Industrial Engineering: The Business of Minimizing Costs

industrial engineering


The key goal of industrial engineering is to save businesses time, energy and money by using a toolbox full of principles and methodologies like Lean, Six Sigma, and Operational Excellence.

Industrial engineering optimizes the interaction between people, machines/assets, and their environment to reduce costs, eliminate waste, and minimize defects. It is now starting to become one of the fields in highest demand, and for good reasons.

The unique goal of industrial engineering: Minimize cost

In all other engineering disciplines, the focus is to generate revenue for companies by creating new products or services. For instance, mechanical engineers are prevalent in the auto manufacturing industry to help design cars, which are then sold for a profit.

In contrast, industrial engineering is the only field in engineering that focuses on the other side of the profit equation for companies: Cost.

This is done by eliminating waste through Lean principles, minimizing defects through Six Sigma implementations, and other related strategies.

Save money with these 3 key areas of industrial engineering

There are three primary areas studied in industrial engineering:

  1. Human factors.This focuses in areas such as ergonomics – the scientific approach to optimizing a human’s well-being in their work environment – and cognitive design – the harmony between how humans use products and services in their optimal design
  2. Process and layout design. This is the scientific approach to calculating the optimal steps to perform work with the lowest headcount possible and the highest amount of quality
  3. Operations research. Scientific techniques (including simulation and statistics) are used to arrive at the optimal solution. An example would be someone finding the optimal routing pattern for UPS drivers to ensure they are traveling the shortest distance and using the least amount of gas

The language of industrial engineering in the corporate world

Today, the corporate world is saturated with buzzwords that have trickled in from the field of industrial engineering. The everyday language of industrial engineers is now being spoken by more and more non-manufacturing businesses around the globe. These terms include:

  • Six Sigma
  • Lean
  • Operational Excellence
  • Total Preventative Maintenance (TPM)
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Business Process Management

The list of terms goes on, but the underlying science that links all of these buzzwords is industrial engineering.

The key to growing profits and your business is process excellence. For that, choose the right employees

What this all boils down to is this: If you’re in need of a way to take your organization’s money-saving strategies to the next level, it’s time to start looking to hire an industrial engineer.

Think about it this way: If you were a CFO, would you want an accounting department manager who went to school for history? If you ran a law firm, would you only employ those who majored in economics? It’s simple: Hire people with the right credentials, and watch your processes improve.

If you want a team that’s fit to help your business optimize costs and save valuable company dollars, you probably want a team of industrial engineers. It’s ideal for a reason – it works.

Looking to take your business to the next level by leveraging these tools from the world of industrial engineering? Leave us a comment below, or contact our team of cross-functional performance improvement specialists today to learn more.