What Industrial & systems engineers Do

Industrial and systems engineering is about choices. Other engineering disciplines apply skills to very specific areas. ISE gives practitioners the opportunity to work in a variety of businesses.

Many practitioners say that an industrial and systems engineering education offers the best of both worlds: an education in both engineering and business.

The most distinctive aspect of industrial and systems engineering is the flexibility it offers. Whether it's shortening a rollercoaster line, streamlining an operating room, distributing products worldwide, or manufacturing superior automobiles, these challenges share the common goal of saving companies money and increasing efficiencies.

As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive world market, the need for industrial engineers is growing. Why? Industrial and systems engineers are the only engineering professionals trained specifically to be productivity and quality improvement specialists.

Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better. They engineer processes and systems that improve quality and productivity. They work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, energy and other commodities. This is why many industrial engineers end up being promoted into management positions.

Many people are misled by the term industrial engineer. It's not just about manufacturing. It also encompasses service industries, with many ISEs employed in entertainment industries, shipping and logistics businesses and healthcare organizations.

Here is a list of quick facts about careers as an industrial engineer.

The benefits of industrial engineering are widespread as indicated in three different slide shows:

ISEs make processes better in the following ways:

  • More efficient and more profitable business practices
  • Better customer service and product quality
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased ability to do more with less
  • Making work safer, faster, easier and more rewarding
  • Helping companies produce more products quickly
  • Making the world safer through better designed products
  • Reducing costs associated with new technologies

Videos, Articles & Podcasts

  • See the role industrial engineering plays at Disney.
  • Look at how industrial engineering benefits a variety of industries.

  • IE ranks #3 in fastest-growing jobs for women

    In 2018: 56,600 women IEs - an increase of more than 82% over a 5-year period.

  • Watch a segment from " Today in America " that focuses on IISE and industrial engineering.
  • Doug Rabeneck, a former IISE president, shared insights about the profession for the College Funding Resource podcast interview series on the "Top 100 careers for the next decade." In addition to the CFR website, the 30-minute interview also is available on iTunes, Zune, Blackberry Podcasts and Stitcher Radio. 
  • Take a look at some videos about industrial engineering from the 2019 Industry Advisory Board's YouTube student video contest: