May 31, 2010

Knowledge Management System

Companies need to develop information systems designed specifically to facilitate the sharing and integration of knowledge.

Some of the benefits of the implementation of a Knowledge Management System are:

·        Enhanced communication.

·        Reduced problem solving time.

·        Increased Sales.

·        Decreased costs.

·        Better customer service.

The technological opportunities to improve interaction and increase collaboration in organizations are expanding rapidly. There are many benefits of a well-designed KMS in the organization. These include saving time and effort to get knowledge, so that all interested parties can use the organization’s combined knowledge: knowledge is able to be used wherever and whenever it is needed, eliminating time wasting random distribution just-in-case people are interested. In order to be more beneficial to any other organization, the knowledge, as an organizational asset should be managed carefully.

Life Costing Cycle (Asset Management)

This is the aspect I chose for asset management, as I consider it one of the most important in an organisation when you are investing in new equipment.

This is a method designed to promote the most cost- effective selection of assets (tangible and intangible). It allocates the total costs of the system or equipment under study over its complete life cycle.

Many systems and equipments are selected on the basis of the initial acquisition cost and this is how most companies decide on investment; however, this should not be the key indicator to provide enough information to the decision-maker to justify the selection from various alternatives. LCC cycle costing is a technique for estimating the total cost to the organisation of a system or equipment. The result of an LCC analysis can be used to assist managers in the decision-making process where there are many options.

When we purchase equipment, we need to consider different factors, not only the acquisition cost, such as:

  • ·        The cost of site preparation
  • ·        Initial delivery and handling costs
  • ·        Installation costs
  • ·        Professional fees such as for architects and engineers
  • ·        The estimated cost of dismantling and removing the assets, restoring the site
  • ·        Costs of testing whether the asset is functioning properly

Knowledge Management characteristics

This is a term which involves many theories and techniques, from organisational learning to database management tools. Enterprises are aware of the importance of “knowing what others know” and are able nowadays to make maximum use of the knowledge. This knowledge can be subtracted from databases, filing cabinets and peoples’ heads, and they are spread right across the organisation. Sometimes companies may duplicate work because of the lack of knowledge management, generating high costs to the organisation, therefore, enterprises need to identify what their knowledge assets are and how to make effective use of them as a powerful tool.

When defining Knowledge I found some important characteristics of the term which makes it different from other aspects in an organisation, characteristics that have become explicit to my own knowledge and I will make best use of it whenever I start running my own business:

·        Knowledge is intangible and difficult to measure.

·        Knowledge is volatile, it can disappear overnight.

·        Knowledge is not “consumed” in a process, but it increases through use. 



Asset Management

Writing about web page KBAM

This is a broad concept encompassing the gain, use and disposal of assets in a way so that we make the most effective and efficient use of those assets throughout their life-term.

Profitability and optimum organizational performance is pivotal for all major organizations. AM is the art and science about making decisions to optimise this performance. This professional discipline which focuses on physical asset systems, strives to achieve sustained value for money management of physical equipment and infrastructure.

During the development of my PMA, I took AM from an accounting perspective, as they create the roots of the asset's value to present the real cost of investment, and let the right people decide over the obtained information.

I believe that this concept is very useful and will help me understand all aspects of investment when I decide what to buy, and what cash flows I expect from that asset. It is not just buying for the sole necessity of buying, it's about make the most out of your investment.

Knowledge Management

Writing about web page KBAM

In today’s corporate sphere of hyper-competition, one of the key elements of gaining competitive advantage is Knowledge Management. This concept arose in 1991 and is increasingly applied to multiple fields apart from business administration. KM essentially is the management of insights and experiences of individuals and those involved in organizational processes. KM lays emphasis not only on performance improvement but constant re-invention and innovation. However, the critical element here is how that knowledge is diffused within the company, which propels organizational learning. Strategic Consulting firms have a pivotal role too in providing KM related advice to companies.

To remain at the forefront organisations need a good capacity to retain, develop, organise, and utilise their employees’ capabilities. Knowledge and the management of knowledge appear to be regarded as increasingly important features for organisational survival. Explores knowledge management with respect to its content, its definition and domain in theory and practice, its use and implications, and to point out some problems inherent in the concept.

After going through the learning process of this concept, I think this will be valuable for me in the future when it comes to manage an organisation and try to capture everyone's knowledge, disregarding an employee's position, there is always something to learn from all levels

April 18, 2010

Leading the team for KM

During this module, I was selected to be the leader of the group, and I completely enjoyed the experience.

I wanted to talk about this learning process, because I consider it important. I found many strong personalities in the group, and we had some difficult moments when discussing the topics, everyone had different ideas and it was hard for me to lead a group with everyone having strong basis for their own points of views. I just let everyone present their concepts but we would never agree in anything, until I relized that one of the members started to collect all the ideas and present a summary of what we were proposing, finding common points of view among all the members and proposing a way to conduct the presentation. This is what we call in class "emerging leaders", and I never thought it could work out because I have been in charge of people before in other jobs, but I usually try to impose my way of thinking and working, or at least having a strong influence on them. This time I let this person conduct a big part of the presentation, and we were finally able to agree with most of the points and work as team.

All I wanted to say is that, I consider this an important "knowledge asset" for myself as I knew about the concept of letting people participate and having emerging leaders, but  hadnt experience it thus far. So I can say that I linked the theorical side to the practical side.

Asset Management

As an accountant, I always considered Asset Management from a financial perspective, the way you register the assets on the financial statements and the decisions the company makes on asset investment, projecting a return on investment depending on the relevance of the asset disregarding whether it is tangible or intangible.

After taking this module and read more about the topic, I can conclude that asset management is how the entire company is managed, this involves different elements which make the company a successful organization.

Everything is an asset, proccesses are  assets, people are assets, knowledge is an asset, systems are assets. At first I tried to quantify them and relate them to the Balance Sheet to have an specific value for every element, but this topic goes further than just numbers and accounts. Though, different entities may describe this approach in several ways: Assets to the accounting department, leased asset to facilities management, piece of production equipment to operations, inventory, maintainable asset to mechanical engineers,etc.

I know an asset is the good (tangible or intangible) that an organization holds and that will bring future benefits. But these goods can be linked to everything in the organization, and all of them deliver benefits either directly or indirectly, in a short term or long term. We are talking about all the resources that the company utilize to make the company work effectively, including processes, design processes, sharing knowledge, suppliers, customers, etc. All of these elements work dynamically and integrated to deliver quality.

I believe my concept of asset management has changed a lot, and whenever I think of it, I will not just think of fixed assets, cash, receivables, software, etc. there is more than the accounts displayed in a Balance sheet, and we need to find the best practices to manage all these assets.

Knowledge Management & Knowledge Engineering

I found an article related to Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge Engineering (KE), the terms are different, the concept is very similar but the focus might be slightly different.

A manager is to excercise executive, administrative and supervisory direction, instead, an engineer is to construct, or contrive a plan out. The main difference seems to be that managers (for KM) establishes the path, the direction the process and people should take, whilst the engineer (for KE) develops those processes, the means to accomplish that direction.

Knowledge managers work on the knowledge needs for the organization. They look for the understanding of what knowledge is needed to make the decisions enabling to actions.

Knowledge engineers work on areas such as data and information representation and encoding methodologies, data repositories, technologies which enhance the flow of the information, activities which involve IT operations.

Companies have different professionals specialized in diverse areas, but in the end,  it is important that all parties share a clear mutual understanding to develop the processes of sharing knowledge.

JIT– Just in time

This is a methodology that I am really interested in . Just in Time is a way of managing manufcaturing system that could reduce waste, and lower cost, thus increasing profit. Every component in the manufacturing system arrives just in time for it to be used, so, there is no need for stock holding facilities of any kind.

This methodology plays a big role when companies fall into overproduction for many reasons, companies don't pay too much attention on what is happening between processes, for example Work In Process Queues or an employee being idle.

For the WaveRiders case, we first proposed the application of workcells, this is a work unit which has between 3-12 people at 5-15 workstation in a compact arrangement. For waveriders we can build 4 assebly workcells of 5 people each to work more effectively when building a boat, communication will be very easy as every operator is close to the others, improving quality and coordination. Then, to apply JIT, we need a good flow of information for not incurring in delays. For this flow, I believe the ERP system would be the best fit for the entire communication system, from placing the order to the delivery of the final goods. But for SME's this system is highly coslty so we cant implement this. Instead, we agreed to use KANBAN card system, which is just a basic way to organize activities and cost no money.

ERP and KANBAN seem to be pretty useful when utilizing JIT procedures. But, I would like to have a deeper understanding of these both,  I guess for now I will just have to settle with reading books and  blogs. I would have also liked having some debate in class on how effective is JIT, because it is not only benefits, there are risks such as the bargaining power, one of the Porter's 5 strenghs (barriers with suppliers). SMEs like WaveRiders would probably lose the capacity to obtain good prices from its suppliers as they are only buying "just in time" and not big amounts like other large organizations, therefore, the boats may be offered on a high price.

I hope to apply these methodologies if I ever work in the manufacturing sector, I am sure I could bring a lot of new ideas for the business.

March 04, 2010

a simple conclusion about Leadership

     There is a large number of coaching methods and techniques which involve different ways of doing it, but none of them can assure success. At the same time, There is a lot of different theories which try to match the right behaviours to leaders, but we need to considerate different factors as stated in the framework L=f(l,gm,s), where all elements interact dynamically. whatever theories researchers try to do emphasizing certain characteristics in leaders, effective leadership will always be based on that equation. A complete holistic theory or approach to leadership takes more than identifying and analysing leader traits, these only endow people to deliver quality leadership. Researchers can spend infinite time trying to look for the right traits in leaders, but these traits do not work alone.

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