June 06, 2010

Total productive maintenance and knowledge management

During the analysis on TPM, it is quite natural to realise that knowledge management is actually throughout the whole process of TPM. TPM is focus on getting every person in an organisation involved into the process of the transformational maintenance method. Traditionally,  maintenance activities belong to maintenance department only. Now, within TPM, top management decides to reform maintenance responsibilities and operators are responsible for some parts of maintenance on their own machines. Then, that is the show time of knowledge management. the process of collecting, storing, sharing and generating vastly facilitates the implementation of TPM and provides firmly support.


preventive and predictive

Preventive maintenance is not just about MTTF statistics.

With researches in PMA, I've built up a clearer view of what preventive maintenance is. Basically, preventive maintenance could be divided into several parts based on contents. Traditionally, preventive maintenance is to plan maintenance according to industry MTTF statistics which identifies the specific stages in machines' working life and the probability and level of occurring failures. this method surely could reduce the probability of failure in production when the statistics and actual conditions are nearly the same. For companies who do not care about maintenance costs. this method is absolutely fine. However, globalised business environment influence companies to cut unnecessary costs for return of extra profit margins and competitiveness. An example for preventive maintenance is that car maintenance. Drivers are instructed to do service with after certain miles at pre-arranged intervals.  


Predictive maintenance, on the other hand, take more into account that the actual conditions of machines based on the instruction of MTTF statistics. Main techniques of have actual data of machines' condition is to monitor and test them. Because it involves in human resource, that would be inevitable to commit objective mistakes. Decisions usually made by experienced maintenance managers. 


Though Predictive maintenance looks better than preventive maintenance, in some case, people might select one suitable method for particular business needs.


why corrective maintenance?

Corrective maintenance is a traditional technique that people conduct maintenance when there is a failure occurring and decreasing production availability. Actually, there is no sign of maintenance before failures. In another word, Corrective maintenance is waiting for the occurrence of expected failures.

What I'm thinking now is that in which case people might adopt such method to maintain assets. my preferred answer is that there is hardly any company would prefer to adopt it. the reason for that is doing business in these days is extremely difficult to compete in. businessmen are barely able to afford the damages caused by insufficient productivity and relevant costs.

By second thought, there might be some businesses might apply this method who could not invest adequate money in maintenance. In other cases, some greedy businessmen might neglect the importance of maintenance. However, eventually, the foreseeing consequences would provide a lesson. i think that might be the reason why there are successful businesses and business bankrupted.


April 25, 2010

KM in SME's

I have read  this topic in Umar's blogs. In his blog, he asked the necessity of a CKO in SME. I have a little thought on it. 

I think, first of all, KM is a way of think and is a culture. It is invisible and abstract to be understood. Nevertheless, KM is so powerful that it can change and improve a company from top to bottom. It doesn't have to entitle a person with a specific role. But it is important to be promoted in the entire company.   

I've come across some entrepreneurs who did really good job in business but were struggling in improving the efficiency of the business. As I mentioned in previous blogs, these businessmen are working with several well-known companies, including clothing, decoration, automotive and so on. Those big companies outsource manufacturing parts to these SME's companies. The SME's companies made their fortunes but hardly developed further. That is quite frustrating for those ambitious men.

I think it difficult to make KM work in SME's companies, especially some intensive manufacturing companies. But, I don't think it infeasible at all. Leaders must invest more on helping people who are without sufficient education to make them aware of the importance of their jobs, opinions and comments on their jobs. So that, this kind of companies could prepare a firm foundation for embedding new technology.

For those SME's who major in high technology business, it means even more to conduct KM as a business culture. Collecting existing knowledge is a base on which experts in the company could share and create more and later things for clients and markets. Those could bring more than profits for not only companies but themselves.

How would you do if you are running a SME's.


Leadership impact on knowledge management

Leadership is what we have been taught and talked a lot in the course. We all know the importance of leadership to a company. Now what about it on knowledge management. 

Basically, knowledge should be necessarily managed by people in order to become helpful and applicable. Therefore, the effectiveness of applying knowledge management is in accordance with people's performance. Leadership is an essential part in business. Unless leaders like knowledge management, it wouldn't be recognised in a company. There are three ways which I think it should be done by leaders are: initiate, encourage and facilitate. 

Whatever employees do, they all require directions from company, leaders exactly. Work overtime, raise wages, cut benefits are all decided by leaders. People won't work overtime if not asked by leaders. Wages won't be raised if not being told. It doesn't mean that initiating KM could eventually make it work. But this is the first and compulsory thing leaders are supposed to do if they want to promote KM. Like investment, leaders need to do things first regardless of whether succeeding or not.They should create a communication environment first, build up a certain structure to form an understanding of how KM benefits both company and individual. Employees' fears of sharing won't disappear by having such environment. Then what else leaders could do.

Encourage, right! There are three kinds of sharing: full sharing, partial sharing and no sharing. As leaders, we need to analyse why these different types exists. Full sharing is coming from those who are really thinking themselves as a part of the company. These people are happy to see the improvement of the company. Obviously, they will benefit from what they are doing. In fact, These people are models and should be rewarded and supported. Secondly, partial sharing shows people want to share though have some fears and threats on after sharing. They select what to share and when. The contents they share could be useful, but much less than the precious one. Leaders should do more to remove these obstacles by offering more protective rewarding for employees to open their minds. In MBE, we are in a safe environment to share. NOT for our own purposes, but for the improvement of the whole course. We won't be kicked out if we share all of our knowledge. Our own interests won't be damaged but boosted by sharing knowledge. Finally, no sharing people could be shy or don't want to. We can't force people to share. But what we can do is coach them to find out a way that what stop them to share knowledge and that make them aware that the benefits of sharing knowledge to them as well. I don't agree with SACKing people because they don't share. That's not fair and not effective leadership.

Facilitating KM is about providing resources to make it happen. Physically, it could be things like database, software, documentation and so on. Also, It should involve leadership coaching in facilitating application of KM. It is difficult to make KM work when only relying on physical resources. leadership is essential in popularising KM culture.

KM could be a part of Learning Organisation. and it is a key factor to support OL.


My understanding of KBAM

At first glance, I thought KBAM is asset management which direct companies to figure out how to practise strategies more effectively. lately, I found I was a little bit wrong about it.  Asset management is actually important. However, how to make it more efficient is even essential. Then the topic will be moved onto Knowledge management which tells how to manage your existing knowledge to serve you in a positive way.

I like reading articles about successful businesses and the way how they manage. I surprisingly found that the success they have had is all the way down to how they manage their knowledge. Knowledge is not only about the means of which companies work on, but information etc. More importantly, knowledge management is not about what you are managing rather than how you manage them. Some companies are holding knowledge centrally and information. Leaders try to tell followers to do as chess pieces rather than creating a sharing environment and stimulating their initiative. It is quite scary that employees are working within a closed atmosphere. Then, consequences are disappointing that inefficiency of decision-making and deployment would draw companies back. Weakness will be transformed into distance between companies sooner or later. 

I used to work for an education provider. The most remarkable activity which I think accelerate the company become the leader of the market is sharing knowledge session. At every certain intervals, the company asked departments organised their own sharing session. This, I think, largely increases the competence of the company by internal sharing, internal store, adopting, and creating. Most decisions were made with the help of outcomes from these sharing session. The company adjusted their performance to satisfy requirements of clients and markets.


Knowledge=Power

In World War II, American troops were fighting very hard with Japanese Enemy. A group of Scientists proposed that they have a brand-new method to end the War. At that moment, people from MoD didn't believe that tiny atom could make such difference though they later on tried the proposal and drop the bomb with nuclear technology. The results are historical that the bombs destroyed weigh more people including innocent ones than normal troops could could do. Then, knowledge of new technology becomes more important ever.

This is a good example of how knowledge is important to development of mankind society though development of new weapons is not what we should persuade for. To be a student from a developing country, I have to admit that China need more knowledge reservation than ever as she is a blooming country. The difference between developed countries, such as USA, UK, Germany, and developing countries is basically the mastering of knowledge. The story above could explain everything about what knowledge could do. 

I do think the knowledge we have in China is not quite enough. Simply looking into our economy, you will find some clues about what I am talking about. most of Chinese enterprises are manufacturing outsourced for multinational groups. We have been learning for decades and we have improved a lot. Sadly, we still cannot wholly produce our own innovative products with latest knowledge delivered by local academics. 

We have very good research teams all over the country. What we need to do is to be aware of the importance of knowledge, to understand that transformation of knowledge into practical exercises is difficult but worth to have a go. Finally, ALWAYS keep a innovative heart to explore new things from where we are working at.


January 31, 2010

what do you cost

In any companies, political issues are happening here and there. As a basic element of this culture, how can we position ourselves when we actually find ourselves in the middle of it. Bosses are more likely to be comforted by being kissed on their backs, no one would refuse to be complimented. And also, they are quite happy, sometimes, to notice some invisible fights among departments. This is what is happening really in the real world. As maturing Masters, some of us are heading to employment after graduation. It will be a question for us sooner or later, we could be successful unbelievably fast as well as losing everything in a second.

It is contradict to talk about the question. In my point of view, it really depends on how you want your life to be. One  is keep your morality clean and pure. The other is do something dirty or bad behind someone's back to make a better life. Or, there is the third choice which is do bad things deliberately not to jeopardise others' future. 

There is a story. A king has two ministers. One is a good guy who is smart and rectitude. The other is greed and corrupt. However, both of them are beloved by the king while they are intangibly fighting under the supervision of him. The king knows everything of it, but he never points it out. His intention is obvious which is quite like the one that most managers are likely to have. Internal competition is a preferable situation that some bosses possibly want, even though they never say a word about it. The only things bosses care is performances and results. On the other hand, invisible fights sometimes could generate a more satisfactory results that bosses are looking for.

Accordingly, what you want to cost in returns of what you are after is not a black and white question. It could turn out preferable results of yours, or ....It really depends your own choice. So, watch out!! and take care!!!


A little thought of being an effective leader?

A hotel simulation in the module of Leadership Excellence formed me a clearer on being an effective leader. Leaders deal with projects through leading groups of people. When having a new project, leaders are naturally receiving expectation from followers of knowing the whole project inside out. However, that's not the exactly leaders should do. 

A little understanding of mine on being an effective leader specifically under this occasion is as the following:

1. Fully understanding of what the project is precisely aiming for, and lock the objectives up.;

2. With given resources in the team, break down the project and make a systematic plan to be conducted;

3. Briefing the details of the project and allocating tasks to specific departments;

4. Creating a vision for the followers and providing a perfectly safe environment for completing the project;

5. Managing time and make sure that followers are aware of it;

A leader should not have to be an expert in where he or she is working, but a leader have to know how to inspire followers and maximise their potential in their fields. 

Mistakes are quite normal to be come cross in business environment. The important thing for leader is not to leave it or use positional power to make it worse. It should be discussed and compromised sometimes because there is no absolutely right answer in business. There are only more feasible options for managers to choose. Therefore, do not blame someone when he or she made a mistake in decision-making. Try to find the reason for it while figuring out solution. 


January 14, 2010

leadership

Leadership is always a hot issue in any organisation or profession. On one side, people think about their leaders when the leaders first time stand forward in front of people. Likewise, leaders are thinking about their group members when the group members are doing so. However, leaders have one more thing over others which is "How can I make these people willing to work for me positively?".

The answer for the question will be hard to have, because people are different.  Different people whom are treated in the same way would possibly reflect various results,  cooperative or not. Therefore, the ways to deal with others become crucial. More leaders are willing to use their position power rather than personal power. Here, I'm totally understant why they do in this way. Nevertheless, being tough can not solve all problems occured in a process of leadership. It seems like a spring, it may absorb the energy when you push it down, sometimes it may not. This is applied within people, people would start to argue, and then whole environment will be damaged.

Repect is one word that I've heard a lot within lecture. I think the respect between leaders and the others are mutual, and it is based on something. Initially, people respect leaders because of the positional power that leaders have, no one wants to get in troubles. With more and more respect from leaders, people could start to change, becoming more respective from their heart or disrespective.

Leading people is about to involve psychological point of view a lot.


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