Industrial Engineering

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OTHER PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part two)

OTHER PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part two)

Gantt’s ideas covered a wider range than some of his predecessors. He was interested not only in standards and costs but also in the proper selection and training of workers and in the development of incentive plans to reward them. Although Gantt was considered by Taylor to be a true disciple, his disagreements with Taylor on several points led to the development of a “task work with bonus” system instead of Taylor’s “differential piece rate” system and explicit procedures for enabling workers to either protest or revise standards. He was also interested in scheduling problems and is best remembered for devising the Gantt chart: a systematic graphical procedure for planning and scheduling activities that is still widely used in project management.

In attendance were also the profession’s first educators including Hugo Diemer, who started the first continuing curriculum in industrial engineering at Pennsylvania State College in 1908; William Kent, who organized an industrial engineering curriculum at Syracuse University in the same year; Dexter Kimball, who presented an academic course in works administration at Cornell University in 1904; and C. Bertrand Thompson, an instructor in industrial organization at Harvard, where the teaching of Taylor’s concepts had been implemented. Consultants and industrial managers at the meeting included Carl Barth, Taylor’s mathematician and developer of special purpose slide rules for metal cutting; John Aldrich of the New England Butt Company, who presented the first public statement and films about micro- motion study; James Dodge, president of the Link-Belt Company; and Henry Kendall, who spoke of experiments in organizing personnel functions as part of scientific management in industry. Two editors present were Charles Going of the Engineering Magazine and Robert Kent, editor of the first magazine with the title of Industrial Engineering. Lillian Gilbreth was perhaps the only pioneer absent since at that time women were not admitted to ASME meetings.

Another early pioneer was Harrington Emerson. Emerson became a champion of efficiency independent of Taylor and summarized his approach in his book, the Twelve Principles of Efficiency. These principles, which somewhat paralleled Taylor’s teachings, were derived primarily through his work in the railroad industry. Emerson, who had reorganized the work shops of the Santa Fe Railroad, testified during the hearings of the Interstate Commerce Commission concerning a proposed railroad rate hike in 1910 to 1911 that scientific management could save “a million dollars a day.” Because he was the only “efficiency engineer” with firsthand experience in the railroad industry, his statement carried enormous weight and served to emblazon scientific management on the national consciousness. Later in his career he became particularly interested in selection and training of employees and is also credited with originating the term dispatching in reference to shop floor control, a phrase that undoubtedly derives from his railroad experience.

OTHER PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part one)

OTHER PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING (Part one)

In 1912, the originators and early pioneers, the first educators and consultants, and the managers and representatives of the first industries to adopt the concepts developed by Taylor and Gilbreth gathered at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in New York City. The all-day session on Friday, December 6, 1912, began with a presentation titled “The Present State of the Art of Industrial Management.” This report and the subsequent discussions provide insight and understanding about the origin and relative contributions of the individuals involved in the birth of a unique new profession: industrial engineering.

In addition to Taylor and Gilbreth, other pioneers present at this meeting included Henry Towne and Henry Gantt. Towne, who was associated with the Yale and Towne Manufacturing Company, used ASME as the professional society to which he presented his views on the need for a professional group with interest in the problems of manufacturing and management. This suggestion ultimately led to the creation of the Management Division of ASME, one of the groups active today in promoting and disseminating information about the art and science of management, including many of the topics and ideas industrial engineers are engaged in. Towne was also concerned with the economic aspects and responsibilities of the engineer’s job including the development of wage payment plans and the remuneration of workers. His work and that of Frederick Halsey, father of the Halsey premium plan of wage payment, advanced the notion that some of the gains realized from productivity increases should be shared with the workers creating them.

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - FRANK AND LILLIAN GILBRETH

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - FRANK AND LILLIAN GILBRETH

The other cornerstone of the early days of industrial engineering was provided by the husband and wife team of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Consumed by a similar passion for efficiency, Frank Gilbreth’s application of the scientific method to the laying of bricks produced results that were as revolutionary as those of Taylor’s shoveling experiment. He and Lillian extended the concepts of scientific management to the identification, analysis, and measurement of fundamental motions involved in performing work. By applying the motion-picture camera to the task of analyzing motions they were able to categorize the elements of human motions into 18 basic elements or therbligs. This development marked a distinct step forward in the analysis of human work, for the first time permitting analysts to design jobs with knowledge of the time required to perform the job. In many respects these developments also marked the beginning of the much broader field of human factors or ergonomics.

While their work together stimulated much research and activity in the field of motion study, it was Lillian who also provided significant insight and contributions to the human issues associated with their studies. Lillian’s book, The Psychology of Management (based on her doctoral thesis in psychology at Brown University), advanced the premise that because of its emphasis on scientific selection and training, scientific management offered ample opportunity for individual development, while traditional management stifled such development by concentrating power in a central figure. Known as the “first lady of engineering,” she was the first woman to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering and is generally credited with bringing to the industrial engineering profession a concern for human welfare and human relations that was not present in the work of many pioneers of the scientific management movement.

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - TAYLOR AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT (Part two)

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - TAYLOR AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT (Part two)

Taylor’s interest in what today we classify as the area of work measurement was also motivated by the information that studies of this nature could supply for planning activities. In this sense, his work laid the foundation for a broader “science of planning”: a science totally empirical in nature but one that he was able to demonstrate could significantly improve productivity. To Taylor, scientific management was a philosophy based not only on the scientific study of work but also on the scientific selection, education, and development of workers.

His classic experiments in shoveling coal, which he initiated at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1898, not only resulted in development of standards and methods for carrying out this task, but also led to the creation of tool and storage rooms as service departments, the development of inventory and ordering systems, the creation of personnel departments for worker selection, the creation of training departments to instruct workers in the standard methods, recognition of the importance of the layout of manufacturing facilities to ensure minimum movement of people and materials, the creation of departments for organizing and planning production, and the development of incentive payment systems to reward those workers able to exceed standard outputs. Any doubt about Taylor’s impact on the birth and development of industrial engineering should be erased by simply correlating the previously described functions with many of the fields of work and topics that continue to play a major role in the practice of the profession and its educational content at the university level.

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - TAYLOR AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT (Part one)

PIONEERS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - TAYLOR AND SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT (Part one)

While Frederick W. Taylor did not use the term industrial engineering in his work, his writings and talks are generally credited as being the beginning of the discipline. One cannot presume to be well versed in the origins of industrial engineering without reading Taylor’s books: Shop Management and The Principles of Scientific Management. An engineer to the core, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and developed several inventions for which he received patents. While his engineering accomplishments would have been sufficient to guarantee him a place in history, it was his contributions to management that resulted in a set of principles and concepts considered by Drucker to be “possibly the most powerful as well as lasting contribution America has made to Western thought since the Federalist Papers.”

The core of Taylor’s system consisted of breaking down the production process into its component parts and improving the efficiency of each. Paying little attention to rules of thumb and standard practices, he honed manual tasks to maximum efficiency by examining each component separately and eliminating all false, slow, and useless movements. Mechanical work was accelerated through the use of jigs, fixtures, and other devices many invented by Taylor himself. In essence, Taylor was trying to do for work units what Whitney had done for material units: standardize them and make them interchangeable.

Improvement of work efficiency under the Taylor system was based on the analysis and improvement of work methods, reduction of the time required to carry out the work, and the development of work standards. With an abiding faith in the scientific method, Taylor’s contribution to the development of “time study” was his way of seeking the same level of predictability and precision for manual tasks that he had achieved with his formulas for metal cutting.

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - INTERCHANGEABILITY OF PARTS

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - INTERCHANGEABILITY OF PARTS

Another key development in the history of industrial engineering was the concept of inter- changeable parts. The feasibility of the concept as a sound industrial practice was proven through the efforts of Eli Whitney and Simeon North in the manufacture of muskets and pistols for the U.S. government. Prior to the innovation of interchangeable parts, the making of a product was carried out in its entirety by an artisan, who fabricated and fitted each required piece. Under Whitney’s system, the individual parts were mass-produced to tolerances tight enough to enable their use in any finished product. The division of labor called for by Adam Smith could now be carried out to an extent never before achievable, with individual workers producing single parts rather than completed products. The result was a significant reduction in the need for specialized skills on the part of the workers a result that eventually led to the industrial environment, which became the object of study of Frederick W. Taylor.

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - SPECIALIZATION OF LABOR

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - SPECIALIZATION OF LABOR

The concepts presented by Adam Smith in his treatise The Wealth of Nations also lie at the foundation of what eventually became the theory and practice of industrial engineering. His writings on concepts such as the division of labor and the “invisible hand” of capitalism served to motivate many of the technological innovators of the Industrial Revolution to establish and implement factory systems. Examples of these developments include Arkwright’s implementation of management control systems to regulate production and the output of factory workers, and the well-organized factory that Watt, together with an associate, Matthew Boulton, built to produce steam engines. The efforts of Watt and Boulton and their sons led to the planning and establishment of the first integrated machine manufacturing facility in the world, including the implementation of concepts such as a cost control system designed to decrease waste and improve productivity and the institution of skills training for craftsmen. Many features of life in the twentieth century including widespread employment in large- scale factories, mass production of inexpensive goods, the rise of big business, and the existence of a professional manager class are a direct consequence of the contributions of Smith and Watt.

Another early contributor to concepts that eventually became associated with industrial engineering was Charles Babbage. The findings that he made as a result of visits to factories in England and the United States in the early 1800s were documented in his book entitled On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers. The book includes subjects such as the time required for learning a particular task, the effects of subdividing tasks into smaller and less detailed elements, the time and cost savings associated with changing from one task to another, and the advantages to be gained by repetitive tasks. In his classic example on the manufacture of straight pins, Babbage extends the work of Adam Smith on the division of labor by showing that money could be saved by assigning lesser-paid workers (in those days women and children) to lesser-skilled operations and restricting the higher-skilled, higher- paid workers to only those operations requiring higher skill levels. Babbage also discusses notions related to wage payments, issues related to present-day profit sharing plans, and even ideas associated with the organization of labor and labor relations. It is important to note, however, that even though much of Babbage’s work represented a departure from conventional wisdom in the early nineteenth century, he restricted his work to that of observing and did not try to improve the methods of making the product, to reduce the times required, or to set standards of what the times should be.

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

HISTORY OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING - THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

Even though historians of science and technology continue to argue about when industrial engineering began, there is a general consensus that the empirical roots of the profession date back to the Industrial Revolution, which began in England during the mideighteenth century. The events of this era dramatically changed manufacturing practices and served as the gene- sis for many concepts that influenced the scientific birth of the field a century later. The driving forces behind these developments were the technological innovations that helped mechanize many traditional manual operations in the textile industry. These include the flying shuttle developed by John Kay in 1733, the spinning jenny invented by James Hargreaves in 1765, and the water frame developed by Richard Arkwright in 1769. Perhaps the most important innovation, however, was the steam engine developed by James Watt in 1765. By making steam practical as a power source for a host of applications, Watt’s invention freed manufacturers from their reliance on waterpower, opening up far greater freedom of location and industrial organization. It also provided cheaper power, which led to lower production costs, lower prices, and greatly expanded markets. By facilitating the substitution of capital for labor, these innovations generated economies of scale that made mass production in centralized locations attractive for the first time. The concept of a production system, which lies at the core of modern industrial engineering practice and research, had its genesis in the factories created as a result of these innovations.

EARLY ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

EARLY ORIGINS OF INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING

Before entering into the history of the profession, it is important to note that the birth and evolution of industrial engineering are analogous to those of its engineering predecessors. Even though there are centuries old examples of early engineering practice and accomplishments, such as the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and the Roman construction projects, it was not until the eighteenth century that the first engineering schools appeared in France. The need for greater efficiency in the design and analysis of bridges, roads, and buildings resulted in principles of early engineering concerned primarily with these topics being taught first in military academies (military engineering). The application of these principles to non-military or civilian endeavors led to the term civil engineering. Interrelated advancements in the fields of physics and mathematics laid the groundwork for the development and application of mechanical principles. The need for improvements in the design and analysis of materials and devices such as pumps and engines resulted in the emergence of mechanical engineering as a distinct field in the early nineteenth century. Similar circumstances, albeit for different technologies, can be ascribed to the emergence and development of electrical engineering and chemical engineering. As has been the case with all these fields, industrial engineering developed initially from empirical evidence and understanding and then from research to develop a more scientific base.

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