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Introduction To Industrial Engineering

"Industrial engineering is concerned with the design, science and the shift from empirical toward more quantita-
improvement installation of integrated systems of people, tive analytical methods was not, of course, peculiar to
materials, eyuipment and energy. Itdraws upon specialized industrial engineering; however, it was likely that these
knowledge and social sciences together with the principles changes were more drastic in the field of industrial engi-
and methods of engineering analysis and design to .specify, neering. This was because when industrial engineering
predict and eualuatc the results to be obtained from such emerged from the World War Il period, it was probably the
systems. " least quantitative oriented in the engineering field.
- American Institute of Industrial Engineers It is also apparent that the scope of industrial engineer-
ing has been changing . The traditional concern was the
To be more specific, the function of an industrial engineer
small systems but the current one is macrosystems . Tech-
is to integrate people, machines, materials and information nological development, together with the previous success-
to facilitate an effective operation and to maximize produc- ful work of industrial engineers, have reduced the need for
tivity . Therefore, system management becomes one of the direct labor. The emphasis has shifted away from the
key functions of an industrial engineer .
former concentration on the design and measurement of
So what is the difference between industrial engineering individual %vorkplace activities . Most significantly , the
and other engineering disciplines'' Industrial engineering methods for making rational designs and analysis of larger
is the interfacing of people with machines . The design of a systems are available now . The whole new area of operations
total system must include the behavioral characteristics, research or operations analysis emerged. It is based on
stress-strain relationships, load carrying energy character- many new mathematical techniques and provides system-
istics, and motivational responses of the people who are atic 'ways of handling the complex operations found in
vital links in a system . in addition to the physical elements modern industrie= . governments or service organizations .
of the machines . For a long time . industrial engineering did not have any
Therefore, the uniqueness of industrial engineering is dominant science upon which industrial engineering could
the explicit reference to people and social sciences in addi- rest . After the emergence of'a science of operations and the
tion to natural sciences . Not only design, installation, evalu- ability- to use thi_= science for analyzing and synthesizing
ation and redesign of machine systems are the major con- any- type of operation system, the industrial engineering is
cerns of industrial engineering, but also the human factors able to expand its horizons and the opportunities for its
in the system . practitioners to the point that they have become almost
As a part of the system management, industrial engi- limitless .
neering also emphasizes the fundamental notion of cost Since modern industrial engineering is based on a sci-
reduction and more efficient use of resources, whether they ence of operations . industrial engineers have a natural
are of human, materials. physical or financial aspects. outlet for their talents in operations which involve systems
of people, machines and processes. For example, in banking
The History and Development of business, many areas of manual operations are now being
replaced by machines such as computers and microproces-
Industrial Engineering
sors . These replacements improve the information flow and
Prior to the mid-1950s, industrial engineers were pri- accuracy which are crucial to the banking business . This
marily concerned with human interactions in the design of perhaps explains why the field of banking has been receiv-
manufacturing plants, construction facilities, methods of ing the attention of industrial engineers during the last few
cost and quality control, production control, materials proc- years.
essing and handling ; and related manufacturing operations
to produce goods or to provide services . Historically, the In fact, industrial engineering is applicable to many
design of certain subsystems such as individual work cen- industries provided that productivity is the primary con-
ters and production centers was also a significant part of an cern . Currently-. active industrial engineering programs
industrial engineer's task . The design procedure then in are found in utilities, airlines, freight transportation com-
panies, bank . agricultural areas, hotels, etc. Since educa-
use was very qualitative in nature and heavily relied on
tion is not productivity oriented, industrial engineering
empirical evidence of what would work to accomplish a
activities have not been prominent in this area .
given result .
In the decade of the 1950s, there was a complete re-
orientation of industrial engineering. As new mathemati-
cal and statistical techniques and equipment became avail-
able, the emphasis shifted to more quantitative methods of
problem solving which required greater reliance, emphasis Researched & Compiled by Mr . Vincent Cheung,
and research effort . The high-speed and stored-program University of Hong Kong
digital computer became an indispensable tool for the in- Mr . Daniel M. Cheng,
dustrial engineers . The increased emphasis on the basic Immediate Past President