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Industrial Engineer

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Industrial engineer, the title sounds rather ordinary, as if they ran out of words for the multitude of jobs available in the automotive industry and had to pick one that was still available.  But the job description for this field really describes a specialty within the automotive industry that is essential to creating an efficient manufacturing process.  The Industrial Engineer works above the entire automotive manufacturing process and looks at the process as an entire entity.

Role of the Industrial Engineer

Consider a nest of ants.  These industrious insects make elaborate paths and tunnels beneath the ground connecting small caverns with different functions.  When a new food source is identified, these amazing creatures will find the quickest route possible so that they can transport the food back to the nest.  When they encounter and obstacle they either modify their route, move the obstacle or create a new tunnel if possible to allow them to operate in the most efficient way possible.  The same idea is true for the Industrial Engineer.  These engineers will be seen walking about the line with a stop watch conducting time studies to determine how long each step in the process takes.  They will look for bottlenecks in the operation and then determine how to remove those bottlenecks that are slowing down the process to make the entire assembly line move more quickly.

Detailed Job Description of an Industrial Engineer

The industrial engineering job is responsible for numerous activities within the manufacturing process.

  • They are responsible for maximizing the efficiency of equipment, tooling and personnel as the manage materials, transmit data and develop/manufacture a product or service
  • Maximize productivity and eliminate redundant or inefficient processes
  • Optimize organization within a business
  • Implement management systems that control internal processes and keep this operating efficiently
  • Build mathematical representations of production process to manage production
  • Determine production cost models based on beats per minute calculations
  • Optimize facilities, production and service locations to reduce inefficiencies
  • Build efficient work stations for all types of production and test processes
  • Coordinate material flow and production sequences
  • Evaluate designs for potential manufacturing inefficiencies

As you can see from the above job descriptions the industrial engineer’s job looks at the process as a whole and just like a nest of ants, identifies and removes obstacles to make all processes operate more efficiently.

Working in the Industrial Engineering field

So, how do you join this elite team of anti-efficiency gurus?

Well, the first step is to earn a degree in engineering and in this case the industrial engineering field would be most appropriate.  Most engineering schools will offer the industrial engineering degree as part of their school’s curriculums.  To gain admission to these programs you will need to have a strong background in math, science, physics and chemistry.  This basic coursework will prepare you for the classes you will need to take in order to earn this degree.  Additionally, it is very helpful while earning your degree to take part in a work study program or internship type work.  Industrial Engineers will benefit greatly by understanding manufacturing and design processes that they will need in order to succeed in their field of study.  Hands on work is the only way to gain this experience and will make it easier to get a full time engineering position in your field of choice after you complete your degree program.

If you find yourself always analyzing your actions and looking for the quickest way to get things done then you just might have the right mindset to becoming an industrial engineer.  This field will work with your strengths as you eliminate inefficient operations and perform tasks in the quickest manner possible.

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