Industrial engineering is about choices. Other engineering disciplines apply skills to very specific areas. An industrial engineering education offers the best of both worlds: an education in both engineering and management.
The most distinctive aspect of industrial engineering is the flexibility it offers. Whether it's shortening a rollercoaster line in an amusement park, streamlining an operating room in a hospital, distributing products worldwide, or manufacturing superior automobiles, these challenges share the common goal of saving money and increasing efficiencies. As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive world market, the need for industrial engineers is growing. Why? Industrial engineers are the only engineering professionals trained specifically to be productivity and quality improvement specialists. Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, energy and other commodities. This is why many industrial engineers end up being promoted into management positions.
Many people are misled by the term industrial engineer. It's not just about manufacturing. It also encompasses service industries, with many industrial engineers employed in entertainment industries, shipping and logistics businesses, and health care organizations. Industrial engineers make processes better in the following ways:
- More efficient and more profitable business practices
- Better customer service and product quality
- Improved efficiency
- Increased ability to do more with less
- Making work safer, faster, easier, and more rewarding
- Helping companies produce more products quickly
- Making the world safer through better designed products
- Reducing costs associated with new technologies