Industrial engineers can design or improve processes more efficiently due to the availability of valuable insights — derived with the help of big data and analytics. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and more have been simplifying industrial engineers’ work.
Such changes can mean big shifts in both the current and future climate of the industrial engineering industry.
How the Changing Technology Landscape Is Shaping the Future of Industrial Engineers
Changing technology trends require industrial engineers to constantly adapt to the new digital world. Robots are being deployed to improve productivity and accuracy. They have been helping meet rising customer demands. The Internet of things (IoT) helps monitor processes and projects with ease.
However, access to technical tools and information is not limited to industrial engineers alone. The same information is available to clients and everybody else, making the role of an industrial engineer challenging.
Is the evolving technology and manufacturing landscape threatening the future success of industrial engineers? No! While bots can work around the clock to perform repetitive tasks, industrial engineers will always be needed to ensure processes and projects run smoothly.
Anyone can search for information on ways to improve their processes and projects, yet it’s the industrial engineers who possess the knowledge and expertise to interpret the information in the right way and apply it to benefit teams and clients.
Ultimately, the way industrial engineers interact with technology and adapt to changes to benefit processes, clients, and end-users is going to change. How they leverage modeling techniques and knowledge management practices will help improve processes.
Job Outlook for Industrial Engineers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in industrial engineering (IE) to see a 10% growth from 2019 to 2029, better than the average 4% growth estimated for all occupations.
The ability to create ground-breaking solutions to address technical and process-related issues makes IE a desirable field. Considering the scope of business improvements industrial engineers can introduce at the workplace, the IE field will remain steady with plenty of opportunities to grow, especially for those with mechanical engineering or manufacturing engineering knowledge.
Industrial engineers will have the opportunity to continue applying their skills and expertise in designing efficient systems, accelerating development, and enabling cost savings, thereby improving sales results and market share of the organization they serve.
Industrial engineers, though mostly absorbed by manufacturing companies, possess skills that are adaptable across sectors. They will see employment opportunities across various sectors and service lines:
- Consumer products
- Transportation and logistics
- Research and development
- Supply chain management
- Government services
How Industrial Engineers Can Take Advantage of the Constantly Progressing Market
As organizations adopt new technologies to automate their services, processes, and product delivery, industrial engineers will be in demand to fulfill enterprise objectives with great job prospects. IE is and will always remain an essential element of manufacturing operations.
Trillions of megabytes of data get processed every day. This means industrial engineers will be responsible for leveraging insights from that data to make critical decisions and determine how automation and other new technologies can improve processes for production and delivery of parts, accessories, and machinery.
Consider the example of an on-demand manufacturing service such as injection molding, where industrial engineers have been facilitating the rapid production of thousands of identical components, even for highly complex shapes. Taking advantage of technological advances, industrial engineers will help organizations to further accelerate the development of components and products with greater accuracy and constantly improve manufacturing efficiency.
The Current State of Manufacturing and How Industrial Engineers Can Help
Eighty-four percent out of 230 senior decision-makers from the manufacturing industry who participated in a survey reported embracing on-demand manufacturing technologies. And 100% of the organizations that utilized on-demand platforms reported benefits such as better quality, transparency, and visibility. These technologies enable industrial engineers to deliver optimized manufacturing services such as injection molding and CNC machining.
The survey report also highlights how quality issues are impacting the bottom line with 53% of participants reporting concerns around quality performance. The booming supply chain analytics market that is set to exceed a USD 10 billion valuation by 2027 will require industrial engineers to address the quality concerns.
Soon, industrial engineers will be employed by organizations to leverage newer concepts within RPA, AI, ML, and other emerging technologies to constantly optimize existing processes for even better speed, productivity, and cost-efficiency. They will be responsible for addressing challenges that impact the production layout in organizations across sectors, including automotive, aerospace, medical, and consumer products, with greater efficiency. There is always scope for improvement, and industrial engineers will work on improving processes and product designs.
To survive in the competitive market with constantly evolving customer expectations, organizations must continuously improve product and service quality, productivity, and time to market, while lowering costs. As industrial engineers play a key role in achieving these objectives, they will continue to stay in demand, and their growth trajectory will remain elevated.