While it looks nothing like most other engineering fields which manipulate physical principles in nature, Industrial engineering does manipulate social and economic principles in conjunction with the physical ones to optimize production.

Ultimately, they work towards making the most of time, human and material resources.

Blending the study of natural science courses like physics and mathematics with the study of social sciences, it creates a balance of technical know-how and management skills to create an efficient production process.


The goal of the Industrial Engineer is to strike a balance between client satisfaction and company’s production cost.

Because of this, he tweaks each factor of production as much as he can, brings up solutions to production problems as they arise and develops systems that will optimize production time without compromising quality.


While other engineering fields are focused on differential equations and continuous variable math to predict the effect of changes of natural factors to the designed structure, Industrial Engineering focuses on difference equations and discrete variable because there are only a finite number of permutations allowable for a fixed number of variables.

I know that sounded a bit too heavy so let me break it down a bit.

Let’s use the Marine Engineering field for an example. Let’s say we wanted to calculate the effect of wind drag on the hull of a ship that would be carrying ‘X’ Kg of cargo from the U.S. to Nigeria.

While the distance between both locations is fixed, we cannot accurately predetermine the force with which the wind will blow to create drag. The drag will cause the ship to roll and pitch and heave at different angles thus shifting the center of gravity of the ship to multiple locations within a matter of seconds.

We also cannot accurately predetermine these shifts in the ship’s center of gravity to calculate the reaction of the ship to the drag force. Because of this, we have to come up with an equation that can serve as an effective principle so that we can correctly deduce the values of these variables per time.

Ultimately, there is no maximum or minimum result we can hope to get. Our results depend on what the wind gives to us at each moment.

The equations that lead to this result, therefore, must be able to accommodate a wide range of values for a factor that is continuously changing mostly with response to time and are called, Differential equations.

On the other hand, let’s imagine that an Industrial Engineer has to calculate how much time it would take for an engineering company to attain a certain level of profit based on the current state of the company.

He/she has a fixed number of variables. He knows how many personnel currently work in the company and how many hours they put in. he knows the production capacity of each machinery.

He knows the customer base value and how much each commodity is sold at. These information are rather fixed and can only go so far.

Though the profits could change as he/she alters each variable, there is a limit to the changes he/she can make. The machineries can’t increase their maximum production capacity and, no matter what humans do, we can never have more than 24 hours a day.

His/her equations thus are always within strict limits. They require discrete values and are difference equations.


Industrial is becoming increasingly important because of the major shift most engineering firms are making towards lean manufacturing systems which require perfect production and delivery with waste reduced to the barest minimum.

People who engage in this course get to learn the principles behind this and get sought for by many firms. That’s the amazing part of this field- while it is specially designed for the engineering field; it can be absorbed by firms of all the other fields because its knowledge is a necessity.

Students will likely spend 4-5 years studying this course in University, depending on the institution and the country of study. The specialization also depends on the school or country.

Some nations focus more on the managerial aspect while others focus more on the technical part.

Whatever the case might be, people who study this course master the principles that guide profit maximization. Would you like to study this course? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

Allgain Dilosa

Dilosi Allgain is a Nigerian Science and tech expert. A graduate of mechanical Engineering (power and machines).

Because he likes Science and Technology stories and its related information, he creates contents that relate to these fields and hopes you will like and follow his posts.

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