Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

October 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 10

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial and Engineers

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The case for asset-based solutions

New IE challenges require a different viewpoint for problem-solving methods 

By Paul Stanfield

I vaguely remember my freshman “Introduction to Engineering” class. After all, it was more than 25 years ago. I remember sitting in a large auditorium in an assigned seat, ordered alphabetically, to facilitate recording attendance. I remember the first day when we were told to “look at the person on the left and the person on the right.” We were reminded that “statistically speaking” only one of them would graduate as an engineer. Two people looked at me, so I thought I must be a goner. And I remember we learned the “engineering process,” though today I can remember only the first step. That first step was to “define the problem.” Even today, where so many changes have taken place in engineering, universities teach a similar engineering process in a similar introductory class with the same first step: Define the problem.

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