The Industrial Engineers are responsible for conducting studies and developing and supervising programs in order to evaluate and obtain the best use of equipment, human resources, technologies, materials and procedures that optimize efficiency and productivity. They work in consulting firms, manufacturing and processing companies, and in all types of industries, from banks to transport, from healthcare to government.

Industrial Engineering is a field based on commerce, which influences every type of different area and subject, in their processes, systems and operations, creating ever more efficient ways of using human resources, machinery, materials, information and energy to achieve a product or provide a service.

The Industrial Engineers are so versatile that they can engage in activities useful to various types of companies, government entities and non-profit organizations. For example, they can manage production and distribution chains to help the company reduce inventory costs; carry out quality control activities to keep customers satisfied; work in the growing field of project management, as industries around the world try to control costs and maximize production.

 Industrial Engineer

Here is a partial, non-exhaustive list of some of the most common tasks of an Industrial Engineer …

  • Implement strategic technical solutions to make a product, service or process faster, safer, easier and cheaper:
  • Conduct research and implement programs to determine optimal inventory levels for production and allow optimal use of machinery, materials and resources;
  • Evaluate the reliability and performance of plants and production or administrative systems;
  • Establish programs and look for ways to increase occupational safety and health, or identify and correct fires and other hazards;
  • Evaluate industrial plants and study new machinery to recommend or select efficient combinations;
  • Design, develop and conduct studies on time and work simplification programs;
  • Plan, design, evaluate and optimize writing concepts and specifications;
  • Develop flexible or integrated production systems and procedures;
  • Analyze production costs;
  • To determine the human resources requirements to develop training programs and to strengthen production, as well as to create execution standards, assessment systems and salary and incentive programs;
  • Get quotes, find suppliers and manage the implementation of new projects.

Improve profitability, customer service and the quality of products and services while reducing costs …

  • Use mathematical methods and models to design information and production systems to meet customer needs efficiently.

Supervise technicians, technologists, analysts, administrative staff and other engineers …

  • Train assemblers, quality control assistants and technicians, when necessary, regarding procedures, equipment and documentation.

Continue Reading: 5 tips for job search as an industrial engineer

Daily activities

  • Evaluate how to manufacture products or provide services in the most efficient way.
  • Study and review production schedules, engineering specifications, workflows and other information to understand production and other methods and activities.
  • Create management control systems to make financial plans and cost analysis more efficiently.
  • Perform quality control procedures to solve production problems or minimize costs.
  • Working alongside the customer and the management team to develop design and production standards.
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production plans in order to ensure that the product or service complies with quality standards.
  • Collaborate with customers for product specifications; with suppliers for purchases; with the management team for production capabilities; with the staff for updates on the status of the project.
  • Extraordinary creativity in creating new production processes in order to reduce the use of materials, resources, time and work while maintaining the standards and achieving the objectives.

Analysis skills, problem solving and critical thinking …

  • Be able to understand and identify problems of an organization, through logic and critical thinking, to provide the right solutions, identify the weak and strong points of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems;
  • Be precise and accurate in their calculations and analyzes.

Excellent interpersonal and communicative skills …

  • Communicate clearly both in oral and written form, so as to provide clear instructions to their collaborators;
  • Be excellent listeners, so as to fully grasp ideas and problems when you meet the customer for the first time;
  • Know how to read and write technical reports;
  • Know how to work alongside other professionals and be the link between the technical and commercial side of a company.

Mathematical skills …

  • Apply calculation principles and other advanced mathematics topics for analysis, design and problem solving;
  • Apply basic engineering concepts and other procedures to new processes.

Organizational skills, time management and great attention to detail …

  • Know how to work both independently and as part of a team, in a hectic environment;
  • Be able to manage more than one project at a time;
  • Know how to establish priorities and responsibilities in an appropriate way.
  • Be result oriented and driven to achieve continuous improvements.

A degree in Industrial Engineering is required to work as an Industrial Engineer. However, it is not unusual for practicing Industrial Engineers to have degrees in related fields such as Mechanical Engineering or Technological Engineering for example. Applicants with relevant masters or doctoral degrees have an advantage over others in their job search. The experience required by employers can vary depending on the tasks and needs of the company.

The Industrial Engineers must also develop a deep knowledge of other topics such as money, people, mathematical principles, psychology, physical sciences, social sciences, equipment and resources, in order to provide commercial and management solutions in a quantifiable way.

All candidates Industrial Engineers must be competent in MS Office and design software such as CAD, especially AutoCAD.

There is a Professional Order of Engineers for each province that brings together all the practicing engineers. To be authorized to sign projects, appraisals, and to work on their own the Engineers must be enrolled in the Professional Register.

Based on the tasks they perform, Industrial Engineers can work in the office or in the departments they are employed in, to improve them. For example, when observing problems, they may have to follow assemblers in a factory, or hospital staff perform their duties. On the other hand, to solve problems, Industrial Engineers can work in the office, examining the data that they or others have collected. They can also be asked to travel, in order to observe the processes and carry out evaluations in various work environments.