Wed. Sep 27th, 2023
    Industrial Engineering: Improving Systems and Embracing Digital Transformation

    Industrial engineering (IE) is a vital but often overlooked field of engineering that focuses on cost reduction, savings, and system improvement. In the Philippines, industrial engineers have played a key role in streamlining product lines for efficiency and optimizing vaccination queues to accommodate more people. In a recent B-Side episode, Rodel “Audi” E.C. Adiviso, the founder of the Philippine Institute of Industrial Engineers (PIIE), and Jerry A. Lim, the current president, discussed how IE can address modern-day challenges and evolve in the era of digital transformation.

    IE goes hand in hand with technological advancements as it merges management expertise with engineering principles. Adiviso emphasized that the relevance of IE lies in timely product delivery, efficient services, and cost savings for factories and companies. Moreover, Lim highlighted that at the core of IE principles is the continuous pursuit of improving systems, even with existing technology.

    The brilliance of IE has already been demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adiviso mentioned that clients approached them, seeking solutions to overcrowding in vaccination centers. By observing the bottleneck issues, IEs were able to recommend improvements in form filling and queuing systems, resulting in a smoother flow. Additionally, an IE was responsible for introducing the rapid pass system using QR codes for easy access to malls and establishments.

    The term “kaizen,” meaning “continuous improvement” in Japanese, captures the mindset of IE professionals. They constantly seek better ways of doing things by analyzing data and finding solutions. Despite not having a government-mandated board exam, IE professionals can obtain certification through the PIIE certification exam, which has gained recognition from big companies that are now prioritizing certified industrial engineers.

    While the certification program has contributed to the relevance of IE, emerging technologies are reshaping the skillsets required in the field. Data analysis and problem-solving abilities are becoming crucial, and IE remains the field of engineering that provides the most training in these areas. The alliance between IE professionals and computer scientists translates the flow of information into practical formulas and numbers for effective use.

    AI and machine learning are expected to play significant roles in various systems. Adiviso mentioned that traffic congestion can be addressed using operations research to develop algorithms that optimize traffic flow. Other countries, like Taiwan, already utilize synchronized traffic lights to regulate intersections based on traffic volume. In the Philippines, such technologies are still being explored.

    PIIE, on its 25th anniversary, plans to hold a research conference in October to focus on digital transformation, sustainability, and artificial intelligence. The Filipino IE community’s immediate concern is creatively maximizing the resources currently available. While there may be challenges in catching up with wealthier nations in terms of the Internet of Things, robotics, and AI, the IE discipline acknowledges its role in nation building by optimizing existing resources and systems.

    Source: BusinessWorld