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An industrial engineer specializes in devising various systems to improve the workflow and the workforce in a manufacturing setting. One of their primary responsibilities is to understand all of the procedures in a manufacturing plant and develop strategies to resolve issues or improve production operations, such as designing a cost-efficient machine or system that will enhance the quality of goods and boost the productivity of workers. Moreover, it is also essential to adhere to all the company's policies and safety regulations to maintain a safe and productive work environment for all employees.

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Industrial Engineer Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real industrial engineer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Plan, manage, lead and execute projects from conception to successful completion using the DMAIC methodology.
  • Manage development of equipment, which include electrical systems, PLC programming, pneumatic circuits, hydraulic systems and fixtures.
  • Lead PDCA project to reduce order sizing defects that impact customer product delivery, avoiding $230K in lose revenue.
  • Utilize AutoCad for plant layout modifications or capital projects.
  • Train new IE's in the work group in labor reporting, equipment cycle timing and labor standards.
  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and relate information necessary to enhance manufacturing methods, procedures and activities.
  • Support FAI / PPAP submission.
  • Develop suppliers to assure excellent quality and MRP metrics.
  • Analyze dozens of complex crank case auto cad drawings.
  • Identify optimum layout of plant using AutoCad as primary software.
  • Work with the lean sigma team to find improvement areas.
  • Convert 2D AutoCAD drawings to 3D SolidWorks drawings for machine programming.
  • Utilize the A3 lean tool to facilitate communication for all improvement activities.
  • Work with the production team in GMP environment for scale up production batches.
  • Develop SQL base program to manipulate and monitor data used for tracking project progress.

Industrial Engineer Job Description

When it comes to understanding what an Industrial Engineer does, you may be wondering, "should I become an Industrial Engineer?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, Industrial Engineers have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 8% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of Industrial Engineer opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 23,800.

On average, the Industrial Engineer annual salary is $78,120 per year, which translates to $37.56 an hour. Generally speaking, Industrial Engineers earn anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 a year, which means that the top-earning Industrial Engineers make $40,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become an Industrial Engineer. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a Process Engineer Internship, Research And Development Engineer, Process Improvement Engineer, and Packaging Engineer.

Industrial Engineer Jobs You Might Like

12 Industrial Engineer Resume Examples

Industrial Engineer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 10% of Industrial Engineers are proficient in Procedures, Continuous Improvement, and Sigma. They’re also known for soft skills such as Creativity, Listening skills, and Math skills.

We break down the percentage of Industrial Engineers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Procedures, 10%

    Reviewed production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information necessary to enhance manufacturing methods, procedures and activities.

  • Continuous Improvement, 9%

    Facilitated communication and coaching cross-functional teams towards development of standard work, lean practices, process documentation, and continuous improvement.

  • Sigma, 5%

    Provided training to mail processing managers and employees on standardization and lean/six sigma tools and processes using nationally developed training material.

  • Project Management, 5%

    Complete project management from concept, to design, costing, vendor selection, management presentation and implementation including contractor interface.

  • Data Analysis, 5%

    Provided recommendations for achieving productivity improvement based on quantitative (statistical data analysis and data validation) and qualitative analysis.

  • Logistics, 5%

    Assisted in transportation logistics' dedicated fleet including rate negotiations and efficient routing per dealership in each geographical region.

"Procedures," "Continuous Improvement," and "Sigma" aren't the only skills we found Industrial Engineers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of Industrial Engineer responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for an Industrial Engineer to have happens to be Creativity. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "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." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that Industrial Engineers can use Creativity to "Maintained the inventory of raw materials on BAAN (ERP system), reviewed the inventory levels and scheduled production. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many Industrial Engineer duties rely on Listening skills. This example from a Industrial Engineer explains why: "These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff." This resume example is just one of many ways Industrial Engineers are able to utilize Listening skills: "Communicated new processes and process changes to client organizations for a $3M company. "
  • Industrial Engineers are also known for Math skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a Industrial Engineer resume: "Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "Time and Motion Studies Mathematical Models to Predict Product Equipment Hours Basic Programming for Model Implementation Tracking Capital Spending Cost Reduction Projects"
  • In order for certain Industrial Engineer responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "Problem-solving skills." According to an Industrial Engineer resume, "In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "Solved time-sensitive issues using MSSQL and VBA macro programming. "
  • Yet another important skill that an Industrial Engineer must demonstrate is "Speaking skills." Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available This is clearly demonstrated in this example from an Industrial Engineer who stated: "Represented the warehouse department as part of an ERP System implementation team and currently undergoing continuous improvement projects. "
  • Another skill commonly found on Industrial Engineer resumes is "Writing skills." This description of the skill was found on several Industrial Engineer resumes: "Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference" Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day Industrial Engineer responsibilities: "Inventory control, purchasing, technical writing, logistics Engineering and development in products both commercial and governmental Drafting and design"
  • See the full list of Industrial Engineer skills.

    We've found that 78.4% of Industrial Engineers have earned a bachelor's degree. Furthermore, 12.1% earned their master's degrees before becoming an Industrial Engineer. While it's true that most Industrial Engineers have a college degree, it's generally impossible to become one with only a high school degree. In fact, one out of every nine Industrial Engineers did not spend the extra money to attend college.

    Those Industrial Engineers who do attend college, typically earn either a Industrial Engineering degree or a Mechanical Engineering degree. Less commonly earned degrees for Industrial Engineers include a Industrial Technology degree or a Business degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become an Industrial Engineer. We've found that most Industrial Engineer resumes include experience from Sysco, HNI, and Raytheon. Of recent, Sysco had 82 positions open for Industrial Engineers. Meanwhile, there are 60 job openings at HNI and 46 at Raytheon.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, Industrial Engineers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Take Facebook for example. The median Industrial Engineer salary is $128,826. At Google, Industrial Engineers earn an average of $120,539, while the average at Microsoft is $116,712. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on Industrial Engineer salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a Industrial Engineer include Boeing, General Motors, and Lockheed Martin. These three companies were found to hire the most Industrial Engineers from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    For the most part, Industrial Engineers make their living in the Manufacturing and Technology industries. Industrial Engineers tend to make the most in the Technology industry with an average salary of $84,285. The Industrial Engineer annual salary in the Automotive and Transportation industries generally make $79,721 and $77,130 respectively. Additionally, Industrial Engineers who work in the Technology industry make 11.9% more than Industrial Engineers in the Retail Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious industrial engineers are:

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    What Process Engineer Internships Do

    A process engineering intern performs various tasks for an organization. These include collaborating with the technical team on cost savings, process efficiency improvements, and technology advancement, attending meetings with leadership teams, and participating in customer trials. Additionally, they may assist with the leadership or management teams in creating standard operating procedures. They are responsible for coordinating with engineers and work on projects assigned by the leadership. Ideal candidates for this role must have a degree in mechanical or industrial engineering, excellent communication skills, and knowledge and experience in process observation.

    In this section, we compare the average Industrial Engineer annual salary with that of a Process Engineer Internship. Typically, Process Engineer Interns earn a $42,665 lower salary than Industrial Engineers earn annually.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between Industrial Engineers and Process Engineer Interns are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like Procedures, Continuous Improvement, and Sigma.

    As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because an Industrial Engineer responsibility requires skills such as "Project Management," "Logistics," "Business Process," and "Facility Layout." Whereas a Process Engineer Internship is skilled in "Communication," "Process Engineering," "Powerpoint," and "Python." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

    Process Engineer Interns tend to make the most money in the Energy industry by averaging a salary of $53,679. In contrast, Industrial Engineers make the biggest average salary of $84,285 in the Technology industry.

    Process Engineer Interns tend to reach similar levels of education than Industrial Engineers. In fact, Process Engineer Interns are 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.9% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Research And Development Engineer?

    Research and development engineers generally execute research and tests on product ideas, develop new products, and perform redesigns. They are employed in many industries, including manufacturing, electrical, and science-based companies. Their duties vary and depend on the industries they work in. Responsibilities of these engineers include developing new technologies, designing products, and managing the projects until they are completed. Additionally, they lead the project team members to manage their schedules, design the project plans, and collaborate with key departments in developing new products.

    The next role we're going to look at is the Research And Development Engineer profession. Typically, this position earns a higher pay. In fact, they earn a $22,401 higher salary than Industrial Engineers per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both Industrial Engineers and Research And Development Engineers are known to have skills such as "Sigma," "Project Management," and "Data Analysis. "

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, Industrial Engineer responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "Procedures," "Continuous Improvement," "Logistics," and "Value Stream." Meanwhile, a Research And Development Engineer might be skilled in areas such as "Python," "C #," "Solidworks," and "Hardware." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    It's been discovered that Research And Development Engineers earn higher salaries compared to Industrial Engineers, but we wanted to find out where Research And Development Engineers earned the most pay. The answer? The Technology industry. The average salary in the industry is $108,600. Additionally, Industrial Engineers earn the highest paychecks in the Technology with an average salary of $84,285.

    On the topic of education, Research And Development Engineers earn higher levels of education than Industrial Engineers. In general, they're 6.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.9% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What technology do you think will become more important and prevalent for Industrial Engineers in the next 3-5 years?

    Theodore T. Allen Ph.D.

    Associate Professor, The Ohio State University

    The IIOT methods mean that people are entering factories and other production systems with much better knowledge of causes and effects and possibilities for system modeling and optimization. We, at the Ohio State University, are investing a lot of time training ourselves in PTC Thingworx, Microsoft Power BI, Siemens Mindsphere, and other enablers of IIOT. These platforms enable vastly more streamlined workflows and permit many more people to see the optimization and modeling needs more clearly.Show more

    How a Process Improvement Engineer Compares

    A process improvement engineer specializes in conducting research and analysis to develop new strategies and ideas to improve the processes in a manufacturing plant or a similar setting. They prioritize efficiency and profitability. Most of the time, engineers participate in a series of meetings where they coordinate with fellow engineers to determine opportunities for product growth and development. Moreover, a process improvement engineer is also responsible for crafting new policies and regulations, upgrading systems, and developing new practices to ensure product quality and customer satisfaction.

    Let's now take a look at the Process Improvement Engineer profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than Industrial Engineers with a $1,491 difference per year.

    Using Industrial Engineers and Process Improvement Engineers resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "Procedures," "Continuous Improvement," and "Sigma," but the other skills required are very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from Industrial Engineers resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "Logistics," "CAD," "Facility Layout," and "Capacity Analysis." But a Process Improvement Engineer might have skills like "Healthcare," "Performance Improvement," "Facility," and "Metrics."

    Additionally, Process Improvement Engineers earn a higher salary in the Manufacturing industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $77,035. Additionally, Industrial Engineers earn an average salary of $84,285 in the Technology industry.

    When it comes to education, Process Improvement Engineers tend to earn similar education levels than Industrial Engineers. In fact, they're 4.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 1.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Packaging Engineer

    A Packaging Engineer plans and implements packaging designs to ensure product integrity and appeal. Their primary duties include supervising and managing the complete packaging development process, analyzing engineering drawings, and conducting periodic vendor reviews.

    The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than Industrial Engineers. On average, Packaging Engineers earn a difference of $8,750 higher per year.

    While their salaries may vary, Industrial Engineers and Packaging Engineers both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "Procedures," "Sigma," and "Project Management. "

    Each job requires different skills like "Continuous Improvement," "Data Analysis," "Value Stream," and "Business Process," which might show up on an Industrial Engineer resume. Whereas Packaging Engineer might include skills like "Solidworks," "Astm," "Package Design," and "Ista."

    In general, Packaging Engineers make a higher salary in the Technology industry with an average of $99,909. The highest Industrial Engineer annual salary stems from the Technology industry.

    The average resume of Packaging Engineers showed that they earn similar levels of education to Industrial Engineers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 3.1% less. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.5%.

    What an Industrial Engineer Does FAQs

    Is industrial engineering a good career?

    Yes, industrial engineering is a good career. Employers across multiple industries seek skilled industrial engineers for their ability to improve the efficiency and quality of production processes. There is a projected ten percent growth in industrial engineering over the next decade.

    Is industrial engineering hard?

    Yes, industrial engineering is hard, but it is one of the easier engineering degrees. This is because industrial engineering is less based on pure math and more about understanding how businesses and machines function in the best way possible.

    What are the jobs for industrial engineers?

    Industrial engineers can apply for many different kinds of jobs in healthcare or energy. They work in many positions at hospitals and research and development firms, as well as major manufacturing industries and engineering services.

    Where does an industrial engineer work?

    Industrial engineers work in a large number of fields, from hospitals and research and development firms to major manufacturing industries and engineering services.

    Industrial engineers develop strategies to more effectively utilize energy, meaning they work in any industry that requires maximizing resources.

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