Japanese businesses carefully studied industrial engineering (IE), a company wide manufacturing technology improvement discipline that is directly tied to management.
IE is not a partial technology improvement discipline but it is a total manufacturing technology improvement discipline reaching the whole organization. Toyota production system utilizes Toyota-style IE.
What is Toyota style Industrial Engineering?
Toyota style industrial engineering is mokeru or profit-making industrial engineerng (MIE). Unless IE results in cost reductions and profit increases, I (Taiichi Ohno) think it is meaning less.
A former head of the American Steel Workers' Union defined IE's function as that of entering a plant to improve methods and procedures and to reduce costs.
"IE is the use of techniques and systems to improve the method of manufacturing. In scope it ranges from work simplications to large-scale capital investment plans"
IE aims at improving work methods in the plant or in a particular work activity. An industrial engineer studies systematic approaches to improvements.
Definition of IE according to Society for Advancement of Management (Successor to Taylor Society)
Industrial engineering applies engineering knowledge and techniques for the study, improvement, planning and implementation of the following:
1. Method and system
2. Qualitative and quantitative planning and various standards including the various procedures in the organization of work.
3. Measuring actual results under the standards and taking suitable actions.
This is all done to exercise better management with special consideration for employee welfare, and it does not restrict business to lowering the cost of improved products and services.
Ohno said he included various definitions as each is good description. But he indicated that implementing IE effectively is not easy.
Ohno made a wish that IE as used in Toyota will be superior to the IE used in American Business.
"We have eliminated waste by examining available resources, rearranging machines, improving machining processes, installing autonomous systems, improving tools, analyzing transportation methods and optimizing the materials at hand for manufacturing. High production efficiency has also been maintained by preventing the recurrence of defective products, operational mistakes, and accidents, and by incorporating workers' ideas." Taiichi Ohno (P. 21)
Source: Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System: Beyond Large Scale Production, pp. 71-72.