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Integrating Core Industrial Engineering Courses Through A Manufacturing Case Study

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.244.1 - 2.244.5

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Paper Authors

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Susan L. Murray

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2457

Integrating Core Industrial Engineering Courses Through A Manufacturing Case Study

Susan L. Murray, Ph.D., P.E. Engineering Management Department University of Missouri-Rolla Rolla, Missouri 65409-0370, USA


This paper presents a summary of research conducted by a team of students from the University of Missouri-Rolla. The manufacturing processes at a local firm were evaluated. The case study illustrates the benefits of applying ergonomic, safety, work measurement, and quality assessment tools together. Additionally this team approach illustrates the importance of educating engineering students to think across course and discipline lines. The paper concludes with generalized recommendations for other educational applications.


Frequently engineering students and practicing engineers approach problems from a single perceptive. They tend to define problems as an ergonomics problem, a productivity problem, or a quality problem; rather, than seeing the broad cross-discipline nature of the problem. This not only limits the 'solutions' to the problems, but can also reduce the effectiveness of the engineer in justifying his or her solution. For example, despite ergonomics' recent wave of popularity, some ergonomists have continued to struggle to identify, quantify, justify, and correct ergonomic issues in a systematic fashion. Opponents argue that ergonomic hazards are difficult to quantify and costly to address. Similarly quality engineers often recommend changes to a manufacturing process only to find the suggestions are rejected. They are told that the changes are costly and the company cannot afford to make the changes.

There is a solution to this perception that safety, ergonomics, and quality compete against productivity. Operational analysis should be approached in an integrated fashion to process improvement. This type of approach is possible because often improvements in one area will also result in improvements in the other areas. For example, an improvement that reduces the physical demand of the work task will likely reduce the potential of worker injury caused by cumulative trauma or accident. This often results in productivity improvements due to the worker working more efficiently. It may also lead to improved quality, if the worker is less fatigued and more comfortable.


Murray, S. L. (1997, June), Integrating Core Industrial Engineering Courses Through A Manufacturing Case Study Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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