Areas of Speciality
Whilst the term ‘industrial’ might make you think only of large factories or manufacturing firms, there are a variety of different areas of expertise for industrial engineers and as a result, job opportunities feature across a broad spectrum of industries. Here are some of the key areas of speciality an industrial engineer might be involved in.
This is likely to involve developing prototypes for a product or parts that improve quality, efficiency or safety. In a large factory, for example, an industrial engineer may be involved in redesigning a machine part to decrease the chance of repetitive strain injury for those using the machine. Alternatively, they may specialise in developing the latest mobile phone model – using their knowledge of science to design a model that is small enough to carry out all the desired functions but without setting on fire.
As part of optimising the performance of a business and controlling costs, an industrial engineer may make recommendations on how to manage a variety of control systems on a day-to-day basis or for a specific project. This could range from financial management to people management. Examples may include recommendations on how to manage a team for optimum productivity and opportunities for training so that time and effort is not wasted due to a lack of knowledge.
Health and Safety Systems
Workplaces have a huge responsibility when it comes to health and safety checks and it is the role of an industrial engineer to make recommendations that ensure processes and equipment meet health and safety laws and regulations. From fire safety to industrial safety to mental health, the expertise of an industrial engineer in this sector is in high demand.
For industrial engineers involved in optimising a supply chain, minimising costs and waste will likely see them involved in the effective management of relationships with suppliers. This may require them to travel to meet suppliers to improve their understanding of each element of the process and ensure thorough, knowledgeable analysis. More recently, a focus of industrial engineers within the supply chain has involved in searching for ways protect the planet by reducing waste and minimising the environmental impact.
Whether it is ensuring a product meets health and safety standards, or a service is delivered to a high standard, an industrial engineer will be involved in conducting quality assurance checks, in a bid to find opportunities to raise standards wherever possible.