Industrial Engineering

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THE HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part II)

THE HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part II)

In the United States during the later part of the nineteenth century more developments where being made that would lead to the formalization of industrial engineering. Henry R. Towne stressed the economic aspect of an engineer’s job. How was the engineer going to improve the bottom line for the company? Towne belonged to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as did many other early American pioneers in this new field. It was to the ASME that Towne expressed the need to develop a field focused on manufacturing systems. The IE handbook says the, "ASME was the breeding ground for industrial engineering."[2] Towne along with Fredrick A. Halsey worked on developing and presenting wage incentive plans to the ASME. It was out of these meetings that the Halsey premium plan of wage payment developed. The purpose of his plan was to increase the productivity of workers without negatively affecting the cost of production. The plan also suggested that some of the gains be shared with the employees as an incentive to keep it going. This is one early example of one profit sharing plan.
Henry L. Gantt also belonged to the ASME and was interested in selection of workers and their training. He, like Towne and Halsey, would present papers to the ASME on topics such as cost, selection of workers, training, good incentive plans, and scheduling of work. He is the originator of the Gantt chart, currently the most popular chart used in scheduling of work. Today however, the Gantt chart is coupled with statistics to make more accurate predictions. Other types of charts that have developed out of the early scheduling efforts are the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Mapping (CPM).

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