Engineers within the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) space are problem solvers. They apply engineering methodology to non-traditional engineering problems, and their skill sets allow for work with a wide variety of organizations.
The CPG industry encompasses general consumer product manufacturers and the nondurable goods they produce across an array of sectors—from retail and food/beverage to technology and transportation.
Use this Firsthand guide to access exclusive information about the CPG industry.
Sample CPG Employers in LionShare
Focus Areas in Consumer Packaged Goods
This is a sample list of applied areas in the industry:
Supply Chain Management
Supply Chain Management is the operational strategy governing the process of providing a company’s products to its consumers. SCM professionals establish supply chains that create efficiency and profit while maximizing consumer value and gaining competitive advantages in the market.
Research & Development
R&D engineers are industry innovators, and are responsible for the conception phase of the product life cycle. In a market of changing consumer preferences and ephemeral products, R&D collaborates with teams from operations and finance to marketing and consumer insights in order to create the next hit product. In some industries, companies have even partnered to create incubators and accelerators.
Product Development encompasses the entire process of R&D, design, creation/manufacturing, marketing, and pricing/selling of both new and old products. Engineers within Product Development focus on any manner of projects: designing and improving products, creating user-centered experiences, packaging and component waste reduction/sustainability, and product rollout.
Manufacturing engineers are focused on the process of making things, whether out of raw materials or through the design and operation of machines and technology. Doing so in the most effective and economic way is critical. Because the CPG industry is flooded with continuous product introductions, its manufacturing engineers devise streamlined processes to meet demand.
Quality Assurance is the line of defense between products and consumers. QA engineers design quality-testing procedures and analyze products before they are launched to consumers. Their responsibilities may include creating a quality assurance strategy, collecting data and conducting audits, presenting status reports, suggesting solutions to product issues, and managing continuous process improvement projects.
Columbia University Resources
- Read a recap of the advice employers from Procter & Gamble gave at the Engineering Industry Showcase.
- Explore Leadership Development and Rotational Programs in the CPG industry.
- Seek out fellowships available for CC/SEAS and GS students.
- Meet with your academic advisor to determine if your desired career path requires EIT/PE certification and the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
- See what IEOR alumni have gone on to do with their degree with CCE’s What Can You Do With A Degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research tipsheet.
- For details on the work of Industrial Engineers, visit the IEOR department website, as well as the Cornerstone Career Center, TryEngineering, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Visit Vault’s Guide to General Consumer Products Jobs.