Industrial Engineer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Industrial Engineer, or Manufacturing Engineer, designs and develops production layouts for a company’s warehouse to increase productivity and quality standards. Their main duties include reviewing current production schedules and processes to find potential improvements, designing the layouts of the facilities and estimating production costs.


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Industrial Engineer job duties and responsibilities

Industrial Engineers use skills in project management and mathematics to better understand the current processes and procedures of their company, then work to improve them. Industrial Engineers often have the following responsibilities:

  • Evaluate current manufacturing practices and identify those needing improvement.
  • Manage production schedules and coordinate services to maximize productivity.
  • Enforce quality control to reduce waste.
  • Improve the efficiency of each production process.
  • Evaluate employees’ tasks and responsibilities, identifying procedures or tools to improve productivity.


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What does an Industrial Engineer do?

Industrial Engineers are professionals who build various production layouts for companies. They’ll design these layouts to improve productivity, reduce wastefulness in the workplace and cut costs. Industrial Engineers will usually monitor the overall operations of a company to find new ways to increase its efficiencies through new production designs. 

They’ll carefully analyze the company’s current processes and production schedules and will design new production processes accordingly. These employees will also design various control systems to help minimize costs and increase production quality. They’ll compile equipment and material lists, cost analyses, production cost estimations and purchase orders before implementing new projects.


Industrial Engineer skills and qualifications

Successful Industrial Engineers have certain skills and qualifications that will assist them in their role, which include:

  • Industrial Engineers use both basic and advanced calculations to determine the current and potential productivity of a process. The ability to use calculus, trigonometry, algebra and other types of math is important in this position.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary for an Industrial Engineer. They must be aware of a business’s needs while making technical recommendations understandable.
  • Good leadership skills assist the Industrial Engineer in implementing productivity changes. The ability to develop relationships with coworkers is useful when making recommendations.
  • Industrial Engineers often need to create viable solutions for a variety of challenges. Whether it is to improve the production of a certain product or to reduce waste, the ability to develop a plan to overcome the problem is important.
  • Industrial Engineers need to use analytical skills to evaluate and interpret data. They also use these skills to create reports and describe the results to company decision-makers.


Industrial Engineer salary expectations

The average salary for an Industrial Engineer is $74,078 per year. Salaries may vary depending on geographical location, level of experience and size of the organization.

Industrial Engineer education and training requirements

Industrial Engineers need at least a bachelor’s degree, but some hiring managers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree. Relevant fields of study include industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering and civil engineering. In order to earn a PE license, Industrial Engineers need to work under the supervision of a licensed professional for at least four years. 


Industrial Engineer experience requirements

Previous experience, either in an entry-level position or internship, is often required to work as an Industrial Engineer. Some hiring managers may prefer to hire a candidate with minimal experience and train within the company, whereas others prefer to hire an Industrial Engineer who is licensed and has many years of previous experience. The needs of the company will often dictate the experience requirements.


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Frequently asked questions about Industrial Engineers


What settings do Industrial Engineers typically work in?

Industrial Engineers can work in a wide variety of settings each day. Many of them will regularly visit the area they are looking to design or add enhancements to. Once they’ve scanned and analyzed the environment closely, they’ll work in an office to design new plans and concepts that will improve the area. 

Many of them will design production processes and control systems for warehouses or factories. They’ll watch the workers complete tasks and will determine where improvements can be made to enhance their efficiencies and ease their workloads. They may also spend time in the warehouses or factories meeting with employees to identify problems they face with their work. They’ll then draw up plans to improve these issues.


Do Industrial Engineers have different responsibilities in different industries?

There are a few different kinds of industries that Industrial Engineers can work in that involve designing new updates and improvements to a company’s productivity and efficiency levels. Many of them work in manufacturing industries, designing systems that optimize and increase the functions of robots and computer networking systems. 

Some of them work in the supply chain management industry, helping brainstorm ways for businesses to minimize their inventory costs by conducting quality assurance in certain areas within the company. There are also Industrial Engineers who work in healthcare, building and updating systems that boost efficiency levels for workers and increase the stability of patients. 


What's the difference between an Industrial Engineer and a Mechanical Engineer?

Though they both work to design products that improve the lives of consumers or employees, there are still some key differences between the responsibilities that Industrial and Mechanical Engineers hold. Mechanical Engineers use computer-aided design systems and a strong knowledge of mathematics and physics to build engines, electrical units and other machinery. 

Industrial Engineers often work directly with factory employees to determine new systems and updates to increase productivity. Once they design these systems for employees, they’ll watch employees use them to determine if more improvements need to be added. Mechanical Engineers typically work strictly on machinery and have little to no interaction with the individuals who eventually use their designs.


What makes a good Industrial Engineer?

A great Industrial Engineer should be creative and innovative to develop new production processes that enhance the efficiency levels of employees. Strong Industrial Engineers must also use problem-solving and critical thinking skills to properly identify worker issues and think of logical solutions. Interpersonal and communication abilities are also important to listen and understand the struggles of employees. They’ll also use these skills to teach employees how to follow the newly built or updated processes.

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