Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Engineering Classes - IE 323: Industrial Engineering Statistics Part 2

I wanted to start a series on what classes I take, how I like the subject and what it is useful for in engineering and beyond. I only took 5 classes this semester so the series will be short but I will do so every semester I'm still in school. Let's jump right in!

IE 323 is a statistics course that is centered around Industrial Engineering (IE) practices. A lot of what I learned this semester is how to predict how many defects there are, the processes necessary to keep an manufacturing line in control and how Six Sigma affects the world. Overall, I give this class a 8/10 of classes I find useful and liked the subject material. Elena Joshi is a great teacher and the undergraduate coordinator of my department.  Very patient and example oriented, she excels at making sure we understand what we are doing and the impact of the math in IE. I would take most classes that she teaches because I can clearly understand that material. 

One of the main ways that this subject is applied to engineering is through Six Sigma. I love the ideas and methodology of Six Sigma, but I am not doing the Six Sigma minor that my department in the engineering college offers.  The minor basically sets you up to take a green belt test - which is the lowest of three levels. (Green, Black and Master Black Belt) I will most likely take the green belt test if I end up in manufacturing but I may not end up in that area so I want to keep my options open. Six Sigma is the set of tools used to reduce variation in products or processes. It aims to basically keep the process centered around target values and looks for ways to keep everything out of the Upper Control Limit. It also centers around DMAIC - the graphic shown above to analyze problems. For information on Six Sigma, a cheat sheet of the concepts, click here

In daily life, what I learned is most applicable to schedules and routines. If you can get your routine under control, your day seems to flow better. You can get more work done. You know exactly how much time something will take you and how much time to allocate to the subject. I follow this approach with people, too. I know I am a talker. If I need to get something done with someone who is also a talker, I will make sure to schedule extra time for a meeting with that person. If that person is not a talker, I know I can allocate the normal amount of time to that meeting. Things like this help me to stay on schedule especially at work but also within my student organization. One of my main takeaways as an engineer is that it's a thought process - taking all of these math skills or concepts and applying them to real life is the really fun challenge. 

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