SUNConferences, 27th Annual Conference of the SA Institute for Industrial Engineering

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The Impact of Major Enviromental, Social and Economic Forces on the Field of Industrial Enigineering
Hasan Darwish

Last modified: 2016-09-16


Every profession is bound to adapt in response to changes in the macro environments. Industrial Engineering is especially affected due to its broad application across various fields, i.e. manufacturing, customer service design, consulting and more. This article argues that the need for change is envisaged to be radical due the deep-rootedness of Industrial Engineering in specific areas where environmental, social and economic (ESE) forces are prompting fundamental transformation. This transformation often manifests itself in an evolving technology. The argument of this article is that 1) Means of production are changing due to 3D printing and additive manufacturing 2) Employees work arrangements and corporate structures are changing 3) Customer behaviour is changing due to sharing and knowledge economy 4) Supply chains are changing (supply/demand) due to drones and radically different supply/demand relationships 5) Human concerns/values (such as education, health and other concerns) are changing. Therefore, Industrial Engineering must adapt to these changes due to its connection with these fields. This article further addresses the major forces impacting Industrial Engineering from 3 starting points: top down (macro-landscape challenge view), bottom-up (technology impact view) and middle ground (IE sub-discipline point of view).


Industrial Engineering; Economic Forces; Social Forces; Environmental Forces; Impact Analysis