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Industrial engineering as an inter-disciplinary profession

Industrial Revolution

There is a general consensus among historians that the roots of the industrial engineering profession date back to the Industrial Revolution. The technologies that helped mechanize traditional manual operations in the textile industry including the flying shuttle, the spinning jenny, and perhaps most importantly the steam engine generated economies of scale that made Mass production in centralized locations attractive for the first time. The concept of the production system had its genesis in the factories created by these innovations.[

Specialization of labor

Watt’s steam engine (Technical University of Madrid)

Adam Smith’s concepts of Division of Labour and the “Invisible Hand” of capitalism introduced in his treatise “The Wealth of Nations” motivated many of the technological innovators of the Industrial revolution to establish and implement factory systems. The efforts of James Watt and Matthew Boulton led to the first integrated machine manufacturing facility in the world, including the implementation of concepts such as cost control systems to reduce waste and increase productivity and the institution of skills training for craftsmen.[

Charles Babbage became associated with Industrial engineering because of the concepts he introduced in his book “On the Economy of Machinery and Manufacturers” which he wrote as a result of his visits to factories in England and the United States in the early 1800s. The book includes subjects such as the time required to perform a specific task, the effects of subdividing tasks into smaller and less detailed elements, and the advantages to be gained from repetitive tasks.