All entries for May 2013

May 28, 2013

Practical tools for sharing the information

I found interesting article about one manufacturing company that tried to develop and implement procedure with some tools to ensure that every operator knows the current statues of the process that he or she dealing with. They recognized three main areas for informing their employees:

  1. Sharing Information, where they were using information boards, process layouts, standard process documentation, team information, handover information and news/visitor information. This actually can be good example of how WaveRiders might ensure their workers with up-to-date information that are so crucial to preventive maintenance. 
  2. Signaling Abnormalities. This involves control charts and alarms application. If the first area has strong relation to preventive methods, this emphasis more active procedures. If we consider TPM we will find that both of methods should be applied, as even with the advanced predictive maintenance program defects might occur.
  3. Controlling Process Operation. Here managers usually try to ensure that all have a clear picture of process status (plan/actual). Also skills matrices can be applied to monitor which training each operator is currently taking and what skills he or she lacks.  
  4. Complying to Standard Operation, where safety signage and mistake proofing visuals are placed. This will provide more safe and organized workspace.

Finally, this company combined and presented all this information into one Visual Board, which made all information clear and accessible. I guess, this manufacturing company didn’t introduced something new, however, a few organization ensures their processes to be standardized through any sharing visual tools and methods, which brings them to failure in the implementation phase.

May 23, 2013

Targets that change people attitude

Today I was working on Knowledge Management program for WaveRiders. As I understand KM have two main aims, namely, deliver knowledge to employees in the company and create safe environment that enables people to share their experience with others. However, there is another critical aspect that has to be considered: how we identify what kind of knowledge person might need. How do we assess people knowledge? In that case, managers have to ensure that employees are open to discussion and earnest in answering questions about their performance. Unfortunately, in reality employees are usually assessed on meeting the targets, which actually doesn’t provide lots of information about current knowledge but puts people under pressure.

In “Fourth Generation Management” written by Brian Joiner the outcomes of such pressure described as follows:

  • People either try to improve the system to meet the targets;
  • They can also distort the system;
  • Or, they can distort the data.

Obviously we hope to improve the system and we would like to provide confirmation shown with data. However, it can be also another way round, when people try to find a shortcut and distort the system. For example, in order to perform better person might prevent new development, as this usually results in setting higher targets. Additionally, people can distort information to present in a better perspective. All these actions actually prevent company from getting the accurate overview of existing knowledge. Therefore, before designing development program organization have to work on the attitude towards open and cooperative communication between people and managers.

May 21, 2013

Lean's contribution to KM and Talent Development

The more I read and study Lean Maintenance program, the more I actually like Lean and its approach towards changing the process. As I mentioned before I am not the big follower of Lean concept….in some way I can relate myself to its opposition towards how this study suggest to place people in the company and deliver the knowledge. However, while writing KBAM PMA I needed to explore Lean more carefully, which brought me to some findings that actually support KM and the concept of continuous improvement. There is one point that I discovered today relating to the 8 types of wastes:

  • Lean usually identified only 7 type of wastes which are: Defects; Over-production; Waiting; Transport; Inventory; Motion; Excessive Processing. Not so far ago, the one exta-waste appeared, namely, Non Utilized Talent. From that point, it can be claimed that Lean made a step towards managing Talents within the company. What is more important, it put companies’ attention on two key things: wastes relating to overlook of potential contributors to the process; wastes relating with involving people with greater capability than the process requires. In both cases to eliminate those two wastes, the individual development plan should be implemented that will help people to develop new knowledge and enable managers to allocate the appropriate tasks for high-potential employees. This, in turn, might create a better motivation for the whole team, as they now know that their current skills and knowledge are recognized and applied efficiently to business processes with Lean approach.

May 20, 2013

Contradictions between Lean and Deming

While exploring best-practices in asset maintenance I faced contradiction to Deming’s SoPK in one AM approach, namely, Six Sigma. The thing is, when we talk about knowledge management, I immediately associate it with Deming and his theory,…thus, to adopt Lean Maintenance through KM, we should be sure that it follows Deming’s core principles.

To be more specific, I found few articles where Lean was recognized as methodology for eliminating wastes and cutting the time flow, which, in turn, brought some reduction in workforce. Thus, the process improvement using Lean brought staff reduction. Whereas, Deming’s “chain reaction” says that by improving quality, we reduce production costs which, in turn, results in better productivity, lower price for the product. The better price and quality attracts more customers that let us stay and grow in the market and create new jobs. So, the promise is just opposite comparing to Lean.

However, I couldn’t believe that Lean bring company to staff reduction, just because it initially was developed by Taiichi Ohno who combined Shewhart’s control charts with Deming’s philosophy and therefore couldn’t contradict to SoPK. Later I found a book “The Machine That Change the World”, where managing people in a Lean way had just opposite meaning to employees reduction. By considering TOYOTA experience, author stated that optimizing the process would release some labor, but this extra human resources should be not fired but placed to improvement projects. Thus, company will support itself with both, people working with the core business process and people improving that process.

May 06, 2013

Integrating KM and AM

Today I started to study one aspect of Asset Management, namely, maintenance, and also simultaneously I tried to find some information about its implementation. The key problem is that we need to implement the Asset Maintenance through Knowledge Management, but how to do that?

I mean, both of them have certain steps in implementation. For AM these are: identifying the need for AM program; AM evaluation and business case development; conducting AM current-state analysis; identifying costs of implementation; designing the AM program through best practices; implementation; tracking and reporting on program’s implementation. For KM there are 5 main steps in implementation: define knowledge areas; conduct assessment; analyze design plan; implementing the plan to close KM gaps; reviewing KM system.

The next question that rises, - how to integrate KM implementation plan to AM? I am not sure, if I am right, but I think that basically each AM step of implementation implies all Knowledge Management steps.

  1. Define knowledge areas. For example if we consider the first AM step – identifying the need for AM program, firstly, we might consider what kind of knowledge we already have. Probably, we do know that one of our motives of AM implementation is to achieve business excellence by meeting some EFQM criteria,….but we will also suggest that this might be not the only reason, thus, we will find some gaps in our knowledge of reasons for AM implementation.
  2. Conduct assessment. Secondly, we might assess other reasons through databases to analyze if they are good for us.
  3. Analyze design plan. Then, you adapt those reasons to your current situation.
  4. Closing the gaps. After, identifying that you had some gaps in reasoning, working with literature and finding other reasons, you then close those gaps with new reasons.

I am not sure that this is how the integration between KM and AM should be, but at this moment this is the only way I see it…will search more.


May 03, 2013

should we actually translate knowledge?

I was planning to write this entry long time ago, when we had seminar on how to translate tacit knowledge to explicit one. The thing is, that after doing some research I found that there are, mainly, two schools of thoughts: - those, who thinks that tacit should be translated and those who believes that it shouldn’t be translated but managed. Both of schools have their arguments. So, should we try to translate knowledge and make them more transferable, or we just need to know how to manage them appropriately?

Considering fist statement, some people regards tacit knowledge as the key source for making robust decisions, as this kind of knowledge is usually based on person’s past experience. Although, explicit knowledge or “book knowledge” is also plays a great role, it is tacit knowledge that are tested in real world situations, and, thus, recognized as more reliable. Therefore, the supporters of first school highlight the importance of tacit knowledge to be transferred to other people by translating them into explicit one.

On the other hand, there is another school saying that, precisely, because tacit knowledge is so valuable, they should be managed and transferred to others as they are. And this actually makes sense to me! If we consider SECI-model (Socialization; Externalization, Combination and Internalization) that shows the process of gaining knowledge it becomes clear that tacit knowledge in the end is transferred as tacit. To be more specific, lets analyze each step: 

  • Socialization: Learning is a social action, thus, interaction is needed for learning. Tacit to tacit;
  • Externalization: Knowledge should be shared. Tacit to explicit;
  • Combination: Knowledge is transferred by communication. Explicit to explicit;
  • Internalization: Knowledge are absorbed the knowledge training or exercising. Explicit to tacit.

Thus, it is fair to say, that although during the process of gaining knowledge tacit knowledge was converted into explicit one, in the end they still become tacit, as any knowledge should be, finally, applied to a real world situation. After they applied, they become tacit.

To conclude, I believe that both of the schools are right. As was observed earlier through SECI model, tacit knowledge does experience transformation into explicit one, but eventually, person gain tacit knowledge, so those type of knowledge are both transferred and managed, at the same time.

May 2013

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Most recent comments

  • I would say knowledge "lean" folks understand the and the need to respect people (share success and … by John Hunter on this entry
  • Come on Cheryl, these all are just my observations based on lectures materials!))) by Arina Borodina on this entry
  • i think u get a lot material to write ur PMA!! good for u by Tzu-i Yang on this entry
  • Your welcome and I couldn't agree more with your post. Indeed many companies have heads and not lead… by Lorraine Karuku on this entry
  • Thank you for comment! And I totally agree with you that "we need good quality leadership to improve… by Arina Borodina on this entry

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