Industrial and Systems Engineering

Office: 2143 Manufacturing Engineering Building, 4815 Fourth St.; 313-577-3821
Interim Chairperson: Ratna Babu Chinnam

The industrial engineer is a broadly-trained integration engineer, concerned with enabling complex systems to function effectively. Managing the inventory of a production facility, for example, involves issues of production and stocking policy, manufacturing equipment, human resources, customer demand, and supplier relationships. The industrial engineer must understand the interaction of the components of a system, and coordinate the flow of materials and information to effectively manage the operation. The industrial engineer plays an important role in defining information needs and developing strategies for decision-making based on incomplete knowledge. However, the skills of the industrial engineer have much greater application than to traditional production environments. In a growing service sector of the economy including health care delivery, public safety, air transportation, and banking, for example, issues of resource management, scheduling, quality of service, and systems design are important.

Traditionally, the manufacturing engineer was responsible for developing the process capability to realize the output of design engineering. Today the boundary between design and manufacturing engineering is becoming blurred; both groups work together in teams to assure the soundness of design and production capability. The manufacturing engineer must have an understanding of the design process, but the manufacturing engineer's special expertise is the knowledge of the production process.

Today’s production is computer-based and provides flexibility through computer control. The manufacturing engineer is responsible for designing and implementing the cells and production lines which become the basic units of manufacturing. Increasingly, such production units are becoming parts of an integrated factory system, not simply islands of automation. The manufacturing engineer must understand the multi-layered control architecture of the integrated factory, and the computer-based technologies which enable it.

The Department maintains laboratories in systems simulation, computer-aided manufacturing, human systems, and concurrent engineering design.