What Is Industrial Engineering?
Industrial Engineering is a field that focuses on manufacturing and industrial processes. Most often industrial engineers seek to streamline existing manufacturing and industrial setups, but some industrial engineers create and test new manufacturing and industrial machines and systems. Schools offering Industrial Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field of Industrial Engineering seeks to find the peek efficiency in systems, primarily production lines and manufacturing processes. Industrial Engineering may also be defined as involving the efficient flow of any raw materials and energies through the production systems and using information systems to improve manufacturing and modeling.
Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing
The 200,000 industrial engineers in the United States look to help their employers streamline and improve the processes they use to create their products. In the manufacturing sector, industrial engineers look to identify and eliminate the bugs in the manufacturing process. These bugs can be flaws in components or in final products or the over- or under-use of certain pieces of equipment. An industrial engineer may focus on coordinating personnel, materials and energy resources to reduce waste and improve efficiency. By tweaking one aspect of a production process, he or she can improve the manufacture of an entire product. Monetary and time investments are most often the focus of efficiency studies. Still other industrial engineers focus on plant design. Location of production facilities and transportation routes can have a profound effect on the effectiveness of industry. Incorporating technology, such as automated controls and information systems, into industry improves industrial processes. Believe it or not, the largest portion of industrial engineers doesn't work in the manufacturing of consumer goods. The manufacturing of transportation equipment employs 18% of industrial engineers and the next largest industry, machinery manufacturing, employs eight percent
Salaries in the field of Industrial Engineering
This highly paid field often has no requirement for training beyond the bachelor's level. In 2007, students with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering could expect to find an entry-level position with an average starting salary of $55,067, according to BLS data. The median annual wage for industrial engineers in 2006 was $68,620. Most industrial engineers either start or move up to management positions, because the concepts and processes that industrial engineers implement are closely related to management's responsibilities. For industrial engineers with training in other fields of engineering, other job opportunities may be available.
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