Finding solutions with imperfect information

The new ISE must solve problems in a world of big data, little data and poor data 

By D. Scott Sink

In the summer of 1990, Sloan Management Review published a seminal article by Thomas Davenport and James Short titled “The New Industrial Engineering: Information Technology and Business Process Redesign.” To paraphrase from their introduction, those who endeavor to improve the way work is done need to apply the capabilities of information technology as integrated with business process and workflow. Business process design and re-engineering are natural partners, and yet industrial and systems engineers never have fully exploited their relationship. Davenport’s assertion may well be as valid today as it was in 1990, which is surprising. However, slowly but surely, industrial and systems engineering (ISE) is moving in this direction – albeit quite slowly. 

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