Introduction To Industrial

science and the shift from empirical toward more quantitative analytical methods was not, of course, peculiar to industrial engineering; however, it was likely that these changes were more drastic in the field of industrial engineering. This was because when industrial engineering emerged from the World War Il period, it was probably the least quantitative oriented in the engineering field.

"Industrial engineering is concerned with the design, improvement installation of integrated systems of people, materials, eyuipment and energy. Itdraws upon specialized knowledge and social sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to .specify, predict and eualuatc the results to be obtained from such systems. " - American Institute of Industrial Engineers To be more specific, the function of an industrial engineer is to integrate people, machines, materials and information to facilitate an effective operation and to maximize productivity . Therefore, system management becomes one of the key functions of an industrial engineer .

So what is the difference between industrial engineering and other engineering disciplines'' Industrial engineering is the interfacing of people with machines . The design of a total system must include the behavioral characteristics, stress-strain relationships, load carrying energy characteristics, and motivational responses of the people who are vital links in a system . in addition to the physical elements of the machines . Therefore, the uniqueness of industrial engineering is the explicit reference to people and social sciences in addition to natural sciences . Not only design, installation, evaluation and redesign of machine systems are the major concerns of industrial engineering, but also the human factors in the system .

It is also apparent that the scope of industrial engineering has been changing . The traditional concern was the small systems but the current one is macrosystems . Technological development, together with the previous successful work of industrial engineers, have reduced the need for direct labor. The emphasis has shifted away from the former concentration on the design and measurement of individual %vorkplace activities . Most significantly , the methods for making rational designs and analysis of larger systems are available now . The whole new area of operations research or operations analysis emerged. It is based on many new mathematical techniques and provides systematic 'ways of handling the complex operations found in modern industrie= . governments or service organizations . For a long time . industrial engineering did not have any dominant science upon which industrial engineering could rest . After the emergence of'a science of operations and the ability- to use thi_= science for analyzing and synthesizing any- type of operation system, the industrial engineering is able to expand its horizons and the opportunities for its practitioners to the point that they have become almost limitless .

As a part of the system management, industrial engineering also emphasizes the fundamental notion of cost reduction and more efficient use of resources, whether they are of human, materials. physical or financial aspects.

The History and Development of Industrial Engineering

Prior to the mid-1950s, industrial engineers were primarily concerned with human interactions in the design of manufacturing plants, construction facilities, methods of cost and quality control, production control, materials processing and handling ; and related manufacturing operations to produce goods or to provide services . Historically, the design of certain subsystems such as individual work centers and production centers was also a significant part of an industrial engineer's task . The design procedure then in use was very qualitative in nature and heavily relied on empirical evidence of what would work to accomplish a given result . In the decade of the 1950s, there was a complete reorientation of industrial engineering. As new mathematical and statistical techniques and equipment became available, the emphasis shifted to more quantitative methods of problem solving which required greater reliance, emphasis and research effort . The high-speed and stored-program digital computer became an indispensable tool for the industrial engineers . The increased emphasis on the basic

Since modern industrial engineering is based on a science of operations . industrial engineers have a natural outlet for their talents in operations which involve systems of people, machines and processes. For example, in banking business, many areas of manual operations are now being replaced by machines such as computers and microprocessors . These replacements improve the information flow and accuracy which are crucial to the banking business . This perhaps explains why the field of banking has been receiving the attention of industrial engineers during the last few years. In fact, industrial engineering is applicable to many industries provided that productivity is the primary concern . Currently-. active industrial engineering programs are found in utilities, airlines, freight transportation companies, bank . agricultural areas, hotels, etc. Since education is not productivity oriented, industrial engineering activities have not been prominent in this area .

Researched & Compiled by

Mr . Vincent Cheung, University of Hong Kong Mr . Daniel M. Cheng, Immediate Past President

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