The Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering’s (ISyE) undergraduate program has been ranked the #1 program of its kind in the nation since 1991 according to the U.S. News & World Reports. While many of our students seek out our program because of our top rankings, they are equally attracted to the number of concentrations and academic interests offered. Yet one of the most alluring qualities of this program is the flexibility of career options that our Bachelor of Science (BSIE) degree allows.
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering
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At ISyE, we work on ways to improve a variety of complex systems by formulating and analyzing abstract models in search of making systems more efficient and optimizing performance. We address how people and the decisions they make contribute to the complexity of systems and how people benefit when those systems are analyzed. We immerse ourselves in the depth and breadth of decision-based technical problem solving by focusing on the disciplines of industrial engineering, operations research, and systems engineering. So, what does that all mean?
Problems Industrial Engineer's Solve
A 24-hour grocery chain would like to formalize their policy regarding how many checkout lines to have open at various times. Clearly, at 2:00 a.m. there is little reason to have more than one open, while on "heavy traffic" days such as the afternoon prior to Thanksgiving, several lines need to be open in order to reduce customer waiting time and congestion within the checkout area.
On the other hand, if too many lines are opened, the additional checkout personnel required to staff the lines have to be taken from other equally critical jobs such as stocking and check cashing. Something has to be done, for right across the street is a large competitor who is poised to take your business if customers find your checkout process too much of an inconvenience.
The management of the chain has proclaimed that no new personnel can be hired just for checkout, unless absolutely necessary. However, they have set an objective that the "average waiting time" that a customer experiences for the entire checkout process (waiting in line plus time for checkout itself) is not to exceed 10 minutes. How then would you go about designing a strategy that provides the store managers with greater insight into how they might better schedule the opening and closing of their checkout lines?
What about opening another "express lane?" Should the latter be restricted to 10 items or fewer? How about 15 or fewer? Does it make a serious difference? And if the company president makes a surprise visit at 1:30p.m. on a Friday, and if there are three checkout lines open, what is the probability that he will have to wait in line no longer than 5 minutes?