The industrial engineer : caught between two revolutions?
CITATION: Du Preez, N. & Pintelon, L. 1994. The industrial engineer : caught between two revolutions?. South African Journal of Industrial Engineering, 8(2): 1-24, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7166/8-2-392.
The original publication is available at http://sajie.journals.ac.za
The Industrial Engineer is caught between the Industrial Revolution and the Information revolution. He is confronted with choosing between pragmatic improvements in productivity and efficiency of a single operation or the opportunistic modelling and reshaping of the networked "virtual enterprise" to become more competitive in a global marketplace. The diagram below depicts the different extremes of the Industrial Engineering timeline. This implies that the two societies (Industrial and information) might have conflicting characteristics which requires careful repositioning of the Industrial Engineer to ensure that the benefits that can be obtained from the two societies are maximised. This paper documents the development of Industrial engineering, then evaluates the nature of the much publicized Information revolution and its impact on society. In order to establish the nature and composition of contemporary Industrial Engineering in the 1990' s, an analysis and categorization of the literature in four journals for the last two years are performed. This is enhanced with an INTERNET search into Industrial Engineering Research and developments that are currently under development. From these results the similarities and differences of the two revolutions and the characteristics of the two societies are compared. The authors then identify some opportunities and some threats for the Industrial Engineer and concludes that a combined approach is applicable and necessary. The Industrial Engineer can not afford to ignore the key concepts of either of the two societies.
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