Industrial and Systems Engineers focus on solving problems from a system-level perspective, which includes people, machines, materials, energy, technology, information and software. Industrial and Systems Engineers must design solutions that consider all of a system’s components so that everything works together to improve overall system performance.
As companies adopt management philosophies of continuous productivity and quality improvement to survive in the increasingly competitive world market, the need for Industrial and Systems Engineers is growing. Why? Industrial and Systems Engineers are the only engineering professionals who are trained as productivity and quality improvement specialists. They are leaders in six sigma and lean systems initiatives. The Industrial and Systems Engineer is synonymous with systems integrator – a big-picture thinker who takes what exists today and conceptualizes what should exist in the future.
A lot of engineers become disillusioned with the engineering profession because they get involved in minutiae or they end up on a CAD machine all the time and they never get out in the operating environment. ISE provides an opportunity for a challenging career working with people where you can have a direct impact on the success of an organization.
What others are saying about ISE
The ISE Department works with OU's Career Services
to identify internship opportunities for our students. Here is what some of our ISE students did during their paid internships.
Kimmy - Disney
I use my ISE knowledge to analyze and improve processes throughout the Disney World property. This term, I served on the Line of Business team working on food and beverage related projects. With tens of thousands of Guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort every day, it is critical they are able to receive efficient service so that they can make the most of their vacation.
Viki - Faurecia
I spent the last three years assisting in plant launches, designing plant layouts, workstation analysis and solving ergonomic issues. I traveled to several states and internationally to support various plants. I also participated on the SAP Implementation Team and was responsible for training all North American employees. My internship has been very fulfilling and has allowed me to utilize the ISE knowledge I gained through OU.
Daniel - Chrysler
I spent my summer at Chrysler's Warren Stamping, where I led a die change efficiency project. Through a WCM (World Class Manufacturing) tool called SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die), my team was able to go from an average changeover time of 54 minutes down to 4 minutes. It was really great to see involvement and teamwork between skilled trades and management.
David - Crittenton Hospital Medical Center
I spent four months working with the Central Distribution Department and performed time studies, data analysis and process flow mapping. With my findings, I proposed a new scheduling system, documents for work standardization, and a new process flow from the time supplies arrive at the hospital to when the patient uses them.
Matt - Argonne National Laboratory
I spent my summer performing powertrain vehicle testing. My goal was to collect an assortment of vehicles with different engine sizes and run several certified tests to determine the overall performance of each vehicle. Using this baseline study data, comparisons between the conventional vehicles of today and the advanced technology vehicles of the future can be established.
Dave - Rayconnect
I spent four months working for both the Quality and the Product Development Departments. I performed test validations on new products and metal quick connectors used by the automotive industry for fuel line connectors. These tests were to ensure quality and included assembly effort, pull-apart effort, leak, burst and lifecycle testing.
This is what some of our recent graduates are doing with their ISE degrees.
Matt Toter, 2013
I am currently at Williams International, where my responsibilities involve everything that an ISE would do to design and develop a production line. My role does not involve actually being on the line, but rather using software to help make the entire production process efficient and to minimize waste. I use simulation software to model the production line and run several what-if analysis situations. I also developed several macros to help our upper management see where waste can be reduced, and where bottlenecks could occur in our production lines. I would say the best part of my job is possessing ISE skills that help the company save money, lessen lead times and meet production deadlines. I knew growing up I wanted to be an engineer, but I was never sure what field of engineering I wanted. I started working in a packaging and warehouse facility when I was young and fell in love with process improvement. When I was determining what college to attend, it was suggested to me that I consider Industrial and Systems Engineering. Once I learned what that was, I knew I found my field of engineering. If you enjoy all fields of engineering and enjoy problem solving, ISE is the place for you. There is so much variety in this field, no two projects will be the same. It is constantly new and challenging.
Jacqueline Sinishtaj, 2012
I work at DTE Energy in Business Analytics and Continuous Improvement. I help solve problems and identify areas for improvement. The best part is I am continually learning, from corporate operations to advanced statistical analysis methods. I get to apply the ISE techniques and methods I learned at Oakland to real world problems, which forces one to think outside the box. Currently I am working on projects involving Business Analytics and Continuous Improvement. Business analytics uses statistical methods for understanding and developing new insights into business performance. I also verify the Gas Dispatch forecast model, and test model performance compared to real time data. I chose a career in Industrial and Systems Engineering because it is a very diverse field of engineering. ISE's can work in any industry doing a variety of jobs from statistical analysis to line balancing to designing safer and more human-friendly products.
Alex Bodea, 2011
After successfully completing three student co-op rotations, alternating school and work, I had the opportunity to join DTE Energy as a full-time employee. I started in the Customer Satisfaction department and yes, I asked myself too what an engineer can do for customer satisfaction. In a few weeks I realized the possibilities, benefits and advantages of an ISE: Customer satisfaction is just another example of the many ISE applications. The three main focus channels in customer satisfaction are what I consider the three backbones of the ISE: statistical analysis including quality, operations research and systems analysis. The best part of my job is the never-ending challenges created by the intangible products of the utility business, the variety and variability of the customer-driven industry, and the complexity of the processes. These challenges are always keeping me focused, open-minded, and stimulating my creativity. ISE allows me to fulfill so many aspects of my professional life, as well as my personal life!
Bobby Tibedeau, 2010
I am a process engineer at medical device manufacturer Enovate It. My job mainly deals with time studies, standard work instructions, plant layout (we are moving to a new building soon and I am responsible for the assembly line layout) and process improvement. I am also responsible for making assembly of our products run as efficient and productive as possible. The best part of my job is that every day is different, and that I split my time between an office and an assembly floor. I am also responsible for finding solutions to any problems that arise during production, and implementing them in a timely manner. People who go into the production aspect of ISE should be prepared for a fast-paced workday with new challenges that occur each day. The opportunity to face these challenges is why I chose ISE.
Sarah Gothamy, 2009
As an Industrial and Systems Engineer at DTE Energy, I have participated in several continuous improvement projects aimed at streamlining processes and reducing cost. In order to improve a process, one needs to critically observe the process and have an understanding of how it works by mapping it out and identifying which areas require improvements. I find Industrial and Systems Engineering a very rewarding and fulfilling career. The best part of my job is seeing the improvements and the savings that can come from the work that I have done. When I improve on a process, I am able to see the direct correlation of the work I have done and the impact it has on the company. This is the most rewarding part of my job, which is something that makes me want to go to work every day looking for new opportunities for improvements.