Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering) – Proposed Curriculum

“Industrial Engineering is Human Effort Engineering. It is an engineering discipline that deals with the design of human effort in all occupations: agricultural, manufacturing and service. The objectives of Industrial Engineering are optimization of productivity of work-systems and occupational comfort, health, safety and income of persons involved.” (Narayana Rao, “Definition of Industrial Engineering: suggested Modification,” Udyog Pragati, Oct-Dec 2006, pp. 1-4.)


This proposal is an initial or draft effort by me. Designing the curriculum for industrial engineering is a system design effort. It may take some iterations of creative effort and evaluation to come out with a design that is acceptable to many people as a near optimal design. I request all visitors to the blog to post their comments or send them by email to me (if they cannot post the comments). I shall post them on the blog.

The comments will be useful to me as well as other faculty to synthesize all the views and incorporate them in their ideal design of the curriculum as well as to incorporate at least some of the ideas in their institute curriculum. Every personal idea of every faculty member need not become a part of the institute curriculum as the institute curriculum is a consensus of the all the faculty members of the institute as well as the other members of the curriculum approval bodies.

The curriculum is based on my view that industrial engineers specialize in understanding the human resource at work. Their understanding of the machines and technology is not unique but common with engineers of that discipline. For example, in case of an industrial engineer working in a chemical engineering factory, knowledge regarding chemical equipment, material handing, and the processes involved is common between the chemical engineer and industrial engineer. The unique knowledge of the industrial engineer is his understanding of the principles of work of men and women in the chemical industry. The main of focus of the industrial engineers is in designing or specifying the work to be done by the operators.

The curriculum design incorporates the following division of time or effort. 25% for human sciences and their model applications in work system design. 50% focus in on subjects with full focus on work systems design, subjects of work systems design, subjects that focus on objectives of work system design and subjects that help in managing industrial engineering activity and industrial engineering department. 25% for subjects related to appreciating the business system, managing the various functions of the business system, technology subjects, decision sciences and others.

I came up with some names for subjects which, I feel would be useful to provide focus, depth and practice to industrial engineering graduates. Lack of depth and practice in core industrial engineering is the main reason for many industrial engineers shift to areas like material management, production planning and control and software. I shall provide my view of the subject; try to point the books which may be useful in developing the subject. I feel industrial engineering discipline has not adequate interest in coming out with books that have a special focus on the discipline. We are using books published for with a different focus.

The curriculum specified is tailored in terms of the current term pattern followed at NITIE. There are 5 terms of institute study, and one term of 8 weeks industry project and a second term of 16 week industry project. I have included six theory subjects in each term and some laboratory work, which could a part of the theory subject or could be extra hours. The decision can be situation specific. I am presenting the curriculum term by term.

Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering) – Proposed Curriculum


First Term

Evolution of Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering
Documentation of Operating Procedures and Working Conditions
Physiology
Anatomy
Psychology
Sociology

Laboratory/Project Work

Physiology
Anatomy
Computer
Documentation Project Work


Evolution of Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering

This subject shall provide the opportunity to learn the origin and evolution of various industrial engineering techniques apart from providing the history of the discipline and the contribution of various individuals who were pioneers and made significant contributions. Through this subject, students have to learn industrial engineering techniques through case history (brief historical account of the origin and application) method. It is important to specially to discuss the significant achievements of top industrial engineers of the current day as well as the achievements of the excellent industrial engineering departments in the current and recent past.

A list of books and articles which can be used in this course needs to be prepared. Taylor’s Scientific Management is must. Actually this book should be a compulsory reading for every industrial engineer. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be so.

I have in my possession The Making of Scientific Management, Volume I by Urwick and Brech. In this book, it was mentioned that ‘A Golden Book of Management’, an edited volume by Urwick was published on behalf of The International Committee for Scientific Management.

In this course it is important to distinguish between Scientific Management and Industrial Engineering. Industrial Engineering could be an offspring of Scientific Management. But the entire gamut of scientific management is not covered by industrial engineering. In the field of business management, scientific management is an approach competing with other approaches. Some of the confusion in the industrial engineering profession is created, because, subjects which are a part of scientific management are treated as subjects of industrial engineering. For instance, Statistical Quality Control has been developed by pioneers of scientific management. It need not be a core subject of industrial engineering, when its focus is on man-machine integration. Similarly, Operations Research can be and is a part of Scientific Management. It is not a core subject of Industrial Engineering. It is a useful subject for industrial engineers in their integrated work systems design. Industrial engineers have to use appropriate OR techniques.

Documentation of Operating Procedures and Working Conditions

The subject may also be termed as Documentation of Work Systems. Industrial engineers learn about recording work procedures in the subject work study. The focus in work study is to record the procedure of work for analysis purposes. In this subject, the focus is modified and enlarged to communicating the work procedures. Document template of an operating procedure is the language of industrial engineers. Industrial engineering department has to take ownership and make sure that every operation has a specified operating procedure documented in a standard way so that at any time it can be analyzed for improvement. It is always there for communication between industrial engineer and other executives in company, industrial engineer and operator. The visual techniques pioneered by Japanese industrial engineers have to be incorporated into this subject. The material in work study books is to be complemented by recent developments and this curriculum points out the need for separate text on this topic.

Physiology
Anatomy
Psychology
Sociology


These four subjects are the basic human science subjects. Industrial engineers have to study them to develop the unique expertise of theirs among engineers. They understand the human being at work. The abilities and disabilities of a person at the work situation are to be described in the parameters which are described in these disciplines.




Laboratory/Project Work

Physiology
Anatomy
Computer
Documentation Project Work


The laboratory work in Physiology and Anatomy should make industrial engineers proficient in measuring the important parameters used for evaluating the efficient motions, comfort, safety and health aspects of operators.

Computer laboratory work has to facilitate the documentation work. Documentation Project Work has to provide practice for industrial engineering students to record procedures and communicate them to other executives and operators.

For Second term curriculum please visit http://kvssnrao-ind-engg.blogspot.com/2007/06/industrial-engineering-human-effort_3859.html

8 comments:

Sharma said...

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your effort.

I am little confused with the title "Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering)". Is the curriculum mentioned in this blog meant as a replacement to the existing curriculum of IE course? Or a new course called as Industrial Engineering (Human Effort Engineering)is proposed?

Regards,
Sharma

Raunika said...

Dear Sir,

I do think the proposed course gives any focus on the basic understanding of the business. Today when companies recruit people after post graduation in NITIE, they are not looking specialists in human engineering. If they need a specialist, they will get some consultant to do that for them. They are looking for smart people who are aware of the business drivers with focus on Operations or Supply Chain.I do not think this course meets their needs or the need of students studying in IE. It is ironical how many students sell themselves as MBA's after passing out from IE, just so that the companies know they have a perspective of business and not productivity alone.

I would request you to relook at the proposed curriculum and make it more holistic for the business environment.

Regards
Raunika

shirish said...

Dear Sir,
With a due respect to your experience and work, I am afraid I don't see any relevance of this course for the people coming to IE stream. This course would be best suitable for people who are aspiring to get into research field. Companies coming to NITIE are looking for people who have business acumen and use common sense approach to solve business problems. And I seriously doubt how this course will cater to the needs of industry and students. May be this course will fit into the IIT environment.

Regards
Shirish
+91-9444214370

parag said...

Dear Sir,

Thanks you for all your effort.

After being in industry for over short span of time of over 6 years I can say that when people look at NITIE they look at people with good business acumen and with strong focus on supply chain and operations skills. With 'Human effort engineering' as a subject we would be diluting the brand that is created for over 40 years now. I would say that this should not be added as a part of Industrial engineering. If student are intrested they can choose as a an elective or can be taken as a part of research/project.

Regards,
Parag.

Sastry said...

Dear Sir, Thanks for the great effort.

I feel the total irrelevance of the proposed curriculumn, to the Market Perception of an Industrial Engineer of NITIE. In my current organisation, IE means Supply Chain Management, Managing RM PM FG WIP, Optimising the whole chain, IT Enablement of the Supply Chain.

We never hire IE for a purpose that outlined in the Proposed curriculum.

Thanks for taking up my comments in advance.

Regards
Sastry

KVSSNRao said...

Dear Sharma, Raunika, Shirish, Parag and Sastry

I was not in Mumbai for ten days. I resumed duty today only. I thank you for the comments. For some time to come I would like to absorb the views of all of you.

One thing that I would like to clarify at this point of time is that I am not advocating change in the name of "Industrial Engineering." I am advocating very strongly for retaining the name of industrial engineering. I am also advocating that every industrial engineer has to make sure that there is an effective industrial engineering department in their company which contributes significantly to the organization, the managers of this department manage their department well, and move into higher managerial positions in the organization both laterally and vertically.

That demands a unique role for IE in the business system. In our current definition Man, Machine and Material are prominently mentioned. My argument is that understanding of machine and material is common with engigeers of the specific discipline and understanding of man in a productive activity is the unique knowledge and skill of inudstrial engineer. His involvement or leadership of a production or a service delivery system or a business process is due to his unique understanding of the human factor. If industrial engineers do not have adequate understanding of human factor - its physical and mental abilities and disabilities in productive activities - they are a commodity competing with other management graduates, engineers and people from other disciplines without a proper strategy and battle gear.

Let us keep the discussion going. I started the handbook project www.nrao-ie-handbook.blogspot.com to document my views as well as your views on various topics of industrial engineering in a more formal documented manner. I request you to contribute article to the handbook on topics of your choice and liking to reflect your knowledge and experience in this field.

thanks once again

Kripa said...

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your efforts and we commend you for being the first to engage alumni in a intellectual discussion.
Also since you have already clarified that you are not advocating course name change so I will not add more on that topic.
Here is my 2 cents:
I went throgh your blog and your clarification on making IE unique compared to other desciplines.
You do have a point that not many descipline focus on the human aspects and focus on this aspect may make our descipline unique. However, the bigger question, is just being unique good enough? If it does not add value to a modern organization then it is of no value irrespective of its uniqueness.
I believe focus of IE on holistic approach, the hallmark of NITIE, will not only bring value to modern organization but also retain uniqueness of the descipline. I also believe that we should look beyond traditional relam of IE and look for new course which can add value. I think we should introduce some new courses/projects etc which inculcates culture of innovation and enterprenuership. As this is a post-graduate course so just learning descipline is not good enough.
We should also look at benchmarking ourselves with best in class courses in those desciplines. I believe this will add more value and uniqueness to ourcourses rather focus on a single piece.

Regards
Kripa

Kripa said...

Sir,
One practical suggestion, you can make 4 groups from current IE batch and ask them to do bench-marking with leading IE programs.
Groups can focus on leading programs in different regions like US,Europe and Asia(including India). You can ask one group to do survery from current students and alumni on the changes in current curriculum.

Regards
Kripa