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Become A Continuous Improvement Leader

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Working As A Continuous Improvement Leader

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $83,470

    Average Salary

What Does A Continuous Improvement Leader Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Continuous Improvement Leader

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Continuous Improvement Leader jobs

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Continuous Improvement Leader Career Paths

Continuous Improvement Leader
Manufacturing Supervisor Process Engineer Production Manager
Continuous Improvement Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Quality Assurance Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Continuous Improvement
14 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Supervisor Production Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Director Of Continuous Improvement Vice-President Of Quality Lean SIX Sigma Black Belt
Lean Manufacturing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Executive
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Continuous Improvement Manager Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Quality Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Continuous Improvement Manager Plant Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Manager Operations Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Manager Production Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Operations Director
Senior Director, Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Quality Manager Plant Manager General Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Value Stream Manager Operations Director
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Director Of Continuous Improvement Managing Director Supply Chain Manager
Value Stream Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Senior Project Manager Vice President, Technology
Vice President Of Global Operations
15 Yearsyrs
Value Stream Manager Senior Manager Operations Director
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
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Continuous Improvement Leader Demographics

Gender

Male

73.4%

Female

24.9%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

78.5%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

1.8%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.7%

French

7.8%

Portuguese

5.9%

Cherokee

3.9%

Russian

3.9%

Italian

3.9%

Chinese

2.0%

Lithuanian

2.0%

Malay

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%
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Continuous Improvement Leader Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.1%

Michigan State University

6.4%

Auburn University

5.8%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

Villanova University

5.3%

Purdue University

5.3%

Iowa State University

5.3%

Baker College

4.7%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.1%

Illinois State University

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

Indiana Wesleyan University

4.1%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.5%

Wayne State University

3.5%

University of Iowa

3.5%

Clemson University

3.5%

Utah State University

3.5%

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

3.5%

University of Rhode Island

2.9%

University of Utah

2.9%
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Majors

Business

38.8%

Industrial Engineering

9.3%

Management

8.7%

Mechanical Engineering

5.7%

Supply Chain Management

3.6%

Industrial Technology

3.3%

Electrical Engineering

3.2%

Human Resources Management

3.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

3.2%

Manufacturing Engineering

3.0%

Chemical Engineering

2.5%

Engineering

2.2%

Project Management

2.1%

Communication

2.1%

Finance

1.9%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.9%

Computer Science

1.4%

Operations Management

1.4%

Marketing

1.4%

Chemistry

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.7%

Masters

32.7%

Other

13.8%

Associate

6.3%

Certificate

2.7%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.1%
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Real Continuous Improvement Leader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Continuous Improvement Leader General Electric Company-Infrastructure Atlanta, GA Dec 06, 2013 $159,900
Continuous Improvement Change Lead VOYA Services Company Providence, RI Nov 17, 2014 $135,000
Continuous Improvement Tyson Foods Inc. Springdale, AR Sep 09, 2015 $126,920
Continuous Improvement Tyson Foods Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 09, 2015 $126,920
SR. Continuous Improvement Site Leader Haemonetics Corporation Draper, UT Jan 07, 2013 $120,000
Regional/Continuous Improvement Leader Trinity Health Mason City, IA Jul 18, 2012 $117,000
Regional/Continuous Improvement Leader Trinity Health Iowa Falls, IA Jul 18, 2012 $117,000
Regional/Continuous Improvement Leader Trinity Health Cresco, IA Jul 18, 2012 $117,000
Regional/Continuous Improvement Leader Trinity Health Mason City, IA Jul 18, 2011 $117,000
Regional/Network Continuous Improvement Leader Trinity Health Cresco, IA Jul 18, 2011 $117,000
Continuous Improvement Black Belt Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Nov 19, 2015 $103,709
Black Belt Continuous Improvement United Airlines, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 17, 2011 $103,440
Continuous Improvement Black Belt Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Sep 19, 2013 $101,875
Continuous Improvement Black Belt Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 07, 2015 $100,142
Senior Continuous Improvement Leader Sunnyvale Fluid System Technologies, Inc. Fremont, CA Jan 02, 2012 $96,000
SR. Continuous Improvement Lead Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. Houston, TX Dec 17, 2014 $95,000
Site Continuous Improvement Leader GKN Sinter Metals, Inc. Salem, IN Mar 01, 2010 $93,377
VPI Quality and Continuous Improvement Leader Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Nov 28, 2016 $91,600 -
$112,800
Associate Continuous Improvement Project Specialist Leader Henkel Corporation Bay Point, CA Apr 10, 2016 $88,630
Performance Improvement Leader Sealed Air Corporation (Us) Simpsonville, SC Jan 04, 2016 $88,000
MBT Continuous Improvement Lead Monsanto Company Chesterfield, MO Nov 12, 2013 $84,219
Production Quality Mgr/Continuous Improvement Leader Links Snacks, Inc. New Glarus, WI Feb 16, 2016 $81,640
Continuous Improvement/Maintenance Team Lead Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 28, 2016 $80,706
Site Continuous Improvement Leader GKN Sinter Metals, Inc. Menomonee Falls, WI Jan 18, 2010 $80,000
Continuous Improvement Lead Cummins Filtration Inc. Cookeville, TN Jan 13, 2015 $79,700 -
$87,800
Continuous Improvement Leader Nelson Global Products, Inc. Clinton, TN Jun 20, 2016 $78,645 -
$87,975
Continuous Improvement Project Leader Henkel Corporation Bay Point, CA Apr 21, 2014 $76,211 -
$88,920

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Top Skills for A Continuous Improvement Leader

KaizenEventsSigmaSafetyProceduresFacilityProcessImprovementSuperviseValueStreamMapsOn-TimeDeliveryStrategyContinuousImprovementProjectsCostSavingsProjectManagementContinuousImprovementActivitiesTPMAuditKeyPerformanceIndicatorsBusinessUnitKanbanCostReduction

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Top Continuous Improvement Leader Skills

  1. Kaizen Events
  2. Sigma
  3. Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Skilled in team building, leading kaizen events for lean quick wins and developing proper controls for sustainable results.
  • Teach Lean Six Sigma classes to new practitioners and Green Belts with 56 hours of classroom instruction to date.
  • Review existing safety policies and procedures to ensure OSHA compliance and reduce safety related incidents within the plant.
  • Facilitated the writing of Standard Operating Procedures for all operations' tasks including process control and maintenance.
  • Developed and initiated continuous improvement goals and effectively introduced change throughout the facility.

Top Continuous Improvement Leader Employers

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A Day In The Life of a Continuous Improvement Leader

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