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<Message from the Chair’s Office>


The 21st century is the age of convergence.


While the major paradigm of the society has been the technology-focused economy over the last centuries, our world is now moving rapidly into the new era of innovation-based value creation in this century. In other words, technology is no longer a sufficient condition for leading the market, but the world is urging us to develop a multi-dimensional decision-making capability which integrates various eminent technology to create additional values based on creative thinking. New vision and leadership is a must for a leader in the new age. It is Industrial Engineering that aims to fulfill this mission.


Wha is Industrial Engineering?


First, Industrial Engineering is a discipline dealing with ‘industry’ which covers in this context the industry of all kinds which include primary, secondary and tertiary industries. In other words, it covers not only manufacturing, which has been a major tow truck for the industrial age for more than five decades in the last century, but also the information and knowledge industry in more recent years as well as the various services such as finance, health care, telecommunication, and entertainments. The core of the recent industrial pressure lies in the technology-focused innovation. The first thing we need to pay attention to here is the fact that ‘the technology proves to be only the half of the story and the rest of things are determined by what people do with this technology’ as Yuval Noah Harari mentioned in his book entitled Sapiens. That is, the focus of the upcoming new industrial efforts should not be given only to the technological excellence but also the ‘value orientation’ which drives how to achieve the innovation though the integration of various technology. In this context, it is the integrative view to industry, which the industrial engineering imposes, that forms a fundamental basis for developing a new society in the future.


Second, Industrial Engineering is a kind of ‘engineering’ discipline. Some people say that industrial engineering is business administration within the college of engineering. Although this statement is not always false, the essence of industrial engineering still resides in its engineering nature. One of the most important characteristics of industrial engineering, when compared with other engineering disciplines, is that the primary objective of industrial engineering is not to develop an individual technology in a specific domain but to innovate so-called the industrial processes, which aims to optimize the various value-creating activities utilizing the technologies developed. Since the new technology development does not necessarily guarantee the creation of new values, the sufficient condition for maintaining the sustainable innovation is composed of both the technological advances and the rationality of their enabling processes. In other words, the innovative industrial processes should catch two rabbits at the same time: technological excellence and methodological systematization. This is why industrial engineering should be an engineering discipline.


Third, the target for Industrial Engineering is to ‘engineer’ the ‘industry’. While the ultimate goal of engineering is humanitarianism, its practical objective is to design the new things. That is, one of the main reasons for developing new technology is to design new products and services for the purpose of increasing the benefit to human beings. Likewise, industrial engineering as a discipline of engineering aims to design a new industry in the long run.


The 4th industrial revolution is upcoming.


The 4th industrial revolution is supposed to be fundamentally different in its behavior from its three predecessors, and hence, it would be almost impossible to predict its future behavior with accuracy with only the local view of specific technology. The innovation of industrial processes is urgently required as the new type of industry is coming out.


Under the new vision and goal, we are trying to cultivate the men of talent who can combine the potential to design a new industry with a strong background of problem solving, systematic planning, and decision-making capabilities. Would you be with us to enlighten yourself toward the 4th industrial revolution under the umbrella of Industrial Engineering?







                                                                                 Yoo Suk Hong

                                                                                 Chair, Department of Industrial Engineering

                                                                                 Seoul National University