Industrial Engineering

Brief history of industrial engineering

Industrial Engineering: Targeted:

1- Analyzing the necessary needs of the system and eliminating the non-essential ones.
2- Canceling unnecessary time from this work and limiting work time to work only.
3- Determine the typical time to determine the labor and energy and know the exact price of the product in order to enter the tenders.
4- Doing a work study to simplify the work and achieve efficient, effective and least costly methods, and its previous name is (motion study).

The one who defined these names is Frank Gelberth, and he was a contemporary of the tailor, but he expanded in the study of scientific management after him, as he carried out a detailed study (motion study) in 1880, then he created a micro motion study and divided this work and called it (Thrupling) and it is inverted (Gilberth), each of which is concerned with studying Reasons for immobility or fine movement. His wife, Lillian Gilbreath, had a clear influence on social studies (theology). And then came the scientist Gantt, who was interested in the study of scheduling, and he invented the Gantt map for scheduling projects or tasks (Gantt chart).
Then came Schewart, who researched quality management and established the so-called (SPC), that is, the statistical control of operations.

History of Industrial Engineering

The origins of industrial engineering can be traced back to many different sources. Fredrick Winslow Taylor is most often considered as the father of industrial engineering even though all his ideas where not original. Some of the preceding influences may have been Adam Smith’s treatise The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Thomas Malthus’s Essay on Population, published in 1798, David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, published in 1817, and John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy, published in 1848. All of these works provided Classical Liberal explanations for the successes and limitations of the Industrial Revolution. Adam Smith was an economist as were most of his contemporaries at the time. “Economic Science” is the phrase to describe this field in England prior to American industrialization. The amount of influence this literature had on Taylor is unknown.

Another major contributor to the field and precursor to Taylor was Charles W. Babbage. Babbage was mathematics professor at Cambridge University. One of his major contributions to the field was his book On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers in 1832. In this book he discusses many different topics dealing with manufacturing, a few of which will be extremely familiar to an IE. Babbage discusses the idea of the learning curve, the division of task and how learning is affected, and the effect of learning on the generation of waste. He also was very interested in different methods of wage administration and even suggested profit sharing as a viable approach. Charles Babbage was the first person to suggest building a mechanical computer, “analytical calculating machine” as he called it, for the purpose of solving complex mathematical problems. An idea that is far beyond the technology of his time but later proves to be a valuable concept to the modern IE.

In the United States during the later part of the nineteenth century more developments where being made that would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne stressed the economic aspect of an engineer’s job. How was the engineer going to improve the bottom line for the company? Towne belonged to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as did many other early American pioneers in this new field. It was to the ASME that Towne expressed the need to develop a field focused on manufacturing systems. The IE handbook says the, “ASME was the breeding ground for industrial engineering. Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and presenting wage incentive plans to the ASME. It was out of these meetings that the Halsey premium plan of wage payment developed. The purpose of his plan was to increase the productivity of workers without negatively affecting the cost of production. The plan also suggested that some of the gains be shared with the employees as an incentive to keep it going. This is one early example of one profit sharing plan.

Henry L. Gantt also belonged to the ASME and was interested in selection of workers and their training. He, like Towne and Halsey, would present papers to the ASME on topics such as cost, selection of workers, training, good incentive plans, and scheduling of work. He is the originator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in scheduling of work. Today however, the Gantt chart is coupled with statistics to make more accurate predictions. Other types of charts that have developed out of the early scheduling efforts are the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Mapping (CPM).

No history of industrial engineering would be complete without mentioning Fredrick Winslow Taylor. Taylor is probably the best known of the pioneers in industrial engineering. He used the ASME as present his ideas on the organization of work by management. He coined the term “scientific management” to describe the methods he developed through empirical studies. His work, like others, covered topics such as the organization of work by management, worker selection, training, and additional compensation for those individuals that could meet the standard as developed by the company through his methods. The Taylor method of Scientific Management had far reaching effects on the industrial revolution, in America, and abroad.

The Gilbreth family is accredited with the development of time and motion studies. Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife Dr. Lillian M. Gilbreth worked on understanding fatigue, skill development, motion studies, as well as time studies. Lillian Gilbreth had a Ph.D. in psychology which helped in understanding the many people issues.

The Gilbreth family was interested in the “one best way” to do work. One of the most significant things the Gilbreth family did was to classify the basic human motions into seventeen types, some effective and some non-effective. They labeled the table of classification therbligs (Gilbreth spelled backwards). Effective therbligs are useful in accomplishing work and non-effective therbligs are not. Gilbreth concluded that the time to complete an effective therblig can be shortened but will be very hard to eliminate. On the other hand non-effective therbligs should be completely eliminated if possible. Gilbreth claims that any form of work can be broken down into these simple types of work.

When the United States entered World War II the government enlisted scientist to study there war plans, production methods, and logistics. These scientists developed a number of techniques for modeling and predicting optimal solutions. Later when this information was declassified the field of Operation Research was born. Much of the work was still highly theoretical and a good understanding of how to apply it in the real world did not exist.

Engineers tended to ignore the developments in this field because of this. This intern caused the gap between the Operation Research (OR) group and the engineering profession to widen. Only a few companies where quick to develop Operation Research departments and capitalize on the benefits afforded by this new type of analytical modeling.

In 1948 a new society, the American Institute for Industrial Engineers (AIIE), was opened for the first time and began to give a more professional authenticity for the practicing engineers. Up to this time industrial engineers really had no specific place in the hierarchy of a company.

Depending on the primary focus of the industrial engineering department the IE may end up in engineering, manufacturing, or personnel. The ASME was the only other society that required its members to have an engineering degree prior to the development of the AIIE.

During the 1960s, and after, Universities began to adopt operation research techniques and add them to the curriculum for the Industrial Engineering Degree. Now for the first time the methods of industrial engineering could rest on an analytical foundation, instead of the old method of empiricism.

New developments in mathematics for optimization as well as new methods of advanced statistical analysis helped to fill in the holes once left by the purely theoretical approach. However, problems where extremely large and complex to and until the digital computer was developed processing this kind of information was almost impossible.

With Digital Computer and mass storage capabilities the industrial engineer had a brand new tool for calculating massive problems quickly.

Prior to the computer computations on a system would take weeks or months if possible at all, but with the computer and the development of sub-routines, calculations could be done in minutes and easily repeated with new problem criteria. With the storage capabilities of the modern digital computer, results from previous systems could be saved and compared with new information. This data gave industrial engineers a powerful way of studying production systems and their reaction to change


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