Pakistan-a heaven for industrial engineers!

IT HAS been a great journey till now and I got to observe the world from a new dimension. Industrial engineers (IE) is really a guru to me in a way that no other engineering discipline could have taught me so well. The characteristic is that it develops a technical and analytical mind into a humane integrated form of an innovator is its endowment to the society.

Having gone through the basic IE education at University of Management and Technology, Lahore, I have become very optimistic rather curious that industrial engineering indeed has a great future in the country. This is a state suffering from inefficiency from upstairs to the downstairs; under developed in virtually every sector of life. It is a place where time studies, process optimizations, operations management, operations research, engineering management, human factors, logistics etc. All at the moment can play a vital role in substantially every section of the authorities.

Government and private departments in Pakistan at the moment are suffering at the hands of corrupt and inefficient leadership. They have made their own illegal processes fast and productive but at the cost of the collapsed native systems. Due to this however, I believe it seems as though government is actually creating job opportunities for industrial engineers in this region; “Seems like we will be having a lot of work to do in the future, ha-ha!”

industrial engineersI have a keen interest in observing processes that I am surrounded with, whether it is to produce a tangible product or to serve in the opposite. In my country, queue lengths which add a lot of waste to a particular system are so common that an Industrial Engineer can earn a living just by attending them. We have lengthy waiting lines in our hospitals, local zoo, admission offices, car parking, restaurants, shopping centers, banks and now even worse we have it at “Tandoors” (a local cooking service, where “roti” a food made from wheat is baked for the poor at a low cost). Every day I sit and ask myself how could I improve these systems and be able to make them more productive for my society. Especially for the hospitals in my local town, we need a lot of extensive research work and dedication to solve various issues regarding hospital management, patient care, data management, its availability and quality.

Pakistan is the 4th largest cotton producer in the world, according to the “Leading producer countries” in Wikipedia. Our agriculture industry is well known in the world. This region is blessed with four seasons of the world with a good balance for the taste of all, especially the summer. This environment thus produces a huge variety of fruits and vegetables. Having said this, we still suffer because we have a very poorly organized and unproductive supply chain for this food to reach out to our own people. In the local fruit markets, the prices are going up day by day due to the severe lack of supply chain management.

Water waste percentage is very high in the country because the system still follows archaic method of flood irrigation which wastes 50 to 60 per cent of water. The most recent floods were such a big calamity because no one was prepared for them in the first place. Every year statistical analysis and departments of weather tell us that we might have a bigger level of floods next year but still this news goes unheard because I believe we have less “industrial engineers”.

Water logging and salinity is increasingly becoming a major source of problem in most parts of the country. Old methods of cultivation and harvesting are the bad source for extensive low yield.  These are all in remote areas where there is little or no communication and awareness for the farmer who is the actual person behind the wheels. So, this looks like a job for an Industrial Engineer who is packed with analytical, management and engineering techniques.

Talking about electricity , we are suffering from electricity blackouts which range sometimes from 14 to 16 hours daily. In most of the remote areas we have even total electricity failures this is because our operations are being left unmanaged. The electricity shortages have left the industries jammed. Managers do not have the knowledge today how to schedule the various processes so that it may still be able to cut the loss and be somewhat profitable. Many factories have been subsequently closed down. The role of a super IE does seem very prominent here taking the lead and creating scheduled tasks with ideas and creative solutions to the declining graph of the companies. And I am sure we will!

Lastly, it is not my degree that gave me eyes of an industrial engineer rather it is the membership of IIE that led me to study my world with new spectacles. This view is very different that I had in mind at the time of admission. The new vision has touched my inner human who wants to search out ways to bring out ease for the society by creating a different set using the same elements but arranging them in a more productive way. This is indeed a profession that has the best integration of man, money and machine. And for IIE and all IE community in the world I would say, “Pakistan, a heaven for Industrial Engineers!” because there is a lot of work to do and only industrial super engineers can save the world in this region.

The writer is an undergraduate student at the University of Management and Technology, Lahore, studying bachelors in industrial engineering. He is also currently president of UMT-IIE; a student chapter chartered recently by IIE. He has a keen interest in Ergonomics, Work Study and Analysis and Operations Management.

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