The IE Formula

I used to say that being an IE (as in BSIE) was my choice but being an IE (the job) was not my plan.

When I was in 4th-year high school, I wanted to either be an accountant or a Chemical Engineer. It all changed when my aunt’s BFF’s brother explained to me what being an Industrial Engineer was all about. It did not end there because a month later, it was my friend’s father who convinced me to try Industrial Engineering. So during the freshman enrollment, there I was falling in line under “BSIE 1.”

Two months before graduation, I joined the campus job fair in the hope of landing a job as a Quality Control Engineer. A week after the graduation, I went to the final interview, and to my surprise, the offer was an IE job instead of a QA! The disappointment was short-lived because I learned to love my job afterwards.

I learned that being an IE is not all about Motion and Time study. An IE must know the principles of Productivity, Efficiency, Quality and Human Factors by heart. When the system is working good given these principles, there will be profit because of lesser costs.

I learned that being an IE means spending at least 60% of your time in the shop floor. You need to see the problems. Do not rely on the data given to you. Always challenge the data, even the ones that you, yourself have prepared.

I learned that it was hard to convince that the work and time standards that you set were good. Some would even question how you conducted the motion and time study. Do not get intimidated by angry subjects and process owners because it is our job to set the correct work and time standard. Do not get influenced by fake productivity or even fake unproductivity. When you are confident about your data and as well as the number of samples you took, the margin of error would be small and insignificant to affect the time standard. This is also the reason why I encourage you to spend more time in the shop floor because you can see any obvious production variations that happened within the shift. Do not be too bookish, either. The purpose of shop floor immersion is for you to get familiar with the individual capabilities of the machines or manpower. Listen to the workers’ feedback and make an objective and thorough analysis to avoid suggesting a wrong solution. Make a realistic timeline of your study and avoid falling into the trap of focusing on the “favorite problem” of the process, work station or manpower.

There are available tools that can help you analyze better and faster like the software for statistical process control, lay-outing, simulation, and even motion and time study. But of course, you need to be familiar with the different formulas so that you can validate if the software is giving you the correct answer or you can check if you set the correct parameters.

Attached is the most common IE formulas for our common reference.