Top Online Productivity Tools for Industrial Engineers

The IIE Website

This list of resources wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the IIE website itself. Not only does the IIE host blogs like this one, the “IE in IT” blog, the Institute of Industrial Engineers website should be one of the top links industrial engineers use. The IIE hosts professional conferences all over the world, a great place for networking. The IIE offers professional certifications in Six Sigma, lean engineering, ergonomics, supply chain management, engineering management and quality systems. The IIE has even expanded into healthcare management, an expanding field driven in part by the need to improve our healthcare system’s efficiency while lower its costs and the Obamacare mandates that hospitals must lower overhead but have an exception when the money is used toward process improvement projects. The IIE has set up online courses for all levels of the Six Sigma belt, ergonomics, work measurement and its study course for the professional engineering exam., a free product sourcing and supplier discovery platform, has just “re-launched” with six powerful applications–Product Sourcing, CAD Models, Supplier Discovery, Diversity & Quality, Custom Quotes, and Industry News. These applications enable engineers and supply chain professionals to solve their most difficult sourcing challenges and find trusted suppliers. For example, the Product Sourcing application uses proprietary search technology and product taxonomies to locate an exact product from over 100 million items, and also features 40 product selectors. Buyers needing to procure raw materials, components, and finished parts for the first time can use these forms to step them through the specification process. The new Diversity/Quality application helps buyers identify suppliers that hold quality and other certifications/registrations, including ISO, ANSI, Nadcap, ITAR, FDA and C-TPAT among 80 types. It also includes a large database of minority, woman-owned, veteran-owned and other disadvantaged businesses, with downloadable certificates and links to other supporting proof of ownership. In addition, engineers can find millions of downloadable 2D and 3D CAD models from leading OEMs, and enriched, individualized supplier profiles.


TED Talks are one of the most informative and amazing collections of online learning I’ve come across. I remember one TED presenter who said the ideal presentation was as long as the standard coffee break. I’ve listened to TED talks while working, generating a stream of great ideas or connecting random concepts in new ways. Whether you want to listen to talks on the latest materials, architectural concepts like designing for the local community, privacy, information security and the robots of the future.
Industrial engineers should listen to talks under design and science categories in addition to “technology”. While Youtube-EDU is touted as a rival to TED, I find TED presentations more informative and coherent.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy first came to my attention as a parent. When I have trouble explaining a concept and online worksheets I like to generate fail, Khan Academy lessons can fill in the gap. (God help us with Common Core math, where two engineers can argue over what a fifth grade math question is trying to ask. Fortunately, Khan Academy teaches the matrix method of multiplication and other exotic math methodologies now du jour.)
Khan Academy is no longer the purview of the K-12 student. Khan Academy has excellent lessons on everything from macroeconomics to interviews with leading entrepreneurs to an overview of the U.S. healthcare system. If you are reading this blog because your interests are closer to IT than IE, Khan Academy offers introductory and advanced JavaScript online courses.

ANSI Webstore

While ANSI standards are increasingly being replaced by ISO standards, the ANSI standards webstore has several advantages over other sites. For example, you can search the ANSI webstore for ISO standards, whereas ISO doesn’t reference ANSI standards are referenced in the ISO standard. The ANSI database includes ASTM, IEEE and other American standards.