Friday, December 8, 2017

Evolution of Industrial Engineering - 1908 to 2017 - Shop Management to Productivity Science, Engineering and Management

The motivation to write this article is provided by the paper, Sahney VK, Evolution of hospital industrial engineering: from scientific management to total quality management.
J Soc Health Syst. 1993;4(1):3-17.

Shop management paper/book has the objective low cost product and high income employees. The focus of the book is achieving low cost of production and high income provision to employees (from the existing position at that time) in engineering production shops. Industrial engineering became the subject that was developed to educate and train engineers in a specialized subject dealing with productivity and cost reduction. Very quickly it became a full fledged four year degree based curriculum as productivity and cost reduction are important dimensions of engineering organizations.

In the course of evolution, emphasis on redesign of the products and processes using engineering knowledge to provide cost reduction and productivity became less. This led to industrial engineering being labelled as imaginary engineering (a branch wherein engineering is nonexistent). The erosion of engineering focus also resulted in IE's narrow reach. Industrial engineering is applicable in all engineering branches that have engineering products or services and processes producing those products and services. Therefore, industrial engineering needs to be used in civil engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering, biomedical engineering and biotechnology. Engineering is an essential knowledge discipline in the world and industrial engineering has to focus on all engineering branches and improve productivity.

Prof. Narayana Rao, brought out this shortcoming clearly in a paper and also proposed principles of industrial engineering.  Principles of industrial engineering were derived from Principles of Scientific Management of Taylor. The principles of reflect the current concerns and areas of focus of the discipline. 

Industrial Engineering Scholars (Academic, Researching and Practicing Industrial Engineers)

F.W. Taylor
Frank Gilbreth
Lilian Gilbreth
Harrington Emerson
Henri Gantt
Alan Mogensen
R.L. Barnes
Marvin Mundel
H.B. Maynard
Shigeo Shingo
David Sumanth
D. Scott Sink
Gavriel Salvendy
Narayana Rao, K.V.S.S.

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