6 Skills For Industrial Engineers (And Their Importance)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The job of an industrial engineer requires a distinct set of skills. These professionals may use a variety of technical and interpersonal skills to complete their daily tasks. Learning more about these skills can help you develop the right abilities to succeed in this career.

In this article, we discuss what an industrial engineer is, what industrial engineering skills are, provide a list of skills for industrial engineers, explore the importance of these skills and how you may improve them and look at a few certifications that can improve your career prospects in industrial engineering.

What are skills for industrial engineers?

Skills for industrial engineers are a unique set of abilities that allow industrial engineers to successfully perform their roles. Given the complexity of the role, a successful industrial engineer requires a mix of soft and hard skills. Besides industry-specific knowledge, they need the skills to design specific systems and processes, implement them and assess their impact.

What is an industrial engineer?

Industrial engineers work on designing, creating, testing and assessing the different ways to manage industrial production processes. They work with the primary goal of discovering new ways to make these processes more efficient. These engineers implement systems to integrate all the different production components of a service or a product, like the machines, employees, energy, raw materials and information. Some of the most common industrial engineering tasks are:

  • analysing various components of manufacturing processes, like schedules, flows and specifications, to understand all methods and activities involved

  • creating management control systems for improving cost analysis and financial planning efficiency

  • reducing costs and production issues by implementing quality control procedures

  • designing and implementing control systems, ensuring that all products meet certain quality standards

  • advising clients regarding product specifications

Related: What Is An Industrial Engineer? (With Skills And Salary)

6 essential industrial engineer skills

Consider developing these skills to help you succeed as an industrial engineer:

1. Communication

As most industrial processes involve multiple employees and departments, industrial engineers use written and verbal communication skills to coordinate and implement their plans and procedures. Successfully performing the role requires the ability to maintain communication with multiple departments at a time and persuade employees and management that the methods you want to implement can improve industrial efficiency. Successful relationship management with everyone involved in the development and production processes typically results in higher productivity.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

2. Problem-solving

An industrial engineer's main role is making systems and processes more efficient, and having a natural problem-solving ability is one of the most important skills for the job. This ability means that successful industrial engineers can detect various issues, analyse their nature and causes, design ways to resolve them and implement these ways. This process requires a distinct set of sub-skills, such as critical thinking and the ability to focus.

3. Quality management

To improve efficiency, industrial engineers first identify the areas that require improvement. This requires them to manage quality-control operations and continuously look for elements of the development and manufacturing processes that are not up to standard. As part of the quality control process, they also manage relationships with suppliers and make sure all raw components are up to certain quality standards.

4. Project planning

Project-planning skills are essential to industrial engineers, as they coordinate personnel and machinery in a way that ensures that project completion happens on time and within standards. Each project requires an optimum amount of labour force and technology. Industrial engineers work to determine that amount without taking up too much or too little of the company's resources. This implies scheduling based on expertise and availability and creating strict schedules for machinery use.

5. Management

The job of an industrial engineer involves managing personnel and resources. They identify the right employees for each task, motivate them to maintain high professional standards and direct their work. As for resource management, they make sure that all equipment, facilities and raw materials are available and used appropriately.

Related: What Is Management? Definition, Functions And Levels

6. Critical thinking

Industrial engineers often use logic and reasoning to identify the advantages and downsides of each proposed solution. Critical thinking skills also help them resolve complex problems and implement ways to fix or mitigate them in a way that uses an optimum amount of company resources. Given the limited time and resources at their disposal, it is important for them to think critically when prioritising one action over another.

Why are industrial engineering skills important?

Industrial engineers work on designing, creating, testing and assessing various ways of managing industrial production processes with the primary goal of making these processes more efficient. Their role is very important for the continued progress and innovation in any industry. It is very important for these professionals to possess the right skills so that they can perform their roles appropriately. When these professionals possess the right skills, they may help their organisations in controlling production costs through improved efficiency, which then leads to greater profits.

Related: Writing An Industrial Engineer Resume (Template And Example)

How to improve your industrial engineering skills

Here are a few steps you may follow to improve your industrial engineering skills:

1. Stay updated on current techniques

Industrial engineering concepts and techniques may change frequently. It is important you keep yourself updated with the latest trends. You may gain new knowledge and improve your existing concepts by attending seminars, lectures and conferences.

2. Find a mentor

Working with a mentor, such as a senior professional in this field, may be helpful. A mentor may help you in establishing new contacts in your field and may also teach you new skills. They may also provide insights into the direction and purpose of working as an industrial engineer.

3. Learn through on-the-job training

The training you receive while working is an effective method to improve your skills. With on-the-job training, you may instantly use what you learn in your work. Consider taking notes during your work about the new things you learn, so you may later recall how your learnings pertain to your career in a practical and relevant way.

4 in-demand industrial engineering certifications

Consider earning these certifications to improve your career prospects as an industrial engineer:

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Earning the project management professional certification shows potential and current employers that you are exceptionally competent at project management. It has certain educational and experience requirements, like a four-year degree, at least 36 months of project leading experience and 35 hours of project management training. The certification exam assesses the candidate's ability to demonstrate their knowledge of project management in various stages of a project, such as initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and closing.

2. Six sigma black belt certification

Earning this certification shows that you can lead teams, understanding relationship dynamics, distinct roles and specific responsibilities. The certification pre-requirements are at least two years of education and training after high school and at least two years of relevant work experience. The exam consists of 150 questions and takes a maximum of four hours. Renewal happens every three years.

3. Certified Quality Engineer (CQE)

This certification shows that you understand the main principles of quality control for both products and services. Candidates require at least two years of work experience and the exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions, out of which scoring happens for 160. The certification requires renewal every three years.

4. Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE)

This certification is appropriate if you want to improve your credentials as an industrial engineer specialising in manufacturing processes. Pursuing it requires at least eight years of manufacturing-related combined experience and education, with at least four of these years being direct work experience. The Certified Manufacturing Engineer exam takes a maximum of four hours and is open-book. Candidates receive approximately 180 multiple-choice questions from pre-recommended reading materials. Candidates with a score of at least 60% are considered successful.

Related: How To List Certifications On A Resume (With Examples)

What is the average salary of an industrial engineer?

The national average salary of an industrial engineer is ₹33,916 per month. The salary may depend on the job location, certifications, years of experience and the company. Industrial engineers with a master's degree and certain certifications may be able to negotiate for higher salaries.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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