Industrial Engineers: Giving Business the Edge

April 9, 2011


Industrial Engineer is a professional that integrates men, machine, material and energy by tapping on knowledge from fields of natural science, management science, behavioral science and sociology. The complex multidimensional training equips them with methods and techniques that give business the edge. The edge for business is advantage to outperform competitors on financial, market and human civilization indicators.

These professionals are critical skill in the Southern African economy.

primary economy

This economic stratum is mainly agriculture and mining. It is production of raw material. Industrial Engineering opportunities are gigantic such as facility layout designing, material handling, mining operations automation, agricultural production automation, safety management systems designing, quality management designing and decision support modeling.  

The penetration of industrial engineers is very low in economic sector. Mining companies and farmers do not use Industrial Engineers extensively. Food insecurity driven by soil mishandling and ocean exploitation is pushing requirement for productivity that can brought by Industrial Engineers.   

Secondary economy

This economic layer is made up logistics and manufacturing. It is beneficiating the raw material. The industrial training of academic institutions is focus on this layer. This is because the big player in this environment hires most Industrial Engineers in this region. Companies like Eskom, Transnet, Post Office and Imperial highly utilizes industrial engineering. Diffusion is high in this layer with exception of construction industry. There is no doubt that industrial engineering has saved many organizations in this layer from bankruptcy.

There is still challenge of getting Industrial Engineers at strategic management and Board Level in this layer.

tertiary Economy

 There is still shortage of industrial engineers in Academic Institutions. Practicing Industrial Engineers should be available for part-time lecturing and advisory committee participation.

Public service has not embraced industrial engineering. It is unfortunate because that is where solutions of decision support that is information systems and operational research, process monitoring and architectural design functions are urgently needed.

Service industry is slow in introducing industrial engineering. This industrial is way behind their international counterparts. This disadvantage is our company on highly competitive global markets. This organization need pump Industrial Engineers to increase value for their customers and get the edge.


The Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineering has lot of work to do. It has to make this profession in all sectors of our economy to give our industry an edge. Individual companies are advised to optimal utilized this critical skill.

presented by sbusiso Xaba- SAIIE gauteng branch CHAIRMAN TO southern african institute of industrial engineering:

university of johannesburg student branch




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