Consistent with the American Society of Industrial Engineers (ASIE), Industrial Engineering is concerned with the design, improvement and installation of integrated systems of labor, materials, equipment and space. It draws on specialized knowledge and skill in the mathematical, physical, social, and computer sciences together with the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design to specify, predict, measure, and evaluate the results to be obtained from such systems.
The Industrial Engineering program has been started at Mekelle University in 1997 as a department and in the following year it started offering the program at Bahir Dar University. A graduate program in Industrial Engineering was then introduced in 1998/99 at Addis Ababa University.
When an Industry is established, it needs an integrated system in order to optimally use all types of resources. However, in developing countries like Ethiopia, business owners think to be profitable without bothering to systematically integrate and optimize organizational resources. This implies that they do not think strategically to be competitive in the companies’ long term existence. In this regard, the key contributions of Industrial Engineers in the Industrial transformation of Ethiopia need to be clearly estimated some of which are to enhance the technology and productivity of Ethiopian Industries, to devise methods of simplifying manufacturing processes, to improve quality of products, and to exceed customers satisfaction.
Due to the fact that Ethiopian companies are not fully integrated with the global supply chain, they encounter less competition from their counterparts in the other part of the world. Different studies have also showed that Ethiopian industries have quality problems of their products and processes. In reality, however, if Ethiopian companies cannot make themselves ready to sustain the near future’s competition they may face from the global competition, it is so difficult to predict that these will stay long in the market. It can be simply observed that companies which are established via Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) have relatively well defined production systems than that of locally owned manufacturing establishments.
On the other hand, it can be observed that the involvement of local investors in the manufacturing industry is limited. This is resulted from the fact that they can get attractive profits by simply involving in the service industry. In these cases also, it is difficult to imagine that short-term profits are strategic solutions for Ethiopia. Rather, establishing manufacturing industries which are capable of competing in the global market is the only long-term solution for Ethiopia’s industrial transformation.
Industrial Engineers have to lead or contribute their hands more than any other engineering profession in the country’s industrial transformation process. As a result, this consultative forum is intended for making Industrial Engineering to have a common understanding on their contribution in the country’s transformation process; to deal with designing a means that Industrial Engineers can contribute a combined effort in the industrialization process; and eventually to pave a way to communicate with stakeholders in general and with the industrial community in particular.
As of recent years however, the academic and industrial community has expressed the requirement of graduates of different specializations in Industrial Engineering with innovative skills to take part in the country’s academic, economic, industrial development. It is believed that the industrial transformation process needs highly trained & skilled Industrial Engineers.
Adopted from ,A proposal for: A High Level Industrial Engineering Forum
Theme: “Industrial Engineers – Prospects for Engineering & Accelerating Ethiopia’s Industrial Transformation” Organizer: Faculty of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, BiT