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Industrial Engineer

What is an industrial engineer?

An industrial engineer is an engineering professional who is responsible for optimizing a company’s processes. This multidisciplinary professional combines human resources, materials, and management and financial systems to increase an organization’s productivity.

What does an industrial engineer do?

An industrial engineer is responsible for analyzing, evaluating, and executing business projects and production methods with continual improvements. They also aim to improve the quality of products and services, as they’re responsible for managing and optimizing equipment, materials, and processes with a focus on productivity. 

This professional puts a wide range of knowledge into practice, such as administration, statistics, supply chains, strategic planning, thermodynamics, ergonomics, calculation, developing ground plans and production systems, and more. This reflects the specialist’s multidisciplinary skills. 

What are the most common roles of an industrial engineer? 

An industrial engineer analyzes how to reduce costs in materials, resources, and management times in a comprehensive, continual way, and they develop strategies to simplify processes. They also evaluate methods of production, manufacturing, and information monitoring to measure and collect data that will serve to establish patterns and parameters to be implemented at a company in the future, thus achieving the quality standards set forth. The roles include but are not limited to:

  • Seeking to improve systems and work methods. 
  • Evaluating projects from a financial and investment perspective. 
  • Monitoring material resources. 
  • Developing industrial safety programs.
  • Designing and managing inventories. 
  • Organizing, monitoring, and even directing a company’s human capital.

What is the connection between industrial engineering and sustainable development?

Considering the integrative and interdisciplinary nature of an industrial engineer, they are commonly seen as a professional who finds sustainable solutions for the management systems and business production, applying principles of prevention and environmental solutions to each phase of development and execution for projects, in material, legal, and human regards.

An engineer has the perspective and comprehensive training to achieve sustainable development goals in the planning, design, manufacturing, management, administration, and quality control of a product or system. Industrial engineers’ participation in branches of sustainability focuses on:

  1. Energy efficiency: the industrial engineer knows and collects data regarding greenhouse gas emissions at the companies where they work, and they seek out and apply measures to reduce emissions and use renewable energies to achieve energy efficiency. 
  2. Water management: an industrial engineer participates in the processes of using and purifying water, supervising the network systems and the use of machinery to make them as sustainable as possible. 
  3. Mobility and transport systems: in this sector, the engineer focuses on smart, technological development of modes of transportation, as well as providing a strategic vision that includes planning for developing vehicles that reduce or limit carbon emissions. 
  4. Urban planning and building: they resolve today’s errors and plan future solutions in urban development with optimal energy management and emission reduction. The industrial engineer primarily participates in obtaining energy efficiency certificates to reduce consumption in buildings. 

Waste management: an industrial engineer is responsible for managing polluting waste that’s generated by industries, as well as ecological treatment for it: developing recycling systems, reuse, etc.

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