Since the dawn of the industrial era, Engineers have spent an enormous amount of time and effort dedicated to finding ways to improve and increase the efficiency and profitability of production processes. That role remains the same to this day as many modern Industrial Engineers strive to keep pushing the limitations of technology towards new horizons.
Like its name clearly suggests, this branch of Engineering is mostly aimed towards the industrial field of work. Industrial Engineers use their skills and creativity to make effective use of a company’s workforce, equipment and resources. They do so by creating and designing specialized machinery used for the mass production and fabrication of several goods, including food, appliances, objects, and vehicles, among others. They also focus on preventing unnecessary expenses and improving the cost-effectiveness of all other human and material resources.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Industrial Engineers are required to complete.
- Researching ways and methods to improve and optimize the use of workers, resources, and machines:
- Studying and reviewing different manufacturing processes;
- identifying potential health hazards and life-threatening situations in plants and other facilities in order to establish safety procedures and standards;
- analyzing production costs; and
- establishing the necessary skills and knowledge necessary to operate specialized machinery and technology in order to create both a profile and a training system for new employees.
- Conducting regular evaluations of industrial plants and facilities’ operations:
- Evaluating existing industrial plants and facilities in order to implement possible improvements.
- Designing new ways to increase the efficiency of the production of goods and services regarding time, effort, and profitability:
- Evaluating how to accelerate the production process while maintaining the same quality standards;
- conducting quality control evaluations in order to prevent unnecessary expenses and improve cost-effectiveness;
- devising new and efficient ways to manufacture goods by implementing the latest technologies and scientific advances; and
- applying mathematical methods and formulas to design different systems (e.g. manufacturing and information systems) in order to meet their client’s requirements.
- Liaising with their colleagues and supervising their work:
- Training Assemblers, Quality Control Assistants, and Technicians, as necessary, on processes, equipment, and documentation.
- Acquiring quotations, sourcing vendors, and managing the implementation of new projects.
- Meeting with the client and the management team to come up with a design and establish the project’s standards.
- Designing management plans to increase productivity and efficiency.
- Executing quality control procedures in order to prevent unnecessary expenses and improve cost-effectiveness.
- Making sure all products or services meet the different quality standards.
- Participating in the entire life cycle of the product they manufacture or offer by liaising with distributors, vendors, and consumers.
The average Industrial Engineer salary is $76,438 per year or $39 per hour. This is around 2.3 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $54,000 while most experienced workers make up to $107,000. These results are based on 34 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding amount of imagination and inventiveness in order to design new production mechanisms that increase the efficiency and profitability of manufacturing processes.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills:
- Being able to understand and identify the issues or problems of an organization using critical thinking and logic in order to provide the best solutions; and
- being precise and accurate in their calculations and analyses.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly, both verbally and in writing, in order to convey clear instructions to their coworkers;
- having excellent listening skills so as to retain as much information as possible during interviews with clients and employers;
- being able to read and write technical reports; and
- being able to work as part of a team of professionals, as well as serve as a liaison between the technical and administrative parts of a manufacturing company.
- Mathematical skills:
- Using calculus and advanced mathematics in order to perform complex calculations; and
- applying basic engineering concepts and processes to all projects.
- Organizational and time management skills and great attention to detail:
- Being able to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment;
- having the ability to handle more than one project at a time; and
- being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
- Result-oriented and driven to achieve continuous improvements.
In order to work as an Industrial Engineer, a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering is required. However, it is not unheard of that Engineers with different specializations, such as Mechanical or Electric, can work as Industrial Engineers, provided they have proven their ability to fulfill the role. Candidates with higher postgraduate degrees, such as masters or Ph.D.’s, tend to have the advantage over others when applying for a job in the area. Employers usually ask for 3 to 5 years of related Engineering experience.
Most Industrial Engineers are expected to be well versed in other areas of study, including Economics, Physics, and even Psychology in order to provide a more complete profile to their employers.
All candidates applying for a job as an Industrial Engineer must be proficient in MS Office and computer-aided design (CAD) software, especially AutoCAD, as well as being a registered professional in their corresponding province. Only licensed Engineers can practice this career in Canada. The provincial and territorial regulatory bodies for all Engineering careers in this country are the ones associated to Engineers Canada, which is in charge of overseeing all matters related to this field, including licensing. 
These professionals might work in an office while examining data and coming up with possible solutions, or at the plant or factory they are hired to improve (e.g. watching workers do their job in a factory or observing employees while they carry out their daily tasks). If hired by an international company, Industrial Engineers will probably have to travel to make the appropriate observations and assessments in situ.