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Industrial engineering is concerned with the planning of resources, such as human, financial, raw materials and production equipment, design, management and control of organizational resources. The organization undertakes the above actions in order to meet the requirements of the client. Industrial engineering harness technology in order to efficiently utilize company resources for optimal production.
The operational definition of the term industrial engineering requires one to envision it as a system involving the application of mathematical processes and technology so as to realize the full potential. Industries aim to achieve their targets of production through strategic management of their resources. Industrial engineers come in handy, in these industries as they continuously innovate, design, implement and install processes that aim to improve production.
Industrial engineers utilize technology in their bid to generate an efficient and productive system. Technology has been instrumental in reducing wastage, ensuring reliability and improvement of quality in production. This implies that the current systems of production are more productive and reliable when compared to the traditional systems. Modern industrial engineering techniques help organizations to meet the demands of production in a capitalist economy at prices which are competitive.
Sheth (2006) remarks that, the rise of capitalist economies called for competitive operations in production which rely on industrial engineering. A capitalist economy allows for free trade and private ownership of the means to production. The system, therefore, creates cut throat competition among producers of goods and services. Organizations came to realize the importance of industrial engineering and adopted it for better production.
From the above, it is apparent that every organization needs to adopt industrial engineering in its processes for competitive advantage. With reference to Sheth (2006), many developed economies know the importance of industrial engineering in meeting the requirements of the market. Industrial engineering is, however, utilized differently in various organizations to suit current needs. Some companies utilize it for quality control where precision is a requirement. Yet others only require it for efficient production of good or services with little or no research and development function.
Sheth (2006) grouped the functions of industrial engineering according to the needs of a different organization. The groupings are methods or process engineering, measurement of work, equipment planning and material handling, quality control, planning and control of production, human resources and operation research. Process engineering aims to achieve maximum output with minimum costs of production. This helps organizations to attain the highest profits possible while reducing input expenses. Work measurement assists in the estimation of human and time resources required to accomplish tasks in an organization. These functions are of utmost importance to productive organizations. The planning and quality control functions are equally valuable to different organizations.