All entries for Thursday 26 April 2012

April 26, 2012

Knowledge Management is necessary for every asset….

Knowledge management is the foremost requirment if one is thinking of having asset management in one's company. This is a very important lesson, as managing assets without first managing your knowledge will really make your asset management ineffective. Now for example, if we consider security and think about improving the security of the company, even then we need to manage knowledge efficiently. This is because any new policy that the company makes in respect to security, would require the company to make a written document of it, and here the knowledge management would come into play. An effective knowledge manaement company in this case would not find it difficult to distribute this new security rules and regulations around the organization, through its effective knowledge management mechanism, which would make sure that everyone in the company is now aware of these regulations they need to follow and that everyone is on the same wavelength. Similar example could be given through managing inventory by product scheduling. Any good mechanism requires forecasting of sales and this means that the production, purchasing and marketing department working together. I becomes imperative in this scenario of free flow of information between these departments. Thus, only a knowledge management company may work well in this scenario.


Similar examples could be given for health&safety or maintenance, etc. The point to consider here is that it is extremely essential for any organization to first manage its knowledge resources and then plan for managing its assets, as on the core of asset management is knowledge management, and I have realized that how much easy and efficient it would be for any organization to have a knowledge-based asset management.


Managing knowledge

Knowledge I feel is the key for any organization. If an organization can learn how to manage knowledge effectively, it should feel that it is halfway through the job of being an excellent organization. Knowledge is present all around the organization, it is with everyone and is getting richer in volume each second. However, it is how well the knowledge is stored in the organization, distributed among people and applied in the right way, is what makes the difference in managing knowledge effectively or just wasting the most important resource you may have.


Now, in order to effectively manage your knowledge, more than the technology, it is the managing of the people that one should concentrate upon. It is very necessary to maintain an environment in the company that would allow the employees to talk freely to each other. It is important for transferring or sharing of knwoledge that people should be able to converse with each other in a free enironment where they can share their experiences and make one another gain more knowledge from each other. This requires the leader to do his part in making the environment team-based by not having incentives like rewards or bonuses and organizing workshops for his employees where they can freely and truly communicate with each other.


For storing the knowledge, technology assistance maybe taken where the employees are asked to document their learning through a partiular process, or a problem-solving instance to be documented, or sharing any best practices for a particular process they had come across, so in such a situation, an internal database could be set up that can store all this knowledge and have it available for anyone who needs it. These are just a few basic steps for knowledge management


But this has really enriched my learning and I would dare say made me more knowledgable as compared to the people who doesnt understand how to manage knowledge or its importance. Now, I have realized not only the importance of knowledge management for a company but also how to implement it. It has made me realize that the managers generally across the world are unaware of the amount of information and knowledge that is available in their own organizations through the enriching experiences of its employees, and the practices that are going on in the company. This is already the basic bit availabe to them and how effective this could be to improve the personal and team skills of his organization. However, they tend to ignore it and does not even realize the magnitude of their loss.


Workload, Stress and Pressure…

Leaders of the organizations should be aware of the workload they are putting their employees under. It is so easy to get carried away and keep on giving some employee a large amounts of work as he is just keep on doing it efficiently. This can be a good tactic to get the most out of your employees, however, they need to be careful that the employee is not overburdened with work, and is not going into any kind of stress or pressure. There has been cases in the past where the leader does not realize the stress he is putting under his subordinates, and finally the employee gives in to th pressure and either changes his job or makes a mistake in the work he was allotted. I is the duty of the leader to realize that how much work can he expect the employee to do, as he needs to realize that generally an employee would not come upto him and say that this work would overload him and he wont be able to do it efficiently. This type of behaviour is seldom seen, so it rests on the shoulders of the leader to realize the workload of each employee under him and giving him just the right amount of work with which he can work efficiently. And it becomes all the more necessary again, when you are working in a life critical kind of a job, where one mistake on the part of the employee, could lead to his or others death.


Also, it is very important to realize that sometimes even when the work given to an employee is not much, and you may feel that he is not overloaded, the conditions under which he needs to work, maybe the time deadline, or the physical environment he is working in, is stressful and put him under immense pressure. It is essential at this point to realize these challenges for the employees and make suitable efforts to reduce this pressure and stress from him as much as possible.


Leader could well create an environement where there is so much open and free communication between the subordinates and with the leader, that the subordinate could well notify the leader of the work load he is putting him under, and that he may not be able to handle this. However, even here the leader needs to be careful as the employees well may start taking advantage of him and start working below their full capacity by giving him excuses of stress and workload. so he needs to make sure and understand it himself is how much an employee could handle. Also, it is indeed very difficult for any leader to have such open communication, and more often than not, he has to assess the workload on his different employees himself.


It has been an important learning for me as now I could make sure that if I happen to lead any team, I shall keep the workload and stress to the level my team could handle, as that is when you can expect maximum efficiency out of your team, and it reduces the errors manyfold.


Gathering knowledge

On Monday, we had a workshop on situation awareness. It made me realize the importance of how it is necessary to do the basic things correctly. Gathering knowledge is one of the most basic things that ever could be. A person doing a certain job or working on a certin thing should always have the knowledge available to him that would enable him to do that particular work. But then how I fail to realize that in the past there has been so many instances where the knowlegde was not available to the person who needed it. And what is more shocking is that this to happen in things that are so critical to health and safety, not only to that particular person but also thousands surrounding him. There has been the case where the workers collecting the chemical waste does not know of the chemicals they are dealing with and in this instance, they just decide not to touch things they are unsure of, but they do all sort of things and it ends up blasting the godown.


It is so necessary to realize how this can be so devestating for the organizations especially that work closely on safety critical issues. Also otherwise, organizations should start considering why is that the knowledge that is available somewhere in the universe, possibly in the company itself, is not with the right person at the right time. This seems to be unbelivable but surely it tends to happen more often than not. so, it is up to the individuals and especially the leaders to make sure that the right person has the right knowledge available to him.


For me, I have not had much of an exprienc regarding this sitaution that could end up being very critical for some one or an organization in this case, however, I feel that this as a very important lesson for the context of my future. I am sure that having gone through this session of knowledge management where I have looked at unavailability of knowledge leading up to so many instances that could have been easily avoided, will really help me in my future as now I have a mental note of the problem and realize the magnitude of the problem. I would make sure that the information that the company has is available easily to those that may require it in any circumstance, as it is so necessary to have the necessary information available for the efficient working of the company, and come to think of it, it is the first basic step every organization should ensure.


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