A casual Internet search will reveal that “design” has become both cool (as designers are revered and widely consulted on issues) and business critical (as organisations look to change the ways in which they conceive and build new products to appeal to consumers). At the forefront of many of these trends are industrial engineers, who have the necessary skills and knowledge to plan both products and the systems that will create them at enormous scales while maintaining quality. This expanded role that industrial engineering is taking in the modern world lays fertile ground for your Master’s thesis in the discipline. Here are some ideas for modern, relevant, and fruitful dissertations that will impress your professor.
Multi-national firms have taken advantage of globalisation to lower their costs. But as the Internet and transportation become ever more accessible, how can smaller, domestic firms take advantage like their larger cousins?
Much of industrial engineering is quantitative, mathematical, and objective. To create lasting emotional connections between people and objects, what lessons from psychology, art, and other disciplines need to be integrated into the field?
Mechanisation is core to industrial engineering, of course. As computer science makes great strides in artificial intelligence, how might these “mechanical brains” influence industrial processes and control?
A focus on reducing waste in manufacturing has been translated, often poorly, into the design of services. Could this have the unintended consequence of actually lowering productivity?
Many problems in complex systems are problems of optimisation, but ones that have no easily calculable solutions. Instead, we resort to simulation and other techniques. As such, how can we decide when enough optimisation is enough optimisation?
In markets where demand is dynamic, what processes can be implemented to improve the responsiveness of the supply production function to that demand?
The Internet has demonstrated the potential for large-scale outcomes based on the individual decisions of cooperating actors. Can these concepts be extended to traditional problems of infrastructure such as the provision of electricity?
The decisions made in the planning of complex systems can allow or hinder future opportunities. How can the concepts of financial options be applied to valuing designed functions against their costs to implement?