May 27, 2013

Outsourcing

There is so much to consider before one decides to outsource. After reading abit of it today, I am left to wonder why one would choose to outsource if indeed it requires a lot of planning and commitment before it is done. With my personality, I figure it would be difficult to let someone do something for me, not unless I was 100% sure they would do it better than I could and even then, it would still be difficult.

I think about Coca Cola in Kenya and at least catering, cleaning and security was outsourced. They used to do a pretty good job. I have realized that most companies that outsource are the very big ones that can afford such services and for an SME....outsourcing would be out of the question. What happens when you know you do not have the skills required to do the job perfectly but do not have the money to outsouce..what then? If outsourcing was cheap..then that would be good but since it is not, not to mention the legal obligations and all, it is quite a daunting thing to do if you ask me. That said, I agree outsourcing can actually be a cost reduction strategy and incvrease one competitiveness. Learning about it more today in greater depth opened my eyes to just how much goes into this activity and before an organization decides it wants to outsource, they better be sure it will have great benefits or else they will end up on the losing end.


May 23, 2013

Asset management

Tomorrow is the last day of my last module, Management of Change. We had a simulation and I could not help but link some aspects of my company to asset management. To begin with, on day 1, we did away with with some tables in a bid to cut costs of rent and this was well done and it reflected how facilities managers would ensure efficient use of facilities in a profitable manner. Stock contoller tried to ensure there was stock all the time even if demand was unpredictable and if we had thought about it, we could have implemented resource planning in a better more efficient way but at least we managed to make it work. There was a nuclear battery that we had to be trained on under health and safety and in as much as it was just a simulation, our trainer was pretty serious about teaching us how to handle that battery. This demonstrated exactly what it meant to be aware of danger that may oocur and prevent in beforehand.

We sold the battery to the millitary and apparently they had not been trained on how to use that battery and thus we had to refund 50,000 dollars to them. I learnt that when it comes to matters of such utmost importance, care must be given and above all, people must be shown how to handle and use the battery if they are to make use of it. This was a good eye opener as to the mistakes that can take place in the real world and how it may cost a company. As long as all aspects of asset management are handled properly, an organization will more or less succeed in its endevors. If ignored, this can cost a company lots of money to fix and take care of. The biggest learning point for me this week has been to be keen of my surroundings and influence what I can to the benefit of the organization even if its in a small way like finance, to which was my role in our company.


May 21, 2013

Stress management under health and safety

Today I came acroos a video of a worker who developed stress at work and how she described that stress having ruined her life in areas such as her social life, and definitely work life. The good thing is that in the end, she was able to talk to her boss and HR manager and the issues leading to her stress were resolved and she was now able to work more efficiently. Stress can be seen as not such a big thing at work. Worse still, it can mistaken for other personal issues, other than work related. I know stress can in fact reduce motivation levels significantly in workers. It has for me in the past.

As I have explored this area of health and safety, I have come to realize its the job of the H&S manager to develop stress management policies in an organization as one can so easily feel stressed especially when one is overloeaded with lots of work to do. Having things such as fliers on the notice board about stress can help employees open up if they feel stressed. Regular meetings and asking how they are doing will open up communication channels that will help workers feel they are in a safe environment such that if they feel stressed, they will talk to someone.

It will surely lead to reduced sick off days when people take a day off to relax after so much stress. It will help save a lot of money and productivity will definitely improve. I have come to realize stress is indeed a big thing and at least now I have known it will be my role as a future manager or leader to know my employees and identify things that can increase or develop stress in my employees and help get them through it successfully.


May 19, 2013

Tacit and explicit knowledge

Today is when I really got to know the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. I have to admit that during the lectutres, I never really made an effort to know what they mean and when reading, I sort of took what my classmates said it was. As I was reading today, I found myself asking the question what exactly is tacit or explicit knowledge and that is when after researching a bit, I discovered the difference. Suffice to say tacit knowledge is inexpressible easily while explicit knowledge is expressible and can be shared easily. However, contary to what the book said, I disagree with swimming or riding a bicycle being a good example of tacit knowledge. I think, rather, I know one can transfer the knowledge of riding a bicycle or swimming to another person. It can be shared. I do not understand why one would consider swimming a good example of tacit knowledge. Further research I need to do.

That said, I appreciate that there are different forms in which one can posses such knowledge and the vast ways of sharing makes it easy to disseminate information, especially with rise of ICT.


May 16, 2013

Schools of knowledge management

Of the 7 schools of knowledge management by Earl, the one that relates most to my current module is the strategic school. In this school, the emphasis is on what will facilitate and drive knowledge management, as opposed to driving the knowledge process in itself. As long as the organization is driving knowledge management strategies, eventually or by default knowledge sharing will occur. Things such as business plans, the vision and mission statements etc are such tools that are used in this school of thought.

I can't help but relate this to strategic human resouirce management. As long as the HR department develops sound and robust strategies that are alligned to the business strategy, then also as they come up with goals and plans, sharing and knowledge will also be enhanced. This means that even in day to day running, there musn't be specific knowledge management strategies incorporating those words for one to believe that there is knowledge management. Even where goals and targets are set, and ways of achieving them are drwn, that in itself is knowledge management. That is something new I have leant and will pond over today.


May 14, 2013

Benchmarking and Health and safety

More often than not you will hear departments such as production or manufacturing, finance etc being benchmarked. Rarely will you hear of benchmarking of health and safety. Personally, I have never heard of such a thing. However, I have come to learn you can benchmark just about anything, health and safety being one of them. After some reading today, I actually think as an organization is considering to develop and implement a health and safety strategy or plan, benchmarking can be a very good start for them.

They will be able to see what others are doing, what others have done, what has worked and what hasn't, etc. This will enalbe them to plan effectively and to avoid the mistakes others have done proviously. And yes, knowing it has worked somewhere before does not guarantee success in your organization or that it will also work in yours. Very many other factors need to be considered such as company culture, structure, personnel, etc. All these things held constant, benchmarking will help in knowing where to begin. It has actually helped some companies reduce their accidents considerably and subsequently, their insurance costs have reduced. This becomes a win-win situation as both companies will benefit from good reputation and above all, saving costs.


May 13, 2013

Risk management

Risk management is assessing potential threats to health and safety and mitigating them. I did not know until today that all companies, even self employed companies must undertake risk assessment to ensure safety of their employees. More shockingly was the fact that as long as an organization has upto 5 employees, proper risk assessement must be done and properly recorded. As I have come to find out, a lot of money goes into lawsuits and insurance and compensations of risks that could have been avoided if proper risk assessement had been done.

I have come to appreciate the importance of risk assessement and what it means to an organization to carry it out. In as much as it may be expensive for an organization to start a healthy strategy on the assumption of the risks that may occur, in the longer term, this will save the company billions or millions or pounds in solving problems that have occured. It is our duty to think of al things that may go wrong. In a way its kinda like inspection of products before they get to the end user, one ensures they are of good high quality and safe for use. In the same way, an organization should be inspected to ensure it is safe for employees to work in without fear of their lives. This is indeed a very important issue to us all.


May 11, 2013

Maintenance management

After doing a bit more reading on maintenance, I have learnt that it does not matter how detailed maintenance is carried out on machines or plants. Breakdowns will still always occur. In as much as there is error proofing and measures to avoid faults, sometimes breakdowns can still occur even with a full detailed thorough check on machines and factories. Some common breakdowns that can occur even after full check include vandalism that is random can sometimes not be avoided. Human error is unexpected. One may make a mistake and cause breakdowns unknowingly. Weather conditions such as floods or too much heat or cold can cause damage unexpectedly etc.

I have learnt it is the job of the facilities manager to have an emergency cover in such situations as this is the only saviour at such times. Routine and regular maintenance should continuoulsy be done and employees should be trained in disaster management so that in case such an event happens, employees know how to react, what to do and not to do etc. I think this is a pretty huge responsibility but I guess when things run smoothly, success is guaranteed and an organization will be able to translate into an excellent organization.


May 10, 2013

Sharing experiences and knowledge at WSPA

Yesterday evening was the WSPA showcase for the skills award. I was privilged enough to be giving a presentation on my experience and journey throughout the process. We were five presenters. I was the first one up and I went and shared what doing the skills award meant to me and just how much it has impacted my life. As I presented I realized that I had very much grown from the time I began the process until I completed it. As all the other presenters shared their experiences as well, I felt so much empowered by all their thoughts and experiences and I couldn't help but think this was a very good example of knowledge sharing.

Anybody sitting as a guest for sure must have also wanted to join the scheme. Sharing the benefits I gained from it all was a perfect way of disseminating what I had leant and I trust I impacted other people. I realized that sharing experiences and knowledge is but one of the many ways under knowledge management and it sure does enahance learning.

I guess I have realized that its not so much the big things one does while sharing knowledge, but its also the small things that have touched your life in one way or the other that you may never know but maybe have also given someone hope or empowered them to do better. I understood the power of sharing knowledge yesterday and I gained so much from all the presentations. You could say I won yesterday, since winning in this case, is listening and gaining from others so as to also impact others as they have me.


April 26, 2013

Waveriders and KM and AM

I really enjoyed today's presentations. Seeing guys dressed formally and up to the task was great. More importantly, the content in the presentations was very informative. Seeing different ways of doing the same thing was educative to say the least. In fact I think Waveriders is pretty lucky to have us as consultants since I bet they have benefited a lot from us.

The ones who have benefited most is us as the consultants. Learning the different asset management and knowledge management practices that wave riders can adopt has opened our eyes to so many things that we did not previously think about. Personally, having to learn all the different aspects of asset management has opened for me this door and made me ever so concious of the mant aspects that can affect an organization either positively or negatively if not given importance. It is scary to know all the responsibility that can be given to you once you know all this. The good/bad part is that with this knowledge, the burden of using it is on us. it is my part/our part to ensure when we get work, we implement this and share this knowledge to the benefit of the organization. Lectures would indeed not have given us as much as we got on our own...a great module this was.


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