All 4 entries tagged Asset

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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.

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