Comparison Between Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

The difference between industrial and manufacturing engineering changes according to the sector of as industry and the country of origin. An American owned company based in another country uses American terms that are familiar with the management team. In some cases these terms are taken to mean one and the same thing and are used interchangeably.

However there are clear distinctions which can help a person to use the most appropriate term. There are instances where it is very easy to classify a job to be one or the other relative to the industry or job description. A problem arises when a role is at the middle of the overlap of the two disciplines making it difficult to make a correct term of defining the job. This together with continuous improvement in engineering, production and increase in company size, calls for use of more descriptive terms. This is because there is a shift of focus on an individual which necessitates use of concise terms.

A manufacturing engineer role rotates around reporting of production data to management and working together with the supervisors. They are only concerned about the day to day activities where the industrial focuses on the long term ones. An industrial engineer on the other hand is connected to the continuous process associated with unstructured product contrary to the production of distinct products with a specific shape.

If the company produces goods in bulk then manufacturing engineer is the most appropriate term to use. Nevertheless one should not confuse industrial engineering with industrial design. Unlike Industrial engineering industrial designer require more artistic and human skills.

Industrial engineering is a branch of that is involved a myriad activities. This includes designing, developing and implementing systems of machines, humans, and information to provide services and goods to consumers. Engineers in this field have specialized skills and expertise in management science, IT, manufacturing processes research in operations, automation and production. Manufacturing engineering on the other hand deals with the designing of the physical pieces, technology and production processes.

There is an overwrap in function between these two branches of engineering with industrial engineering being a broader field compared to the other. This therefore implies that engineers from these fields sometimes share functions and one can work in the place of the other. Industrial engineering is a broad branch dealing with many factors most of which comes from manufacturing department. This includes analysis of work method, work evaluation, establishment of performance standards, job improvement. Manufacturing engineers deal within a limited field that involves the technical part of production whereas the industrial engineering incorporates people in designing.

To effectively do this, industrial engineers have to understand physiological, physical and psychological factors that affect persons and groups in performance. They have to come up with the best management systems that bring out the best from the workers by promoting team work and properly motivating them (Zhou, 2010). They are therefore required to have adequate information in management and human cognitive science. In hiring of new workers, they have the role of determining the human resource and skills needed by the company.

They have the responsibility of planning training programs, establishing performance standards and evaluating salaries and incentive program. They also carry out investigations aimed at improving industrial health and eliminating fire and other hazards that may face workers. They also investigate facilities to ensure that they are safe for use. They do this by supervising technicians, analysts, administrative staff, technologists and other engineers.

Manufacturing engineers are concerned about bringing about effective production of good or services. Industrial engineers go a step further: they look for the most effective and efficient technique and processes for an operating system to produce continuous improvement. They are very crucial to an organization as they help it develop and magnify when situations are favorable and also put costs at check by consolidating resources during the lean periods.

These two fields apply information technology and computer knowledge in activities such as numerically controlled machines installation and programming, computer aided manufacturing, designing experiments, computer simulation, research, development of software, system design and integration (Pang, 2004). Manufacturing engineering is entwined to production of good through application of scientific principles.

These disciplines show a noticeable overwrap in function. They both utilize the basic principles of engineering, industrial economics and management in scheming successful production and manufacturing systems. They plan and scheme facilities and layouts, review new machinery and inventions and recommend the best blend. They come up with supple manufacturing techniques and procedures. They also carry out researches to determine ways of optimizing production by maximizing resource and machinery use. They analyses the costs of production and work out simplification programs.

In conclusion, it is important to note that these two fields of engineering are central to a company. This is because for a company to register great success, it should have high levels of organization and planning: a role effectively done by industrial/manufacturing engineers. They also ensure there is smooth running of both human and machinery by proper integration and harmonization of procedures. For larger companies, clear definition of the job that the engineers are involved in is important to ensure that there is clarity of purpose and responsibility. That is why it is important that the people involved know what tasks fall under one or the other discipline.


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The larger circle represents Industrial engineering discipline and the small one represents manufacturing discipline. The region of overwrap shows the overwrap in function between these two disciplines.


Pang, P. N. T. (2004). Essentials of manufacturing engineering management. New York: Universe.

Zhou, Z., Wang, H., & Lou, P. (2010). Manufacturing intelligence for industrial engineering: Methods for system self-organization, learning, and adaptation. Hershey, PA: Engineering Science Reference.


———————–Industrial engineering

Manufacturing engineering