What Do Industrial Engineers Do?

What Do Industrial Engineers Do?

Industrial engineers apply their technical training to make things work better, faster, and smarter. They create and leverage powerful software and technologies to analyze and improve the way organizations design, build, and distribute their goods and services.

Why Do People Become Industrial Engineers?

You’re a planner. You’re organized, and you prize efficiency. You’re comfortable digging into details, but you can just as easily pull back to see the “big picture” and understand how all of the elements fit together.

Characteristics of industrial engineers include:

  • Organized
  • Efficient
  • Planner
  • Creative
  • Analytical
  • Holistic, or systems, thinker
  • Problem solver
  • Articulate
  • Clear and concise communicator
  • Have a continuous-improvement mindset
A Good Fit for Business-Minded People

Industrial engineering is also a good fit for business-minded individuals. Their roles often require them to understand and integrate business strategies, goals, and constraints into their efforts to optimize and improve various processes.

Because they work across different departments and functions within an organization, they develop a broad understanding of how various operations connect and influence one another.

That unique perspective puts them in a strong position to provide valuable insights and recommendations that support strategic decision-making, operational excellence, and overall business success.

As one business leader put it: “When we hire Oregon State industrial engineering graduates, we’re hiring future business leaders. They have the knowledge and the confidence to make far-reaching decisions that they will have to carry out.”

If this describes you, then industrial engineering may be just the degree you’re looking for.

Explore the Course List for Industrial Engineering

What Are Some Examples of Industrial Engineering?

In a manufacturing plant, industrial engineers can determine the most efficient placement of robots and other machines. They configure the most efficient production schedules and how to cut back on the demand energy and materials.

Industrial engineers establish shipping and distribution networks that get finished products from the factory floor to end users on-time. And they have to accomplish all of it without compromising product quality or employee safety. In today’s highly competitive global market, every advantage counts.

The Technology Behind the Technology

Industrial engineering is sometimes called the technology behind the technology, because in order for the “must have” products that consumers want, there have to be systems in place to build, transport, and deliver them. Those systems are often imagined and created by industrial engineers, who must integrate information, materials, people, and equipment in just the right balance for a company to be innovative, efficient, and profitable.

What Jobs Do Industrial Engineers Do?

Don’t let the term “industrial” throw you off, because manufacturing is just one of the many domains in which industrial engineers are needed. They have become widely recognized and appreciated for the value they can bring to nearly every industry, including transportation, healthcare, financial services, retail, hospitality, information technology, agriculture, and distribution. In fact, every organization can benefit from industrial engineers streamlining its operations, whether it sells goods, services, or ideas.

Is Industrial Engineering In Demand?

Currently, a growing number of organizations are promoting industrial engineers into management positions.

The nationwide demand for industrial engineering graduates continues to rise, and salaries are highly competitive. Career options are expanding as well for this versatile and exciting field.

Explore the Industrial Engineering Degree

Not quite sure yet? Check out some of the other engineering degrees offered at Oregon State University and get a sense of what’s possible.