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Industrial Engineer: Designer of Optimal Processes

An industrial engineer is an expert in process optimization at manufacturing companies. It is a role that calls for management skills as well as engineering abilities. Because industrial engineers always have an eye on technological progress, their job offers outstanding prospects for the future.


What Industrial Engineering Is

Definition and Aims

Industrial engineering creates the foundation for seamless tasks within businesses, from the planning of a product to the planning of the production and processes as well as the optimization of series production.

Industrial engineering includes the analysis and improvement of processes for the purpose of increasing efficiency and quality in production. Experts in this field have the task of sustainable productivity management, i.e., the best coordination possible in the utilization of workers, material, and machinery. They provide the data necessary for this.

Preparing and designing are important tasks in industrial engineering, which is why industrial engineers are considered process optimizers and work preparers.

Industrial Engineers Work in These Companies and Departments

  • Manufacturing companies in particular offer jobs for industrial engineers. Due to rising costs and the increasing complexity of products and projects, industrial engineering plays an important role for all manufacturers.
  • Typical industries include, for example, electrical technology, food, automotive, mechanical and plant engineering, and pharmaceutical.
  • Industrial engineers are involved in the entire product development process at these companies and work together closely with various departments. As experts in process optimization, they are called on in the concept phase just as much as they are during the development of new processes or the improvement of existing ones.

Career Opportunities for Industrial Engineers

In their role as process planners and improvers, industrial engineers are strongly involved in the planning of production. This gives them a deep understanding of processes and means they know exactly where there is potential for improvement.

They can establish further optimization programs based on their experience. With this background, industrial engineers find career opportunities at all industrial companies where optimization is needed.

For example, industrial engineers can find exciting and new challenges as:

  • Employees or managers in the field of manufacturing engineering
  • Production or department managers
  • Plant managers at manufacturing companies

What Are the Typical Duties of an Industrial Engineer?

The duties in industrial engineering vary according to the industry. Generally, the aim is to design comprehensive corporate systems and, in the field of work planning, to ensure that the work system is defined by the task and all the necessary information.

For example, an engineer for process design ensures that:

  • Logistics systems run smoothly
  • Manufacturing processes are rationalized
  • Material and tool usage is planned optimally

Interdisciplinary CIP workshops have a big role in the everyday work done by industrial engineering experts. CIP stands for continuous improvement process. Such workshops design and optimize work processes that contribute to productivity targets and take into account the broader conditions such as the production environment or working conditions. The outcome is a defined, standard production process.

Other Key Duties in an Industrial Engineer Position Include:

  • Ergonomic production workstation design
  • Improvement of work processes with takt planning and line balancing
  • Maintenance of industrial engineering process specifications
  • Development and maintenance of work plans
  • Optimization of tasks such as movements and material provision
  • Documentation of standard production process in the process plan
  • Analysis and optimization of series processes

What Knowledge Does an Industrial Engineer Need for a Consulting Career?

Despite the “industrial engineer” label, the job description of an industrial engineer is more managerial in nature. Nonetheless, for a consulting career, an industrial engineering consultant should have extensive technical knowledge in the following areas:

  1. Deep understanding of industrial processes such as production, logistics, supply chain management, and quality management
  2. Skills in data analysis, especially statistical methods, data modeling, and forecasting methods
  3. Project management know-how
  4. Knowledge of process optimization and automation such as mathematical methods, simulation, and process modeling
  5. Understanding of new and relevant technologies and systems, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT)
  6. Deep industry expertise about the environment in which companies operate and about their challenges, industry trends, and best practices

The specific requirements that are placed on an engineer for process design vary according to the industry and consulting specialization.

Your Career as an Industrial Engineer at Ingenics

If you have completed a degree in industrial engineering or have a background in mechanical engineering, you will already have the ideal attributes for a job in industrial engineering at Ingenics.

An apprenticeship in a technical field or further training specializing in MTM method time analyses or lean production also qualifies you for an industrial engineering career.

As a process optimization consultant, your work will be interdisciplinary and see you moving between the shop floor and management levels, so initial experience in optimization and production in various industry sectors will make it easier for you to start out.

The job description of an industrial engineer also demands soft skills in addition to hard skills. As an industrial engineer, or manufacturing engineer as they are also known, you will work together with different people, including clients and your Ingenics team. If you think analytically, conceptually, and with a focus on solutions and also have a strong talent for communication, you will find this all easy.

If you join us, you will start off assigned to our Manufacturing Excellence section. 


What Is the Career Path for an Industrial Engineer at Ingenics?

Your career journey at Ingenics will extend across three job levels:

  1. Newcomers start as a Project Engineer.
  2. Industrial engineers with at least three years of professional experience begin as a Senior Project Engineer.
  3. Experienced experts with more than seven years’ professional experience start out as a Project Manager.

Industrial Engineer Duties at Ingenics

As an industrial engineering consultant, your job will be to ensure production processes are seamless. The duties you take on will depend on the level you start at.


Graduates and Young Professionals

Industrial engineers usually begin with time study projects:

  • You will provide important base data and raise the visibility of optimization approaches.
  • You will support your team in the planning of processes, examine the efficiency and execution of those processes, and evaluate them with time study data using methods-time measurement.
  • Your analyses will help to identify potential savings that our clients can transfer to their optimization projects.

A second important field is standard line balancing projects from the domain of lean management:

  • You will study the task precedence in the planned processes in relation to its technical feasibility in order to achieve a task precedence of maximum efficiency.
  • Together with your team and production employees, you will synchronize the sequence in which tasks are carried out, which will then be tested and documented as a task precedence plan.
  • The aim in this is to carry out work with a shorter lead time or a more efficient use of workers.

Experienced Professionals

With increasing experience, you will take on more and more structural duties and be more strongly integrated into projects in a conceptual capacity. In your role as Senior Project Engineer or Project Manager, you will create the conditions in which your team can implement optimization projects.

You will be the conductor for all areas influenced by industrial engineering and set up holistic project landscapes with which your clients will reach their production targets.

If a company, for example, has high material costs because the material supply processes take too long, the production system will need to be harmonized and all processes synchronized with each other. As an industrial engineer with professional experience, you will develop concepts and project landscapes to solve the problem

How Is the Job Description of an Industrial Engineer Changing?

Thanks to digitalization, industrial engineers can analyze data more easily and plan in greater detail using software and interfaces. As a result, the subjects of Industry 4.0 and digital transformation become a little more tangible. Industrial engineers are increasingly being supported by AI when they set up efficient planning processes.

In the future, the topic of sustainability will have a major influence on the work done by industrial engineers. Eco-conscious behavior is growing in importance, and businesses that want to take the path toward being a zero-emissions company will need industrial engineers to design sustainable processes.

Industrial engineers are generalists who think ahead every day in their job. They put trends into action, whether those trends are process automation or the implementation of AI technologies. This makes them highly sought after at all future-oriented companies.

Take Off as an Industrial Engineer at Ingenics

Are a future-oriented job and interdisciplinary work the things you’re looking for? With us, you can start as an industrial engineer right after getting your degree. If you have professional experience, you can start out as a Senior Project Engineer straightaway.

On our job board, you can find suitable jobs in industrial engineering consulting at Ingenics. You can look forward to a variety of challenges in exciting industries.

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