Engineering Copywriter Blog

Content marketing tips and insights to help grow your engineering audience

March 21, 2022

How to Write an Effective Problem Statement Example

Problem Statement Examples

A critical part of any white paper is the problem statement. It is a brief, concise description of a company’s problem, plus a possible solution. A problem statement should serve a variety of functions. The first is to highlight and describe the problem in a succinct but thorough manner such that the reader gets a complete picture of what’s happening. This entails determining the:

  •      –  Affected people
  •      –  Possible effects
  •      –  Location of the problem
  •      –  The timeframe needed to address the problem

The second purpose is to explain the possible results. The problem statement highlights the suggested engineering solution, as well as its scope and objectives. Below are some steps on how to write effective problem statement examples.

1. Outline the ideal situation before stating the problem

Problem Statement Examples

The problem statement can be written in a variety of ways. However, it’s a good idea to start with some background to help the reader grasp the issue as well as the solution. Before you address your concern, briefly describe how the company’s affairs ran before the problem arose.

Let’s look at an example. 

The Product Engineer of ABC Company is managing a certain product line in the manufacturing facility but notices that the method that operators use to load material into a conveyor wastes both time and money. 

You can open this problem statement example by outlining what a more efficient loading procedure should achieve. 

“Production Line C should aim for a procedure that loads raw material precisely when the machine is ready to add it to the assembly so that there is no wait or lag time. The loading operation should be streamlined yet simple enough for all operators to understand.”

2. Address the problem

Another effective approach to writing a problem statement is to express the issue to the audience in a simple, unambiguous, and understandable manner. Do this by briefly describing the issue that you’re trying to fix. 

This gets right to the core of the issue and puts the most relevant details at the beginning, where they will be seen immediately. Framing your statement with “Unfortunately” or “However” can help demonstrate that the issue you’ve found is what’s hampering the process.

For example, our Product Engineer believes they have devised a mechanism for transporting material onto the conveyor that is faster and more effective than the standard manual process. In such a scenario, you may add a few more phrases. 

“The current loading procedure on Line C wastes money and effort. Unfortunately, the existing loading practices demand excess work-hours that render the entire organization less competitive.” 

3. Provide evidence to support your claims

Engineers are data-driven creatures. You must be able to support your assertions regarding impacts to the organization with concrete facts. Include that evidence even as you expound upon the situation’s criticality.

For a detailed example, consider the following: 

“According to internal efficiency tracking statistics, the present loading procedure wastes an average of 4 minutes per part, amounting to 20 lost man-hours daily for the company. Because operators are paid $20 each hour on average, that works out to wastage of $400 daily or $146,000 annually.” 

Always ensure the data in your problem statement comports with that in the bulk of your paper.

4. Recommend a solution

Problem Statement Examples

After you have outlined the issue and the reasons it is so essential, move on to ways you plan to solve it. The solution, like the introductory description of your problem, must be expressed simply and succinctly. 

Focus on the large, crucial, tangible ideas and save the minutia for afterward. Your white paper will have plenty of space for the solution’s more minor details.

Using our ABC Company problem statement example, we can look at a high-level overview of the upgraded process without going into too much detail. 

“Line C could minimize that wasted time by employing an automated loading machine which helps operators automatically load raw materials onto the conveyor efficiently.”

You can then outline the general concept of your proposed approach. Note, however, that this should constitute only a line or two of the problem statement. The real analysis will be in the body of the engineering white paper.

5. Describe the merits of your solution

It is good practice to clarify why your engineering solution is an excellent idea once you’ve told your readers what can be improved. Companies are continuously looking for ways to improve their productivity and make more revenue. Thus, you should concentrate on the economic implications of your strategy, what costs will be cut, what new income streams will be generated, and so forth. 

Non-tangible advantages, such as safe operator experience, can also be explained. After all, safety improvements benefit the company too. This typically doesn’t demand more than a few sentences. 

A few words along these lines can be effective: 

“ABC Company can expect concrete benefits from the addition of an automated loading machine. The expected annual savings of about $146,000 can be allocated to other revenue streams or invested in improvements to the production schedules of high-demand products.”

6. Wrap up by summarizing the engineering problem and its solution

You’re practically done once you’ve articulated your engineering firm’s ideal goal, recognized what prevents you from reaching it, and proposed an engineering solution. All that’s left is to wrap things up with a review of your important points, which will enable you to effortlessly move into the main content of the engineering white paper.

There is no reason to make the conclusion long. Summarize what you have outlined and the procedure you wish to undertake in the rest of the engineering white paper.

The writer for our problem statement example might create the following conclusion: 

“The firm’s future competitiveness depends on improvements to existing loading procedures. This engineering white paper will examine the practicality of an automated system and suggest ways to make it successful.” 

The fundamental ideas of your problem statement are summed up in this way. This example makes the implication that the current loading process is inadequate and that the proposed one is superior. Note that it’s important to mention the impacts of ignoring the issue. It goes on to tell readers that, by reading on, they will learn specifics about the benefits and about the implementation process.

Engineering White Paper

An effective problem statement

The problem statement describes the engineering problem that a company is facing as well as the proposed solution. It should give readers a brief picture of a company’s problems and potential solutions. It can also be used to construct strong business cases for change as well as to demonstrate the necessity for particular initiatives. Feel free to reach us if you want to hire a technical writer for your white papers.

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