Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

February 2011    |    Volume: 43    |    Number: 2

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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Keeping pace with IIE in the February 2011 issue of Industrial Engineer

Second time around

NIOSH director to discuss ‘total worker health’ at ergonomics conference

Dr. John Howard loves the Applied Ergonomics Conference so much that he plans to speak at it for the second time.

Howard, the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, first spoke at the conference in 2003. He is one of two keynote speakers at the event scheduled for March 21-24 at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando, Fla.

According to Howard, the attraction of returning lies in one word from the conference’s name – applied. He observed that many musculoskeletal or ergo conferences tend to be on the scientific or causation end, whereas applied ergo displays people who have solved unique problems in industrial settings.

“Those kind of things, one, they show a lot of creativity,” Howard said. “And two, they essentially make for best practices that others could say, ‘Hey, we have a similar problem, and look how they addressed it.’”

His speech will concentrate on two things: ergonomically dealing with the aging (or, as he called it, the “chronologically gifted”) work force, and integrating health protection and health promotion.

As the American work force ages, employers have to take into account the physiological fact that tendons, ligaments and joint elasticity suffer with age.

“I will talk about employers having an ‘aging productively management plan,’” he said. “In other words, you’re aware of the fact that [musculoskeletal] health has to be maintained. … So you have to go out and figure out where are the risks, and you have to figure out what kind of applications I can use to decrease or eliminate those risks.”

Workplaces also tend to separate health protection, or traditional occupational health safety, and general health promotion, such as diet, exercise and smoking cessation.

“What I want to emphasize is integrating traditional health protection with health promotion to essentially produce what I call ‘total worker health’ because the costs to employers for these issues … are significantly increasing.”

Howard maintained that doing cost-benefit analysis and ROI estimates on ergonomics projects can show employers that tackling musculoskeletal issues is in their best interests – not to mention the human capital perspective of protecting their employees.

“There’s a lot of incentive, I think, for employers to invest in this area,” he said.

For more information about the 2011 Applied Ergonomics Conference, go to

Logistics and advancement

UPS donation provides for scholarships and awards

UPS doesn’t just do commercials that sing the praises of logistics. The company also funds scholarships for minorities and women who aim to become industrial engineers.

UPS industrial engineering manager Arturo Muniz visited IIE’s Norcross, Ga., headquarters in December to donate a $15,350 check from the UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS. Since 1994, UPS has contributed to the UPS Excellence Award for Minority Advancement in Industrial Engineering and UPS-sponsored scholarships for female and minority industrial engineering students. Winners will be announced at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo May 21-25 at the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel in Reno, Nev.

“UPS is committed to increasing the number of females and minorities pursing careers in the STEM disciplines. UPS has one of the largest industrial engineering organizations globally, so it is important that we support organizations such as IIE to ensure the future development of qualified industrial engineers,” Muniz said.

IIE Executive Director Don Greene agreed. He noted that IIE’s yearly application to the UPS Foundation is extensive. According to the application, the founding principles of both IIE and industrial engineering are based on change and progress. Industrial engineering must diversify to match the increasing number of minorities in a changing work population. The profession must provide equal opportunity and an accessible atmosphere to these new students and professionals.

The UPS Minority and Women Industrial Engineer Outreach Program helps IIE provide this, giving minority and female industrial engineering students a chance to get involved in IIE operations.

“We believe in that and have been very pleased with the quality of past scholarship recipients,” Muniz said. 

Blazing networks

Annual conference allows peers to make new contacts, learn from each other

Networking opportunities have exploded since humans first gathered around campfires, and that flame will continue to burn bright at the IIE Annual Conference and Expo 2011.

Networking in business has become ubiquitous as social networks, cell phones and other telecommunication links have opened new ground. But nothing beats the face-to-face encounter to seal deals, make new friends and learn just how your IE colleague solved that nasty logistics problem. It’s also the best way to meet potential new vendors, colleagues, customers and future business partners.

With that in mind, the annual conference kicks off with a networking reception on May 21 at this year’s site, the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel in Reno, Nev. A welcome reception follows the next evening, and the yearly honors and awards event always is well-attended.

Outside of official gatherings, chances to meet and greet and learn will abound until the conference closes on May 25.

The conference is contained within one location this year, not spread out across the city. The central location includes registration, exhibits and sponsors. That makes it easy to mingle with others around the edges or gather at one of the Grand Sierra’s restaurants or lounges.

The hotel has 10 of the city’s best restaurants under one roof. Fine dining includes master chef Charlie Palmer’s Charlie Palmer Steak and his new Italian restaurant, Briscola. More casual fare comes from Johnny Rockets, Port of Subs and others. Gather around drinks at Mustangs dance hall and saloon or the swanky Crystal bar.

And, this being Nevada, there is a casino. Not to mention a bowling alley and a movie theater.

So gather round with colleagues old and new at the year’s top event for people tasked with improving the quality and effectiveness of their organizations.

For conference details, workshops, registration, schedules and more, go to

Improving healthcare

SHS conference kicks off this month

Healthcare practitioners, academics and industrial engineers will descend on Orlando, Fla., to share ways to make the system work better.

IIE’s Society for Health Systems Conference and Expo 2011 will take place Feb. 17-19 at The Peabody Orlando hotel. Attendees can choose from more than 55 educational sessions, two keynote speakers, two full-day pre-conference sessions and two half-day pre-conference sessions.

Networking opportunities include an exhibit hall reception and welcome reception, among others.

It’s not too late to get involved and learn how to bring performance improvement to healthcare. For more information, visit

Break through familiar obstacles

Two speakers at the Managing Work Standards Conference in March will spark a familiar but valuable ring in the ears of industrial engineers.

David Poirier, chief executive officer of The Poirier Group Ltd., will talk about what to do when workplace culture and values oppose industrial engineering. He will detail past case examples to show how IEs successfully have integrated work standards and performance improvement by pushing values-based cultural shifts. Such cultural shifts can yield long-term competitive advantages for organizations.

And due to George Bishop’s popularity at a previous IIE conference, he will lead a session on using engineering labor standards at the conference. His session explores traditional roles for engineered labor standards, such as supporting work force management initiatives and optimizing labor planning, and it focuses on how distributors and retailers use the standards to streamline their operational efficiency and supply chain costs.

The Managing Work Standards Conference will be held March 7 at the Doubletree Hotel at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Find more information about the one-day conference at


Celebrating IIE members

Erick C. Jones has been named director of the RFID and Auto-ID Deployment Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also has been named associate professor in the university’s Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

Rajan Suri, a professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, is one of 10 inductees into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame for 2010.

The University of Michigan’s College of Engineering honored Marlin U. Thomas, dean of the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology, with its 2010 Alumni Society Award.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe has promoted Carl Ice to the newly created position of president and chief operating officer.

Let your peers know about hirings, promotions, awards, appointments and other notable accomplishments. Send Kudos items to Michael Hughes at

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