July 06, 2014

Strategic importance of FM

Facilities management is usually looked at as a non-core competency, and decisions are made purely on cost-effectiveness and cost reduction basis. Organizations must change their perspective from reducing costs, to deriving value for money, by thinking in a systemic way and having a long-term view for making decisions and investments. Facilities management must be given strategic importance as it is highly related to business strategy and the efficient and effective delivery of business strategy via products that a company makes depends on how synchronized and optimized its facilities managemenet system is. In the light of WaveRiders, where it needs to capture a new market and better improve its current asset management practices it must focus on facilities management as a core function of physical asset management.

Why Facilities Management?

Why Facilities Management?

For WaveRiders, a company that specializes in production of rigid inflatable boats the core competencies of the company lie in the various themes that build up facilities management. Facilities management include Property management, Design and Build Activities, Facility services, Space Management, Maintenance, Contract Management, Environmental Management and Health and Safety Management. All these areas are highly related to a company that specializes in manufacture of unique products, as compared to provision of services. Thus WaveRiders must look at improving their facitiies management function, in order to meet their strategic objectives and achieve business excellence. Managing space, working environment, equipment in terms of health, safety, and maintenance are key catalysts to their product, output quality and quantity, and mainly related costs. In order to enhance cost effectiveness and efficiency, WaveRiders must look at facitilities management as a key source of improving quality, reducing costs, gaining competitive advantage and delivering business strategy.

July 05, 2014

Continuous improvement and knowledge management

Continuous improvement is a big element of creating business excellence in organizations. Continuous improvement only occurs when there is a culture , infrastructure, leadership and mechanism that supports it. For all of these to work there is one binding force, it is the knowledge that the company already possesess and the knowledge that the company must acquire in order to move from where they are to where they want to be. Even Deming's system of profound stresses on the fact that knowledge of variation, knowledge of the system, theory of knowledge and knowledge of people are the 4 most vital facets of knowlede that can drive an organization from being good to one that acheives business excellence. For companies to manage their knowledge resources they must first realize the importance of knowledge and then develop frameworks, culture and tools to manage and utilize knowledge for driving the continutious improvement initiatives across the company.

June 09, 2014

Strategic KM

The seven aspects or strategic layers of knowledge management are extremely important for any organization to know to develop their km strategy around these 7 layers. The first is customer Knowledge - Knowledge about customer, target market, customer feedback and customer preferences. All products and services must be developed for the final customer. This is the most crucial layer of the 7 strategic layers of knowledge. The second is knowledge in Processes- applying the best know-how while performing core tasks. This would again be related to the products and strategy of the business, which in turn focuses on the customer. Reduction in wastage and developing more efficient processes is also very important. The third layer is knowledge in Products (and Services) – this revolves around smarter solutions, customized to users' needs, and this again affects processes and strategy. The fourth is knowledge in People - nurturing and harnessing brainpower, which is the most important asset of any organization. The fifth is organizational Memory - drawing on lessons from the past or elsewhere in the organization which is stored in the orgtanization via all the people who have worked in it and currently work in it. Organizations do not have any memory as such, it is the people in the organizations that possess knowledge, thus the KM systems in organization must develop the culture, processes and infrastructure to capture individual knowledge and transfer it from people memory to organizational memory. The sixth layer is knowledge in Relationships – which focuses on deep personal knowledge that underpins successful collaboration, and is linked to experiences of people. The seventh layer is Knowledge Assets – which looks at measuring and managing your intellectual capital.

June 08, 2014

KM in sustainably excellent businesses and startups

I want to create a sustainably excellent business which gives knowledge management a high priority. To meet this goal i have come up with stages and steps to manage knowledge in a startup. The organization must first focus on creating new knowledge, learning, innovating and research. In this stage they must use prior knowledge and existing information along with tapping into new sources of knowledge. The second stage involves capturin, storing knowledge in specific knowledge domains that offer direct business to reuse and build upon knowledge and leverage it across the organization. In the third stage knowledge must organized and mapped with the intent of tansforming knowledge to make it broadly avaliable and easily understandable/ usable. Thus adding to the utility of the knowledge held by organizations. in the fourth stage organizations must deploy knowledge to people, processes, resources, and services using collaborative technologies ( It systems, software and intranet infrastructures) and organizational systems and processes. Finally one must use, and reuse knowledge to act intelligently for success and sustainability.

Circle of Knowledge and KM systems

The circle of knowlede shows that the various components of knowledge in relation to individuals and organizations:

  1. You know what you know
  2. You know what you dont know
  3. You dont know what you know
  4. You dont know what you dont know

The purpose of KM Systems in organizations is to manage and consolidate what you know in order to capitalize on organizational strenghts and knowledge, acquire knowledge and gain knowledge in areas they know they lack knowledge, and finally try reduce the percentage of the "dont know what you dont know" in order to gain higher competitive advantage by knowledge excellence. Internal knowledge audit gives organization a chance to reduce the percentage of " you dont know what you know", by focusing on generating, extracting and consolidating with the aim of finally sharing the knowledge that the company already possesses but is not aware of.

Thus we see of the circle of knowledge could provide a clear foundation to develop and manage KM systems in organization.

The Fundamentals of Knowledge Management Practices in organizations

Creating, acquiring and communicating knowledge has been around for centuries, but what knowledge management does is promote the application, dissemination and reutilization of knowledge in organizations. it does not let knowledge be lost or eroded out of the organization. The foundations of knowledge management rely on the analogy that as humans cant tap into the maximum potential of their brains in terms of utilizing it, being aware of it, and basing decisions on it; organizations also cannot extract the most out of the knowledge they already posses in terms of their intellectual and social capital. Thus processes, frameworks and practices must be embedded in a organization where its culture supports the discovery, refinement, consolidation, synthesis, packaging and sharing of knowledge within the organization. Knowledge goes through 3 main stages- Data that is processed and transformed into information, which when utilized, packaged, shared becomes knowledge for the organization.

Knowledge Sharing– Viewpoints of prerequisites

There are a few important things for organizations to be able to manage their knowledge using KM systems. Firstly organizations need leaders that encourage and promote a culture of sharing knowledge. Secondly there needs to be a platform or medium of sharing knowledge. Thirdly you need Knowledge sharing tools. More importantly you need intent, data, strategy, and a system of knowledge collection, processing, analyzing, capturing and sharing that makes knowledge sharing an easy process. All of these are the hardware elements of knowledge management. The soft ware lies in the fact that there flourishes a culture within the organization that values, systemizes, and promotes knowledge sharing at all levels.

Reflections on Knowledge Management by drawing links from team presentation learnings a

The team presentation has been a great learning process. From the very first day, started working by organizing time and tasks for the coming days. The whole team contributed to the development of the final presentation. We managed our teams knowledge by allocating tasks in a way, that it made the bigger presentation easier. Each team member knew how their effort would contribute to final presentation. This concept can be related to an organization where every employee must know the impact of their action on the final goals, objectives and vision of the organization. Thus having a systemic view by thinking of the bigger picture. Division of work and tasks was great because mo one felt the stress or pressure of delivering something big, rather simply doing individual parts honestly, so that the team and the individual both benefit. We managed our teams knowledge resources, time and effort by using facebook to share knowledge, and dividing the presentation into smaller parts with a clear structure to maintain the flow, linkages and logic throughout the entire process of creating a bigger presentation from smaller fragmented parts. This could be linked to managing knowledge in a corporate environment. In our case facebook provided the common platform to share knowledge. Moodle and google provided sources for knowledge acquisition. And a clear definite goal was there in terms of the final presentation. Thus we see that organizations should have a mechanism, infrastructre or a platform where knowledge can be shared, it must have definite sources of aquiring knowledge and must link acquisition and sharing of knowledge to clear organizational and individual goals in order to make KM practices more effective in organizations.

June 07, 2014

Internal Knowledge of an organization in KM

The essence of knowledge management lies in the fact that companies are able to tap into their existing and potential sources of knowledge and convert that knowledge into a useful mechanism that supports decision making at all levels of the organization. Companies always need to tradeoff between internal knowledge that could be acquired by auditing and discovering knowledge that an organization holds through its intellectual capital, physical capital and social capital, it could also include company policies, processes, systems, or organizational values and culture. Internal knowledge audit basically makes the organization look inwards for gaining information and knowledge about one’s own organization, its people and the overall strategic and operational management of its resources. I would always use internal knowledge audit in an established organization as compared to a startup, as the knowledge data base in a startup is relatively lower than an established organization operating for many years. It is important to do an internal knowledge audit because that is how expertise is gained about the company, its actual challenges and issues concerning the organization, which would then lead the company to look at external sources for answers and information. These could include search engines, consultancy, external agents etc. Thus to establish a clear link in the trade off between internal knowledge audit and external sources of information, we must always start looking inwards to gauge the current situation problems and challenges and then move outwards to look for solutions and try to reach a match between the two.

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