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What is Industrial Engineering (IE)?

           © Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), 2019

Industrial Engineering (IE) considers an array of issues all dealing with efficiency and quality of systems.  IEs can be found in just about every sector of industry, since their purpose is to help companies and government agencies operate effectively and competitively.

IEs serve as engineering specialists who evaluate how to make systems more cost-effective, enhance their reliability, and improve their safety.  A human factors specialist often works at the interface of technology and humans.  These experts utilize their knowledge of human behavioral and cognitive processes to design complex systems that are more suitable for people to use.  The field of human factors is especially prevalent in designing interfaces with transportation systems and tools, training workers using multi-modal displays, and developing software applications for use in medical applications. 

Other IEs may be asked to evaluate the layout of a warehousing facility, such as warehouse that distributes merchandise for an Internet retailer. An important question they would ask is, “What is the most efficient way to arrange the distribution facility?”  Operations research (OR) helps determine a layout to ensure that customers’ orders are picked and shipped quickly, while simultaneously monitoring inventories so that popular items are replenished as demands dictate.  An OR researcher might also optimize travel in determining schedules for sports leagues, minimize indirect exposure to radiation in planning radiotherapy treatments, or maximize throughput in vehicle assembly production lines by arranging machines and workers in an efficient manner.

Industrial Engineering: Always in Demand

Banks, hospitals, manufacturing and warehousing industries, and government agencies all depend on industrial engineering skills to operate effectively and remain competitive in their marketplace.  Through hands-on research projects, internships, and cooperative education experiences, students in Clemson’s Department of Industrial Engineering receive an exceptional education designed to help them innovate solutions to cutting-edge engineering challenges.

Only Michigan has a higher concentration of Industrial Engineers than South Carolina, and our graduates are sought after in all parts of the United States.