Using Industrial and Systems Engineering Principles to Enhance Quality of Life
Historically, the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) profession has focused in the improvement of manufacturing and service processes with the objective of
minimizing cost and time. This has served American business and public well as the profession has been a key player in significant productivity improvements for the manufacturing and distribution sectors of the economy. The annual productivity improvement in the manufacturing sector has been consistently around 3% since the 1940s, resulting in an exceptional rise in living standards in America. However, America is presently at a crossroads as many of its organizations and citizens realize that the disproportionate emphasis on cost and time minimization is too narrow of an objective to deal with today’s social and environmental challenges. As an example to this realization, the Federal Transit Agency announced recently they will no longer select projects based solely on cost, but will include other factors in the selection process, such as livability and sustainability that might impact quality of life. The new challenges cannot be met by tweaking existing models; rather, they require an entirely novel approach to modeling the new problems and for finding solutions to them.
The objective of the Daniel J. Epstein Institute is to be the thought leader in shifting the profession’s paradigm from cost and time minimization to one that includes quality of life factors as well. The Institute conducts research and scholarly initiatives that are innovative and forward-looking within the theme of enhancing quality of life.