Pennsylvania State College, USA introduced the first industrial engineering major in 1907.
Principles of Industrial Engineering by Charles B. Going was published in 1911.
Industrial Engineering - Principles and Techniques
Background for Development of Industrial Engineering
Railroads had devised elaborate methods of internal communications and record keeping by mid 19th century. But the late-nineteenth-century factory remained a loosely organized cluster of operations. The distinguishing feature of factory management was the conspicuous role of the first-line supervisor. Foremen organized materials and labor, directed machine operations, recorded costs, hired and fired employees, and presided over a largely autonomous empire.
In the 1870s and 1880s, however, critics began to attack the “chaotic” condition of contemporary industry and to propose a more systematic, centralized approach to production management. Their critique became the basis for the best-known effort to encourage coordination within the firm during the first half of the twentieth century under production manager. The movement was known under various labels -systematic management, scientific management, efficiency engineering, and, by the 1920s, industrial engineering- it fostered greater sensitivity to the manager’s role in production and greater diversity in industrial practice, as managers selectively implemented ideas and techniques.
The attack on traditional factory management originated in two late-nineteenth-century developments. The first was the maturation of the engineering profession, based on formal education and mutually accepted standards of behavior and formally educated engineers embraced scientific experimentation and analysis in place of sporadic developments based on experience. The second development was the rise of systematic management, an effort among engineers and sympathizers to substitute system for the informal methods that had evolved with the factory system. Systematic management was a rebellion against tradition, empiricism, and the assumption that common sense, personal relationships, and craft knowledge were sufficient to run a factory. The factories replaced traditional managers with engineers and managerial systems replaced guesswork and ad hoc evaluations. By the late 1880s, cost accounting systems, methods for planning and scheduling production and organizing materials, and incentive wage plans were developed. Their objective was an unimpeded flow of materials and information. In human terms, systematic management sought to transfer power from the first-line supervisor to the plant manager and to force all employees to pay greater attention to the manager’s goals. It promoted decisions based on performance rather than on personal qualities and associations.
Contribution of F.W.Taylor
In the 1890s, Frederick Winslow Taylor, became the most vigorous and successful proponent of
systematic management. As a consultant, he introduced accounting systems that permitted managers to use operating records to guide their actions, production control systems that allowed managers to know more precisely what was happening on the shop floor, piece-rate systems that encouraged workers to follow orders and instructions, and various related measures. In 1895, he employed a colleague, Sanford E. Thompson, to help him determine the optimum time to perform industrial tasks; their goal was to compute, by rigorous study of the worker’s movements and the timing of those movements with stopwatches, standards for skilled occupations that could be published and sold to employers.
Between 1898 and 1901, as a consultant to the Bethlehem Iron Company, Taylor introduced all of his systems and vigorously pursued his research on the operations of metal-cutting tools. Taylor’s discovery of high-speed steel in 1900, which improved the performance of metal-cutting tools, assured his fame as an inventor. In his effort to introduce systematic methods in many areas of the company’s operations, Taylor developed an integrated view of managerial innovation and a broader conception of the shop/production manager’s role. In 1901, when he left Bethlehem, Taylor resolved to devote his time and ample fortune to promoting his new conception of industrial management. In the paper, Shop Management ( 1903), he portrayed an integrated complex of systematic management methods, supplemented by refinements and additions such as time study.
In the following years, he modified his presentations to make them more appealing. Two changes were notable. First, he began to rely more heavily on anecdotes from his career to emphasize the links between
improved management, greater productivity, and social melioration to audiences that had little interest in technical detail. Second, apart from the object lessons, Taylor spoke less about factory operations and more about the significance and general applicability of his ideas. Between 1907 and 1909, with the aid of a close associate, Morris L. Cooke, he wrote a sequel to Shop Management that became The Principles of
Scientific Management (1911). Taylor came out with four principles and relied on colorful stories from his experience and language to illuminate “principles” of management. To suggest the integrated character and broad applicability of scientific management, he equated it to a “complete mental revolution.”
Taylor had fashioned scientific management from systematic management. The two approaches were intimately related. Systematic and scientific management had common roots, attracted the same kinds of people, and had the same business objectives. Yet in retrospect the differences stand out. Systematic management was diffuse and utilitarian, a series of isolated measures that did not add up to a larger whole or have recognizable implications beyond day-to-day industrial operations. Scientific management added significant detail and a larger view.
Taylor’s reformulation of scientific management was the single most important step in the popularization of industrial engineering. The Principles extended the potential of scientific management to nonbusiness endeavors and made Taylor a central figure in the efficiency movement of the 1910s. To engineers and nonengineers alike, he created order from the diverse prescriptions of a generation of technical writers. By the mid-l910s, he had achieved wide recognition in American engineering circles and had attracted
a devoted following in France, Germany, Russia, and Japan. Pennsylvania State College introduced the first industrial engineering major in 1907 and promoted the thinking of Taylor.
Taylor's insistence that the proper introduction of management methods required the services of an expert intermediary linked the progress of industrial engineering to the activities of independent consultants and accelerated the rise of a new profession.
Initially, the spread of systematic management occurred largely through the work of independent consultants, a few of whom, such as the accountant J. Newton Gunn, achieved prominence by the end of the nineteenth century. By 1900, Taylor overshadowed the others; by 1910, he had devised a promotional strategy that relied on a close-knit corps of consultants to install his techniques, train the client’s employees, and instill a new outlook and spirit of cooperation. The expert was to ensure that the spirit and mechanism of
scientific management went hand in hand. This activity of Taylor produced a number of successful consulting firms and the largest single cluster of professional consultants devoted to industrial management.
Between 1901 and 19 15, Taylor’s immediate associates introduced scientific management in nearly two hundred American businesses, 80 percent of which were factories Some of the plants were large and
modern, like the Pullman and Remington Typewriter works; others were small and technologically primitive. Approximately one-third of the total were large- volume producers for mass markets. A majority fell into one of two broad categories. First were those whose activities required the movement of large quantities of materials between numerous workstations (textile mills, railroad repair shops, automobile plants). Their managers sought to reduce delays and bottlenecks and increase throughput.
The records availabe suggest that the consultants provided valuable services to many managers. They typically devoted most of their time to machine operations, tools and materials, production schedules, routing plans, and cost and other record systems. Apart from installing features of systematic management, their most notable activity was to introduce elaborate production-control mechanisms (bulletin boards and graphs, for example) that permitted managers to monitor operations
Between 1910 and 1920, industrial engineering spread rapidly. Large firms introduced staff departments devoted to production planning, time study, and other industrial-engineering activities and consulting firms also developed further. By 1915, the year of Taylor’s death, professional organization, the Taylor Society founded in 1910 was active. Western Efficiency Society was founded in 1912. The Society of Industrial Engineers was founded in 1917. These societies provided forums for the discussion of techniques and the development of personal contacts. Financial success and professional recognition increasingly depended
on entrepreneurial and communications skills rather than technical expertise alone. Several of Taylor’s closest associates, including Carl G. Barth and H. K. Hathaway, failed as consultants, while a new generation of practitioners, including many university professors developed successful consulting practices.
Contributions of Gilbreth, Emerson and Bedaux
Competition for clients and recognition-especially after the recession of 1920-21 made executives more cost-conscious-produced other changes. Some industrial engineering consultants began to seek clients outside manufacturing. Spurred by the growing corps of academicians who argued that the principles of factory management applied to all businesses, they reorganized offices, stores, banks, and
other service organizations. A Society of Industrial Engineers survey of leading consulting firms in 1925 reported that many confined their work to plant design, accounting systems, machinery, or marketing . A third trend was an increasing preoccupation with labor issues and time study. This emphasis reflected several postwar developments, most notably and ominously the increasing popularity of consultants who devoted their attention to cost cutting through the aggressive use of time study.
By the early 1920s, industrial engineers had divided into two separate and increasingly antagonistic camps.
One influential group of industrial engineers, centered in the Taylor Society, embraced personnel management and combined it with orthodox industrial engineering to form a revised and updated version of scientific management. A handful of Taylor Society activists, Richard Feiss of Joseph & Feiss, Henry S. Dennison of Dennison Manufacturing, Morris E. Leeds of Leeds & Northrup, and a few others, mostly owner-managers, implemented the new synthesis. They introduced personnel management and more controversial measures such as profit sharing, company unionism, and unemployment insurance that attacked customary distinctions between white- and blue-collar employees and enlisted the latter, however modestly, in the management of the firm.
A larger group emphasized the potential of incentive plans based on time and motion study and disregarded or deemphasized other features of orthodox scientific management. Their more limited approach reflected the competition for clients, the trend toward specialization, and the continuing attraction of rate cutting. Indicative of this tendency was the work of two of the most successful consultants of the post- 1915 years, Harrington Emerson and Charles E. Bedaux.
Emerson (1853-1931) was a creative personality. Attracted to Taylor at the turn of the century, he briefly worked as an orthodox practitioner and played an influential role in Taylor’s promotional work. He soon became a respected accounting theorist and a successful reorganizer of railroad repair facilities. As his reputation grew, however, he broke with Taylor and set up a competing business with a large staff of engineers and consultants. Between 1907 and 1925, he had over two hundred clients He also published best-selling books and promoted a mail-order personal efficiency course. He was probably the best-known industrial engineer of the late 1910s and early 1920s.’ Emerson’s entrepreneurial instincts defined his career. An able technician, he was capable of overseeing the changes associated with orthodox scientific management. He also recruited competent assistants, such as Frederick Parkhurst and C. E. Knoeppel, who later had distinguished consulting careers, and E. K. Wunnerlund, who became the head of industrial engineering at General Motors. But Emerson always viewed his work as a business and.tailored his services to this customer’s interests. In practice, this meant that his employees spent most of their time conducting time studies and installing incentive wage systems. By the mid- 1920s, General Motors, Westinghouse, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Aluminum Company of America, American Radiator, and many other large and medium-sized industrial firms had introduced the Emerson system and in many cases an industrial engineering department staffed by former Emerson employees.
Bedaux (1886-1944) was even more adaptable. A French immigrant who was a clerk at a St. Louis chemical company in 1910 when an expert arrived to conduct time studies, Bedaux quickly grasped the essentials of time study and replaced the outsider. During the “efficiency craze” that followed the pub-
lication of The Principles, he found other clients. The turning point in his ca-reer came in 1912, when he accompanied several Emerson engineers to France as an interpreter. In Paris he struck out on his own, reorganized several factor- ies, and studied the writings of Taylor and Emerson. Returning to the United
States during World War I, he launched the Bedaux Company and began to cultivate clients. He relied on personal con- tacts and a simple, compelling promise: he would save more money than he charged. Although Bedaux employed able engineers and usually made some effort to reorganize the plant, his specialty was the incentive wage. His men worked quickly, used time studies to identify bottlenecks and set production standards, installed a wage system similar to Emerson’s. Bedaux’s clients included General Electric, B. F. Goodrich, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Dow Chemical, Eastman Kodak, and more than two hundred other American firms by the mid- 1930s. His European offices were even more successful.
Whereas Taylor and his followers opposed wage cutting and “speed-up” efforts, Emerson was more flexible, and Bedaux made a career of forcing workers to do more for less. One notable result was a resurgence of strikes and union protests. By the 193Os, Bedaux had become infamous on both sides of
the Atlantic. In response to his notoriety, he revised his incentive plan to increase the worker’s share and dropped much of his colorful terminology, including the famous B unit. Bedaux’s business survived, though neither he nor his firm regained the position they had enjoyed in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Bedaux’s legacy was a substantial burden for other industrial engineers. The growth of labor unrest in the 1930s and the frequent appearance of the “Be-do” plan on grievance lists revived the association of industrial engineering with labor turmoil. Regardless of their association with Bedaux and his tactics, industrial engineers became the targets of union leaders and their allies. In industries such as autos and tires, worker protests paralyzed the operations of industrial engineering departments and led to the curtailment or abandonment of many activities.
Diffusion of Industrial Engineering
There are at least three partial measures of the diffusion of industrial engineering. First, the many references to cost ac- counting, centralized production planning and scheduling, systematic maintenance procedures, time study, and employment management in the trade press and in the records of industrial corporations indicate that these activities were no longer novel or unfamiliar to executives. The promotional work of the consultants, the “efficiency craze,” and the growth of management education in universities had made the rudiments of industrial engineering widely available; only the oldest or most isolated executives were unaware of them. The critical issue was no longer the desirability of the new management; it was the particular combination of techniques suitable for a given firm or plant, the role of the outside consultant, if any, and the authority of the staff experts.
Second, the information on industrial wage systems that the National Indus- trial Conference Board assiduously collected in the 1920s and 1930s documents widespread acceptance of incentive wage plans, particularly among large corporations. In 1928, for example, 6 percent of the smallest companies (1-50 employees) had incentive wage plans, while 56 percent of the largest firms (more than 3,500 employees) had such plans. In earlier years, small firms devoted to industrial reform had been among the most vigorous proponents of industrial engineering. But their ranks did not grow, and they were soon overshadowed by large corporations, which found in industrial engineering an effective answer to the problems that often prevented large, expensive factories from achieving their potential. Incentive wage plans were an indicator of this trend. Feiss, Dennison, and others hoped to trans- form the character of industrial work through the use of incentives and person- nel programs; judging from the information that survives, big business manag-
ers had more modest goals. Their principal objective was to make the best use of existing technology and organization by enlisting the workers’ interest in a higher wage. In the early 1930s, many managers were attracted to the “work simplification” movement that grew out of the Gilbreths’ activities, but the effects were apparently negligible, at least until the World War I1 mobilization effort. To most manufacturers, industrial engineering provided useful answers to a range of shop-floor problems; it was a valuable resource but neither a stimulus to radical change nor a step toward a larger goal.
A third source, contemporary surveys of the industrial engineering work of large corporations, provides additional support for this conclusion. A 1928 survey by the Special Conference Committee, an elite group of large industrial firms, emphasized related problem. It reported wide differences in the practice of
time study, in the duties of time-study technicians, and in the degree of commitment to time study as an instrument for refining and improving the worker’s activities. At Western Electric, which had one of the largest industrial engineering staffs, a manufacturing planning department was responsible for machinery and methods; the time-study expert was simply a rate setter. At Westinghouse, which also had a large industrial engineering department, time-study technicians were responsible for methods and rates. However, a
report from the company’s Mansfield, Ohio, plant indicated that the time-study engineer could propose changes in manufacturing methods “in cooperation with the foremen.” Most companies had similar policies. The time-study expert was expected to suggest beneficial changes to his superiors, often after consulting the foreman, but had no independent authority to introduce them. Essentially, the “expert” was a rate setter. In most plants, industrial engineering focused on detail, seldom threatened the supervisors or workers, and even more rarely produced radical changes in methods.
Experience at Du Pont
A recent, detailed examination of industrial engineering at E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company, a Special Conference Committee member, suggests the range of possibilities that could exist in a single firm (Rumm 1992, 175-204). Du Pont executives created an Efficiency Division in 191 1 after the company’s
general manager read The Principles. Rather than employ an outside consul- tant, they appointed two veteran managers to run the division. These men con- ducted time and motion studies, “determined standard times and methods for tasks, set standard speeds for machinery, and made suggestions for rearranging
the flow of work, improving tools, and installing labor-saving equipment.” Yet they encountered a variety of difficulties; their proposals were only advisory, they clashed with the new employment department when they proposed to study fatigue and the matching of workers and jobs, and they found that many executives were indifferent to their work. Worst of all, they could not show that their activities led to large savings. In 1914, after the introduction of functional supervision in the dynamite-mixing department apparently caused several seri- ous accidents, the company disbanded the Efficiency Division.
Although some Du Pont plants introduced time-study departments in the following years, the company did nothing until 1928, when it created a small Industrial Engineering Division within the larger Engineering Department. The IED was to undertake a “continuous struggle to reduce operating costs.” That battle was comparatively unimportant until the Depression underlined the importance of cost savings. In the 1930s, the IED grew rapidly, from twenty- eight engineers in 1930 to over two hundred in 1940. It examined “every aspect of production,” conducted job analyses, and introduced incentive wage plans. IED engineers began with surveys of existing operations. They then “consolidated processes, rearranged the layout of work areas, installed materials-handling equipment, and trimmed work crews.” To create “standard times” for particular jobs, they used conven-tional stopwatch time study as well as the elaborate photographic techniques
the Gilbreths had developed. By 1938, they had introduced incentive wage plans in thirty plants; one-quarter of all Du Pont employees were affected.
Du Pont introduced a variety of incentive plans. Three plants employed the Bedaux Company to install its incentive system. Other managers turned to less expensive consultants, and others, the majority, developed their own “in- house” versions of these plans. Some executives, and workers, became enthusi-
astic supporters of incentive wages; others were more criticai. Despite the work of the aggressive and ever-expanding IED, many workers found ways to take advantage of the incentive plans to increase their wages beyond the anticipated ranges. Wage inflation ultimately led the company to curtail the incentive plans. Time and motion study, however, remained hallmarks of Du Pont indus- trial engineering.
During the depression of the 1930s, when they developed a new sensitivity to the value of industrial engi-
neering, they defined it as a way to cut factory costs. One reason for this per- spective was bureaucratic: Du Pont had developed an extensive personnel op- eration in the 1910s and 1920s, which had authority over employee training, welfare programs, and labor negotiations. Equally important was the apparent
assumption that industrial engineering only pertained to the details of manu- facturing activities, especially the work of machine operators. Despite mount-ing pressures to reduce costs, the company’s offices, laboratories, and large white-collar labor force remained off-limits to the IED. Despite these handi-
caps, the IED had a significant impact because rapid technological change in the industry created numerous opportunities for organizational change and Du Pont avoided relations with powerful unions.
Du Pont executives were re- ceptive to the “principles” of industrial engineering but focused on the particu-
lars, which they assessed in terms of their potential for improving short-term economic performance. As a result there was little consistency in their activi- ties until the 1940s; even then, industrial engineering was restricted to the com-pany’s manufacturing operations. This approach, fragmentary and idiosyn- cratic by the standards of Taylor or Dennison, was logical and appropriate to executives whose primary objective was to fine-tune a largely successful organization.
During the first third of the twentieth century, industrial engineers successfully argued that internal management was as important to the health of the enterprise as technology, marketing, and other traditional concerns. Their message had its greatest impact in the 1910s and 1920s, when their “principles”
won wide acceptance and time study and other techniques became common- place. Managers whose operations depended on carefully planned and coordi- nated activities and reformers attracted to the prospect of social harmony were particularly receptive. By the 1930s, the engineers’ central premise, that inter-nal coordination required self-conscious effort and formal managerial systems, had become the acknowledged basis of industrial management.
Allan Mogensen's Common Sense Applied to Motion and Time Study (1932)
Ralph Barnes's Industrial Engineering and Management: Problems and Policies (1931).
Steward M. Lowry, Harold B. Maynard, and G. J. Stegmerten's widely used Time and Motion Study and Formulas for Wage Incentives.
The 1927 edition treated motion study only briefly and insubstantially, while devoting many chapters to stopwatch methods and rate setting formulas. In 1932, the authors approached Lillian Gilbreth and her research group for more detailed information on their methods. By 1940 Lowry, Maynard, and Stegmerten had reduced their treatment of wage incentive formulas from nine chapters to three, and increased the number of chapters devoted to motion study to seven.