Industrial Engineer Career Information
What an Industrial Engineer does
Industrial engineers determine the most effective ways for an organisation to use the basic factors of production-people, machines and materials to make a product or provide a service.
You will design better methods and facilities for manufacturing and services. You will study the various industrial processes involved, use mathematical models and computer simulation to devise new manufacturing systems that are more efficient. You will calculate how much work each machine or worker should deliver and if necessary initiate the use of automation and robots. You will aid in financial planning and cost analysis, design production systems as well as quality control procedures. You will also have to work out the best possible system for handling and storage of raw material, setting inventory size, as well as packaging and the physical distribution of goods and services. In addition to these responsibilities you are also concerned with worker safety and work environment.
When new projects come up, you will be involved in it from start to finish. Industrial engineers determine the suitability of locations for factories depending on the best combination of raw materials availability, transportation, and costs. In actual plant design, you will figure out which computer systems, machines and automated equipment will be used in the design and manufacturing process. You will determine the most effective layout for computers, equipment and offices such that it is flexible and easily maintainable. You will also develop wage and salary administration systems and job evaluation programmes.
Industrial engineers must also understand ergonomics (which seeks to adapt working conditions to suit the worker) and consider how the machines and work environment affect the worker. You will design workstations to reduce fatigue and prevent discomfort and work related injuries. You will ensure that the placement of equipment, computers and keyboards is perfect right down to the height of desks and tables.
Much of an Industrial Engineer's output is used by management for making decisions. Your recommendations may affect the size of a firm's profits, its labor relations, as well as its production costs. In many ways you are the bridge between management goals and operational performance.
One of the major challenges an Industrial Engineers faces is automating a production process. You will have to first determine what aspect of production needs to be automated and if it makes financial sense. You will also decide which machines fit the requirements.
You will be spending a lot of time in your office poring over papers and meeting heads of various departments. Your visit to the production plant would usually be restricted to supervising installation of new equipment and ensuring that the production flows smoothly.
Almost any organisation in the industrial sector requires the services of industrial engineers. A majority of industrial engineers work in manufacturing industries. Other employment avenues exist in the construction and pharmaceutical sectors.
Engineering consultancy organizations like Larsen and Toubro and Tata Engineering services also employ Industrial engineers.
You will begin your career as an assistant engineer. As you gain experience, you will advance to associate and senior level positions. From here you can branch out into senior managerial levels like project management or production supervision.
The increasing complexity of industrial operations and the expansion of automated processes in factories and offices is contributing to the demand for industrial engineers. In today's troubled times, companies are trying to cut costs and improve efficiency. Most of them choose to outsource experienced industrial engineers. Starting your own consultancy firm after several years experience has therefore become a very lucrative option.
Abilities & Traits Required
• Strong technical and numerical abilities
• Good communication skills
• Team work and leadership qualities
• Analytical ability
• Organizing ability
• Spatial reasoning
• Excellent logical reasoning skills
• Ability to grasp concepts quickly
Apart from the general qualities that every engineer should possess, industrial engineers should also enjoy working with people. It is essential that industrial engineers not only show proper technical understanding, but that they should also have insight into human relations, accounting and management techniques. They should also be able to adapt effortlessly to changing work situations and circumstances
In order to qualify as an industrial engineer you need to have a BE Industrial Engineering or BTech Industrial Engineering or ME Industrial Engineering, MTech Industrial Engineering. After the Class 10 exams you can do a three-year diploma course. After this course you have two options. Join an engineering firm straightaway or enroll for a three-year degree programme.
Instead of doing a diploma, you could study science all the way up to Class 12 (with Physics, Chemistry, Maths) and then enroll for a four-year degree course in industrial engineering.
If you wish to study further after graduation you could choose between a Masters in Industrial Engineering, like an ME (Master of Engineering), MTech (Master of Technology), which are for one and a half to two years, or an MS (Master of Science-if pursued in the US), which lasts for two years. You can also do a PhD if you want to enter the field of teaching of advanced research.
The course in industrial engineering will teach you concepts involving industrial automation, systems engineering, process engineering as well as management concepts. A Masters degree in business administration (MBA) is particularly helpful for those planning to branch out into industrial management later on.
Any Engineering graduate can do a Master's in Industrial Engineering.
As a trainee engineer with a Bachelor's degree you can expect to earn a salary of about Rs 40000-45000 per month.
However your earnings will be much lower if you are just a diploma holder. Senior engineers earn more than Rs 60000 - 80000 per month.