive plans to the ASME. It was out of these
meetings that the Halsey plan of wage payment developed. The purpose was to increase the productivity of workers without negatively affecting the cost of
production. The plan suggested that some of the gains be shared with the employees.. This is one early example of one profit sharing plan.
Henry L. Gantt
belonged to the ASME and presented papers to the ASME on topics such as cost, selection of workers, training, good incentive plans, and scheduling of work. He is
the originator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in scheduling of work.
hat would Industrial Engineering be without mentioning Fredrick
Winslow Taylor. Taylor is probably the best known of the pioneers in industrial engineering. His work, like others, covered topics such as the organization of work by
management, worker selection, training, and additionalpensation for those individuals that could meet the standard as developed by thepany through his
The Gilbreths are accredited with the development of time and motion studies. Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth worked on
understanding fatigue, skill development, motion studies, as well as time studies. Lillian Gilbreth had a Ph.D. in psychology which helped in understanding the many
people issues. One of the most significant things the Gilbrethss did was to classify the basic human motions into seventeen types, some effective and some non-
effective. They labeled the table of classification therbligs. Effective therbligs are useful in accomplishing work and non-effective therbligs are not. Gilbreth concluded
that the time to complete an effective therblig can be shortened but will be very hard to eliminate. On the other hand non-effective therbligs should be completely
eliminated if possible.
In 1948, the American Institute for Industrial Engineers (AIIE), was opened for the first time and began to give a professional authenticity
for the practicing engineers. Up to this time industrial engineers really had no specific place in the hierarchy of apany. The ASME was the only other society that
required its members to have an engineering degree prior to the development of the AIIE.
What is the future for Industrial Engineers? With analytical
methods and the advancing technologies for theputer, modelingplex production and service systems will become more and more an every day
Performing a motion study. Every job can be broken down into its' fundamental work elements. The Gilbreth family found that there are
seventeen of these motions. The time to complete each motion does not change. Jobs can be studied visually or through the assistance of a camera for micro-motion
The environment for the workers also needs to be set up to promote efficiency of work. Tools should be placed in fixed locations to eliminate the
search and selection therbligs. Work surfaces and chairs should be adjusted to the correct working heights to eliminate stress. Whenever possible, gravity feeders
should be used to deliver parts to the correct location. The worker's tools should be designed to eliminate multiple cuts. Adjustment handles should be designed to
maximize the operator's mechanical advantage.
Performing a time study. Without a standard thepany will find it hard to estimate lead-time on
their products. Times very greatly when the employee does not know what the expectation ofpany is. In order to correct this problem the IE will develop a fair
standard expectation for each operation. It has been estimated that 12% of apany's total costes from direct labor. Another 43% of costes from the
material cost. The other 45% is spent in overhead. So the idea that the largest productivity gains can be felt on the floor does not hold up in this light. A good time
study will take into account the unavoidable delays, fatigue, and to an extent, outside interferences. Time for wasteful steps, such as searching for tools, will not be
included in the final standard. The expectation is that the workplace will be designed to accommodate the work and will be free from this type of
Set-Up Times Set up time is the amount of time it takes to begin producing different parts on a machine. If set-up times remain large thepany will operate with high levels of work in progress and finished goods tying up thepanies valuable capital.panies that fail to reduce their set-up times
have a tendency to look sluggish in regards to their customers.
Cost An IE will generally be responsible foring up with a cost analysis on the
equipment purchase. There are a several ways ofing up with this. Lifehow long the machine is expected to last when developing the cost
Efficiency The traditional way of looking at efficiency was to keep the machine running at a 100% The idea was the cost of the machine
could be spread out over the amount of time it was kept running. The higher the machines efficiency, time running / time available, the better the accounting
numbers looked in regards to machine cost.
Material The IE is concerned with the delivery and flow of material throughout the plant, often
the plant has evolved as thepany has.
Lot size To allow the manufacturer to stay flexible the production lot sizes should be minimalized. This will
only be economical after the reduction of machine set-ups have been achieved.
Inventory Levels Since inventory is capital that cannot be
converted until finished and purchased by a consumer, it should be kept to a minimal. Inventories not only tie up capital but if the customer requests a change then
the inventory runs the risk of becoming obsolete.
Quality The quality of the material can affect all parts of the system. Poor quality material often
introduces excessive amounts of rework into each of the processes. A typical job for an IE would be to work with the quality department to set up a Quality
Management system QMS.
Maintenance The amount of maintenance that the machine is going to require is a variable that must be
considered. Another issue about maintenance is whether or not the staff on hand will need to be retrained.