Saturday, May 12, 2007

Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering) – Proposed Curriculum

“Industrial Engineering is Human Effort Engineering. It is an engineering discipline that deals with the design of human effort in all occupations: agricultural, manufacturing and service. The objectives of Industrial Engineering are optimization of productivity of work-systems and occupational comfort, health, safety and income of persons involved.” (Narayana Rao, “Definition of Industrial Engineering: suggested Modification,” Udyog Pragati, Oct-Dec 2006, pp. 1-4.)


This proposal is an initial or draft effort by me. Designing the curriculum for industrial engineering is a system design effort. It may take some iterations of creative effort and evaluation to come out with a design that is acceptable to many people as a near optimal design. I request all visitors to the blog to post their comments or send them by email to me (if they cannot post the comments). I shall post them on the blog.

The comments will be useful to me as well as other faculty to synthesize all the views and incorporate them in their ideal design of the curriculum as well as to incorporate at least some of the ideas in their institute curriculum. Every personal idea of every faculty member need not become a part of the institute curriculum as the institute curriculum is a consensus of the all the faculty members of the institute as well as the other members of the curriculum approval bodies.

The curriculum is based on my view that industrial engineers specialize in understanding the human resource at work. Their understanding of the machines and technology is not unique but common with engineers of that discipline. For example, in case of an industrial engineer working in a chemical engineering factory, knowledge regarding chemical equipment, material handing, and the processes involved is common between the chemical engineer and industrial engineer. The unique knowledge of the industrial engineer is his understanding of the principles of work of men and women in the chemical industry. The main of focus of the industrial engineers is in designing or specifying the work to be done by the operators.

The curriculum design incorporates the following division of time or effort. 25% for human sciences and their model applications in work system design. 50% focus in on subjects with full focus on work systems design, subjects of work systems design, subjects that focus on objectives of work system design and subjects that help in managing industrial engineering activity and industrial engineering department. 25% for subjects related to appreciating the business system, managing the various functions of the business system, technology subjects, decision sciences and others.

I came up with some names for subjects which, I feel would be useful to provide focus, depth and practice to industrial engineering graduates. Lack of depth and practice in core industrial engineering is the main reason for many industrial engineers shift to areas like material management, production planning and control and software. I shall provide my view of the subject; try to point the books which may be useful in developing the subject. I feel industrial engineering discipline has not adequate interest in coming out with books that have a special focus on the discipline. We are using books published for with a different focus.

The curriculum specified is tailored in terms of the current term pattern followed at NITIE. There are 5 terms of institute study, and one term of 8 weeks industry project and a second term of 16 week industry project. I have included six theory subjects in each term and some laboratory work, which could a part of the theory subject or could be extra hours. The decision can be situation specific. I am presenting the curriculum term by term.

Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering) – Proposed Curriculum


First Term

Evolution of Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering
Documentation of Operating Procedures and Working Conditions
Physiology
Anatomy
Psychology
Sociology

Laboratory/Project Work

Physiology
Anatomy
Computer
Documentation Project Work


Evolution of Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering

This subject shall provide the opportunity to learn the origin and evolution of various industrial engineering techniques apart from providing the history of the discipline and the contribution of various individuals who were pioneers and made significant contributions. Through this subject, students have to learn industrial engineering techniques through case history (brief historical account of the origin and application) method. It is important to specially to discuss the significant achievements of top industrial engineers of the current day as well as the achievements of the excellent industrial engineering departments in the current and recent past.

A list of books and articles which can be used in this course needs to be prepared. Taylor’s Scientific Management is must. Actually this book should be a compulsory reading for every industrial engineer. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be so.

I have in my possession The Making of Scientific Management, Volume I by Urwick and Brech. In this book, it was mentioned that ‘A Golden Book of Management’, an edited volume by Urwick was published on behalf of The International Committee for Scientific Management.

In this course it is important to distinguish between Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering. Industrial Engineering could be an offspring of Scientific Management. But the entire gamut of scientific management is not covered by industrial engineering. In the field of business management, scientific management is an approach competing with other approaches. Some of the confusion in the industrial engineering profession is created, because, subjects which are a part of scientific management are treated as subjects of industrial engineering. For instance, Statistical Quality Control has been developed by pioneers of scientific management. It need not be a core subject of industrial engineering, when its focus is on man-machine integration. Similarly, Operations Research can be and is a part of Scientific Management. It is not a core subject of Industrial Engineering. It is a useful subject for industrial engineers in their integrated work systems design. Industrial engineers have to use appropriate OR techniques.


Documentation of Operating Procedures and Working Conditions

The subject may also be termed as Documentation of Work Systems. Industrial engineers learn about recording work procedures in the subject work study. The focus in work study is to record the procedure of work for analysis purposes. In this subject, the focus is modified and enlarged to communicating the work procedures. Document template of an operating procedure is the language of industrial engineers. Industrial engineering department has to take ownership and make sure that every operation has a specified operating procedure documented in a standard way so that at any time it can be analyzed for improvement. It is always there for communication between industrial engineer and other executives in company, industrial engineer and operator. The visual techniques pioneered by Japanese industrial engineers have to be incorporated into this subject. The material in work study books is to be complemented by recent developments and this curriculum points out the need for separate text on this topic.

Physiology
Anatomy
Psychology
Sociology

These four subjects are the basic human science subjects. Industrial engineers have to study them to develop the unique expertise of theirs among engineers. They understand the human being at work. The abilities and disabilities of a person at the work situation are to be described in the parameters which are described in these disciplines.




Laboratory/Project Work

Physiology
Anatomy
Computer
Documentation Project Work

The laboratory work in Physiology and Anatomy should make industrial engineers proficient in measuring the important parameters used for evaluating the efficient motions, comfort, safety and health aspects of operators.

Computer laboratory work has to facilitate the documentation work. Documentation Project Work has to provide practice for industrial engineering students to record procedures and communicate them to other executives and operators.

KVSSNrao

1 comment:

iggy said...

Your view of Industrial Engineering is very Intruiging! Being an IE Student myself, I too have not read "Scientific Management." I find the subject listings that you have posted as to be Ergonomics-Psychology/Behavioral Science-HR inclined, well there’s nothing wrong with that, although I think you have Strong point on the lackness of work measurement techniques of today as what you have pointed out at the last paragrahs.

I myself believe that IE can be applied to almost every industry due to the broadness of its scope. Well the way I see it, “Human Effort Engineering” would be an interesting “Specialty Field” in Industrial Engineering. Well that would be my suggestion since here in the Philippines we have one school here in which boldly made a specialty field that would cater to the needs of the Industry that is being promoted by our government (BSIE: Major in Furniture Manufacturing).

I think each country’s IE application would vary in the future since each country does not have the same Economic structure, needs, trends and the like. Hope this helps!