Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering that concerns the development, improvement, implementation and evaluation of integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy, material and process. Industrial engineering draws upon the principles and methods of engineering analysis and synthesis, as well as 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. In lean manufacturing systems, Industrial engineers work to eliminate wastes of time, money, materials, energy, and other resources.
Industrial engineering is also known as operations management, systems engineering, production engineering, manufacturing engineering or manufacturing systems engineering; a distinction that seems to depend on the viewpoint or motives of the user. Recruiters or educational establishments use the names to differentiate themselves from others. In healthcare, industrial engineers are more commonly known as management engineers, engineering management, or even health systems engineers.
Where as most engineering disciplines apply skills to very specific areas, industrial engineering is applied in virtually every industry. Examples of where industrial engineering might be used include shortening lines (or queues) at a theme park, streamlining an operating room, distributing products worldwide (also referred to as Supply Chain Management), and manufacturing cheaper and more reliable automobiles. Industrial engineers typically use computer simulation, especially discrete event simulation, for system analysis and evaluation.
The name "industrial engineer" can be misleading. While the term originally applied to manufacturing, it has grown to encompass services and other industries as well. Similar fields include Operations Research, Management Science, Financial Engineering, Supply Chain, Manufacturing Engineering, Engineering Management, Systems Engineering, Ergonomics, Process Engineering, Value Engineering and Quality Engineering.
There are a number of things industrial engineers do in their work to make processes more efficient, to make products more manufacturable and consistent in their quality, and to increase productivity.
Answered By: ? Mage - 12/21/2007