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May 28, 2011

Maintenance Classifications

literature classifies maintenance approaches to Preventive (PM), predictive (PDM), total productive (TPM), reliability-Centred (RCM), and others. however, careful reading leads to a conclusion that many of them are integrated. researchers say that PM is part of PDM. they also say that to have a good TPM you should be applying PM and PDM in the first place. this can sometimes create confusion for managers that are not interested in academic research.

my personal conclusion of this is that there is one maintenance approach which is the latest that approves success. other maintenance approaches should become practices that are included in the latest approach. what is the value of having all these classification if the aim is to practice? for example if I am fully applying PM, someone can just suggest that I am 50% applying TPM. and this can be true for other approaches too.

I think that the most important thing in maintenance is practice rather than having theories. one approach is enough if it is annually updated to include all the practices that prove beneficial. 

Intangible and Tangible Assets

the main areas in intangible assets are people and the knowledge they produce. while some writings study both separately, others refer that both are becoming interdependent or even integrated.

while EFQM does not refer to this relation in its model, I think that this integration is the significant issue of assets management. all assets now are connected to technology and depend on information and data that is entered in. accordingly, the separation of the two assets management will not be valid in the near future.

EFQM and Competitive Advantage

it is intersting that EFQM does not refer/ recognise clearly knowledge as an asset. while manageing knowledge and informatin is mentioned under resources in section 4, this managemnt was focused on sharing information and gave a big focus on innovation. 

recent writings about knowledge consider it as an asset that must not only be managed but effecintly collected. implicit knowledge is the most source of information which cannot be formally collected. implicit lnowledge is also what really builds the competitve advantage of a company. I think that collecting implicit knowledge is the key for knwledge management taking into consideratin that implicit knowldge becomes explicit after it is collected and documented.

arguably, all new organisations are knowledge based and their competitive advantage is knowledge. while many recognise knowledge and try to manage it, the majority cannot collect and manage implicit knowledge which creates the competitve advantage.

April 30, 2011

Technology and Knowledge Management

Although effective leadership, culture and structure are important for successful companies, managing the firm’s assets are occupying a significant position in achieving strategic strategies and sustaining competitive advantage (Hitt, Keats, & DeMarie, 1998).

Assets management for acquiring competitive advantage focused on the physical assets in the past since it was functioning in the post-industrial revolution era. The importance of intangible assets such as people and information is increasingly taking a special importance. EFQM (2010) emphasises that excellent businesses should have the up to date technology and to effectively manage their knowledge and information. Therefore more theories and practices about managing knowledge appear in literature and in practical researches.

however, the integration of the two is the key for building the competitive advantage and achieving the desired returns. in maintenance for example, it is crucial to have a computerised system to manage the amount of data and information generated. new generation will, arguably, enhance performance and cut costs for its development is based on lessons learned from businesses experience.

April 27, 2011

Human Assets

Human intellectual are the source of knowledge, innovation and creativity which are the key for a successful company. Moreover, human capital is the most difficult asset to imitate and hence it is the one that builds the unique competitive advantage.

Therefore, managing human assets is essential. This management depends on strategies for obtaining creative, highly skilled, and experienced people and create a culture that rewards and motivates them and builds their loyalty for the company. 

all other physical assets depend mainly on human knowledge and decisions. having the human capital healthy and well managed is the way to guarantee that success of any physical asset management system.

Intangible assets and Competitive advantage

Increasingly, companies are trying to get competitive advantages that make them different and unique in the market. However, without having a sustainable competitive advantage a company would be threatened with loosing these advantages in such global, technological and competitive business environment that generates huge amount of knowledge.

While the trend after the industrial revolution was to focus on tangible assets, such as buildings and equipment, to create competitive advantage, the technological revolution made it clear that intangible assets are the most important competitive advantage for companies.

Microsoft and Apple are examples of this importance. Microsoft’s success and value are based on the knowledge, creativity encouraging culture that produced superior software programmes, and the creative marketing abilities that helped in building a huge customer base. Recently the significant importance of intangible assets has been under research in the light of the declined shares prices of Microsoft coupled with the rise of its competitors’ shares Google and Apple.

April 16, 2011

A video about Asset Management

could not insert the video here but here is the link to it. 

April 15, 2011

Things to Consider when Outsourcing

Some Idea to consider while outsourcing:

1-  Understanding what to outsource depends on understanding where the competitive advantage of the company comes from. the company's competitive advantages should not be outsourced if possible.

2-  Outsourcing is not about cutting costs only. The cost might increase but there will be an increase in the revenue too. Moreover, it might result in cutting some other costs.

3- It is important not to lose complete control over the outsourced activity because the client might not have the ability to control or effectively manage the vendor.

4- When an activity is outsourced, it is important to assign some mangers to handle the vendor.

therefore many researchers suggest that a exiting strategy should be established in the contract to handle any issues with the contract, security, or the quality delivered. this exiting strategy allows the company to switch the vendor without any damage.

Developing Markets for IT Outsourcing

some might argue that the major aim of out sourcing is to get the best possible quality in the lowest possible price. taking this concept as a way of work for IT services, it is interesting to know that  India is number four on the top five list of customer satisfaction in a survey done in the UK’s top IT spenders. Last year the percentage of UK companies that outsource IT services in India jumped from 47% to 57%. Moreover, the experts are expecting the Indian outsourcing market to grow in the next ten years and that new IT outsourcing markets to grow in the future such as the Egyption market.

businesses are becoming more globally managed. the physical location of a company is run by people from all over the world. 

Outsourcing 1

outsourcing is recommended by EFQM as it helps the organisation to focus on its core functions, cut the costs, and might help in getting better services.

I think outsourcing has proved a success in many organisations and its failure was usually related to managing the contracts and monitoring the quality or choosing the suitable resourcing provider.

it is recommended therfore that these aspects should be taken into consederation when out sourcing:

1- choosing resourcing providers and negotiating the contract conditions must me done by a team that involves all the departments affected by outsourcing such as financial, HR and others.

2- Prepare the staff in the company by informing them about the outsourcing plans. this can save the company staff resistance in the future.

3- choosing providers should have a balance between price and quality.

4- the organisation's requirements should be clearly identified before negotiating any contracts.

the subject of outsourcing is wide and I think it deserves to be explored and developed becuase it can be an opportunity to build a new business environment were sharing and cooperation is the norm.

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