Just find some interesting cartoon:
Santa's Bank Manager
Asset management over development.
"My 35 years of experience tell me your tolerance for risk is low..."
Just find some interesting cartoon:
Santa's Bank Manager
Asset management over development.
"My 35 years of experience tell me your tolerance for risk is low..."
¡°Knowledge management is about asking yourself: Who has done this before? Who can I collaborate with? Who needs to know this? Where can I post this so that someone can use it when they need it?¡± (David Wennergren DOD Dep CIO) Wikipedia defines Knowledge Management as: comprises a range of practices used by organizations to identify, create, represent, and distribute knowledge for reuse, awareness and learning.
Seems to me there is some value to ensuring we have a good knowledge management system in place. Where else can a better example be thought of where knowledge is key to success than right here in the IT world? We use internal and external knowledge to solve complex problems on a daily basis¡that knowledge is typically organized and presented in a way that it can be found and utilized. Why should our entire Organization think of it any differently? Knowledge exists in every single corner of this organization and just imagine how valuable some of that information is¡..
There have been lifetimes spent within this organization finding answers/solutions to resource management issues¡..shouldn¡¯t this information be available for the new kid fresh out of College beginning his work for us? Imagine how much further ahead of the game he will be armed with the knowledge that took someone else 20 years to figure out. That, my friends, is of value!
Playing off of a current playing commercial ¡..Information is critical¡..having ready access to it in a format easily understood is¡.Priceless! Information drives our world and some current, but certainly most future, employees will expect the tools to be in place to help them retrieve that information. Well, this is where I see IT fitting in once again¡.we should be providing the tools for that information retrieval¡or at least putting the requests in for those tools.
I believe we are making inroads into that arena. We currently have some of the tools in place to assist with a reasonable Knowledge Management system¡.we have Sharepoint, we have the Intranet, and other tools. I believe there is a growing interest amongst current employees to use those tools to store some of the knowledge. We must continue to grow the technology to facilitate that maturing process. Some keys to that success include: IDF; a document management system (complete lifecycle management); I believe improved collaboration software will help (Exchange, Office `07, Sharepoint `07, IM, etc); and certainly an educated technical staff on the tools will only help improve the odds of success.
While we may still be in the infancy in fully understanding and implementing this concept, we are heading in the right direction. Keep thinking about ways we can present information that is of value to those we work with and those we serve (Conservation Supporters). We owe that to those who put in the effort to create the information as well as to those that will follow that will benefit from having it readily available.
Yes, I wrote the article just as a spontanous reaction against all what was told and that was apparently not the truth. I have two eyes to see with and I think I know how to use them. I have visited very many countries and worked in I think thirteen for longer and shorter times. I have seen many things in my life. I am fluent in surprisingly many languages. I can make my own picture about things. Other people does not need to tell me what is right or wrong. I can see it myself.
I did just not get the full article published but I express my gratitude to the only one that at least took in a very shortened version. A chinese friend asked for the article in a translated version. I translated it to english, a language that I never studied but happen somewhat to use. The friend sent it somewhere and now it is published everywhere! And this in its full version! I hope it will contribute to tell the truth to the world. I gave a speach on behalf of the foreign experts in Shanghai at the New Years celebration and I finished it with the words of my dream and the dream of millions of human beings. The Olympic Games mantra: ONE WORLD, ONE DREAM!
Thank you all so much for your support that has suprised me very much!
The Riots in Lhasa
by Eirik Granqvist, a foreign expert in Shanghai who visited Tibet in 2006
"The western medias announced that China had cut all information and that articles about the riots could not be sent out! I got mad about all the apparently incorrect information and wrote this article and two other similar ones although I am not a journalist but just because I could not stand all the bad things about China that was told. I sent them by e-mail without problems and they arrived well but two newspapers did neither respond neither publish what I had written. The third answered and wanted a shorter version that was published many days later as a normal 'readers voice'. What Dalai Lama had said was largely published every day together with a real anti-China propaganda. What I had written was apparently too China friendly for the 'free press'."
¡¡¡¡I was very shocked by what I had seen in the television and been reading in China daily about the riots in Lhasa. The most that shocked me was anyhow may be not the cruel events by themselves but how the medias in my country of origin, Finland, reported the events. A friend has scanned and sent me articles and I have checked also myself what can be found at Internet.
¡¡¡¡Very few Finnish people have ever visited Tibet, but I was there together with my wife in 2006. This was private persons and not as a part of a group-travel. I have seen Lhasa with my own eyes. I have been talking and chatting with people there. This was without any restrictions. Okay, we had a lovely and very competent guide that helped us much and took us where we wanted to go in the mornings but in the afternoons we were alone. Therefore I think that I have something to tell.
¡¡¡¡I am also interested in history and know more than people in general. When writing this, I do not have any reference books so I write out of my memory. If I do a small mistake somewhere, I beg your pardon. Anyhow, I think that this gives my writing an objectivity. I am well aware of that I will be accused for this and that for writing what I think is the truth. I will be accused by those who think that they know but do not know and by those that haven't seen by their own eyes.
¡¡¡¡Tibet was for centuries an autonomous concordat between Nepal and China. Sometimes China ruled Nepal as well. The king of Tibet used therefore to have one Chinese wife and one Nepalese and then a number of Tibetan ones.
¡¡¡¡With the fifth Dalai Lama, the religious and the political power were unified under the rule of one person, The Dalai Lama. Tibet became a theocratic dictatorship and closed itself for the rest of the world. No foreigners were anymore allowed in.
¡¡¡¡At the end of the nineteenth century, the famous Swedish traveller Sven Hedin made an attempt to reach Lhasa but was sent politely back, out of Tibet by Dalai Lama.
¡¡¡¡A French woman, Alexandra David-N¡¡¡¡ì¬¦el was more successful. She visited Lhasa dressed as a Tibetan pilgrim and she was fluent in the Tibetan language. She told how she was afraid many times that she should be discovered and then she knew that she like other suspects or opponents should "happen to fall down" from the walls of the Potala palace.
¡¡¡¡Tibet was not a paradise. Tibet was an inhuman dictatorship!
¡¡¡¡The weakened Chinese Qing Dynasty had more and more lost its influence in Tibet. Tibet became more and more interesting for the Russian empire in the north and the British in the south.
¡¡¡¡In 1903 a British army expedition directed by the colonel Younghusband reached Lhasa. The British lost 4 soldiers but slaughtered more the 700 Tibetans that tryed to stop them, mainly by magic. The British installed "a commercial representation" in Lhasa. The Chinese evacuated Dalai Lama to the Qinghai plateau where he hade limited rights of move, probably for preventing him from having contacts with the British occupants.
¡¡¡¡The Finnish national hero, Marshal Mannerheim, visited him there in 1907 during his famous horseback trip through central Asia. He was then a colonel in the Tsar Russian army and his trip was in reality a spy trip. Therefore the 13th Dalai Lama was interesting.
¡¡¡¡The power of Dalai Lama was weakened. In 1950 the PLA marched in to Tibet without war. The 14th Dalai Lama seems at the beginning to have accepted this just as a security for his power as the theocratic dictator he was. He enlarged and restructured the Norbulingka Summer Palace in a luxury way in 1954.
¡¡¡¡The Chinese decided anyhow to finish with the cruel theocratic dictatorship under which the opponents fell down from Potala. The borders where during this dictatorship closed for all foreigners and the only schools where the religious ones. It is well known that it is easier to rule a population with a low education and is ignoring the outside world. In Tibet, about 5% of the population owned everything and the rest literally nothing. About 40% of the Tibetans were monks and nuns living as parasites on the rest of the population that had to feed them. Tibet was not a paradise!
¡¡¡¡Now China decided that the Tibetans should have the same rights and place in the society as the rest of the country's population. The monasteries should be emptied from their excessively large monk and nun populations.
¡¡¡¡Tibet could earlier be reached only by some horse trails and was for the rest insulated. The Chinese built rapidly a trafficable road. The insulation was broken.
¡¡¡¡In 1959, the young Dalai Lama caused a peoples upraising, using the religion as power since he was loosing his own powerful position. The upraising was however stopped, may be in not a too clever and smooth manner. Dalai Lama then left Tibet and his fellow citizens and escaped to India wherefrom he has continued to fight for his come back and reinstall the theocratic dictatorship that China will never allow again.
¡¡¡¡Then followed the ten years of Cultural Revolution that was an unhappy time for all China that closed itself to the rest of the world.
¡¡¡¡Now Lhasa has a modern airport and a railway. China has invested a lot in Tibet. The standard of living has been raised a lot in Tibet and last Xmas I have seen Tibetans spending sun-holidays on Hainan Island! Very lucky looking old women in traditional dresses walking on the beach with their husbands and the youngsters dressed like other young people enjoying the beach life.
¡¡¡¡The possibilities for Dalai Lama to take back his power has diminished and he does not anymore have the population with him. China and India are developing their cooperation and with the closer friendship, India will for sure also not more admit Dalai Lama to disturb this development. His possibilities to act against China will be diminished.
¡¡¡¡Therefore he undertook recently an around the world diplomatic travel since he has seen the possibility of harming the now good international image of China and provoking boycotts of the Olympic games in Beijing.
¡¡¡¡The Lhasa riots where very well prepared. Curriers where crossing the borders illegally for to see Dalai Lama and get his orders. A group of foreign mountain climbers filmed recently across the border an unlucky incident when one of these curriers got shot and another that crossed the border openly declared that he wanted to go to see the Dalai Lama. I have seen that in television just before I left for China in November.
¡¡¡¡China is no longer a closed country. There is no need for illegal border crossings if you are not doing something illegally! You just ask for a passport and take the necessary visas and cross the border at a legal border crossing or better, just take a regular flight from Lhasa to Kathmandu!
¡¡¡¡There where no peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa that where brutally knocked down! Young men went to action after a well prepared scenario at many places at the same time so that police and fire brigade should be taken by surprise and unable to act everywhere at the same time. This was successful! People where just knocked down without differences and all what could be broken was broken in the shortest possible time. With Molotov cocktails, fires where lit and fire cars where stopped. 18 normal citizens where killed without feelings and one police. The police had order to not respond with firearms for not being internationally blamed!
¡¡¡¡When I have seen the filmed riots in television, my diagnosis was immediately clear. The scenario was the same that I had seen many times of organized riots in France since more the forty years of tight familiar contacts and 21 years of living there. The difference was only that less ordinary people seemed to take part in Lhasa. The rioters where surprisingly few but well organized! China's positive image in the world should be damaged!
¡¡¡¡Dalai Lama is acting as the friendly and peaceful father. This is an old trick that also dictators like Hitler and Stalin used. I am not comparing him with them but he is acting like a demon when he tries to take back his power at any cost, not once caring for human lives and against Buddhistic non-violence principles. It was a try to do a coup d'¡¡¡¡ì¬¡¡¡¡ì¬tat that failed. Now he is asking for international help for to stop the violence that he, himself had planned!
¡¡¡¡When I visited Tibet in 2006, I was surprised by the relaxed atmosphere and the few policemen in Lhasa. All that I have seen were Tibetans. Not the Han-Chinese. The atmosphere was remarkably peaceful and gave a picture of general well living. There was no oppressed feeling like I had seen so many times in the Soviet Union and its satellites before all that non-human system collapsed. People in Lhasa where friendly and wanted to speak to me, mostly without success since I do not speak Chinese nor Tibetan but up and then somebody could speak some words in English. Their wish for contact was just out of normal curiosity towards the foreigners.
¡¡¡¡I had heard that the religious life should been oppressed but it was flowering! I had also heard that so many Han Chinese where moved in that the Tibetans where now very few in Lhasa. I did however see much more Tibetans there. May be that the Han Chinese where hiding?
¡¡¡¡The western medias announced that China had cut all information and that articles about the riots could not be sent out! I got mad about all the apparently incorrect information and wrote this article and two other similar ones although I am not a journalist but just because I could not stand all the bad things about China that was told. I sent them by e-mail without problems and they arrived well but two newspapers did neither respond neither publish what I had written. The third answered and wanted a shorter version that was published many days later as a normal "readers voice". What Dalai Lama had said was largely published every day together with a real anti-China propaganda. What I had written was apparently too China friendly for the "free press".
In general, IT has been thought of as being expert at managing data. Libraries have been thought of as being expert at collecting and organizing published information. But in complex organizations there is an increasing need to manage not just data or information, but knowledge. Knowledge is produced by humans who are able to produce information from data, and then merge information and experience into knowledge. Knowledge is often undocumented. It easily can be lost when the individual who has certain knowledge is unavailable. Determining how best to capture and manage knowledge requires collaborative partnerships.
The purpose of this initiative is to focus attention on knowledge management at UTHSCSA, identify opportunities for collaboration among various partners, and increase library support for knowledge management projects and programs
This picture is very interesting. I find people always have potential to do something we do not know. We need manage our knowledge well and exploit the aspect which we do not know.
ECONOMIC history consists of distinct economic eras corresponding to shifts in the dominant source of wealth ¡¡¨¬C from land to labour to capital. In the 1980s, several economists predicted the imminent shift to a new economic era in which knowledge would eclipse capital as the primary source of wealth.
Arguments claiming that a new economic era, i.e. that of a knowledge-based economy, has already begun are convincing. Suffice to say that organisations are indeed becoming more knowledge-oriented and have come to rely more on knowledge to create their strategic advantage, as advances in information and communications technology continue to alter the way organisations invest, produce, and market their goods and services.
As productive capabilities become more dependent on knowledge assets, and knowledge itself is being created and exchanged at an increasingly rapid rate, organisations are re-structuring themselves to exploit it to get better market leverage. There has thus been a dramatic jump in the level of interest and use of knowledge management to uncover and utilise knowledge assets.
Knowledge management initiatives are aimed at enhancing organisational performance through the identification, capture, validation, and transfer of knowledge. The assumption is that organisations will be more successful in dealing with the challenges of the new business environment if they are able to manage both corporate and individual knowledge better.
Knowledge management was first used in large companies operating in knowledge-intensive sectors such as oil, pharmaceutical, high technology and financial services. The use of knowledge management has also recently spread to the more traditional economic sectors, for example, agriculture, which has been transformed by biotechnology.
Most of the emphasis so far on the use of knowledge management has been in large organisations. However, knowledge management is also relevant for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Recent Australian SME case studies suggest that knowledge management contributes towards improved business competitiveness in several ways. They include:
¡¡¡§¡§Allowing organisations to better understand customer needs, preferences and pressures;
¡¡¡§¡§Facilitating stronger, longer-term partnership-style relationships with customers;
¡¡¡§¡§Reducing costs associated with business and production processes, and improving speed and quality; and
¡¡¡§¡§Assisting organisations to use lessons learnt from previous projects and tasks to improve future performance.
Another key finding of the Australian study is that knowledge management helps facilitate the generation of new knowledge and encourages innovation through various strategies. These innovations tend to be ideas for new products or services, new clients, new and improved business services and new ways of using and re-using knowledge.
Malaysia¡¯s economic development has been largely dependent on capital investment. However, one important strategic thrust of Malaysia¡¯s current development plans is to transform Malaysia from a production-based economy into a knowledge-based one. The rationale for this strategic change is the declining marginal productivity of capital.
The rapidly evolving global business and trade landscape has important implications for Malaysian enterprises and, in turn, for Malaysia¡¯s economic development. This is because, as part of the Government¡¯s holistic and balanced approach to enhance Malaysia¡¯s international competitive standing, Malaysia will rely increasingly on the private sector as an engine of economic growth.
SMEs face more challenges compared to large enterprises, and the implications of a rapidly evolving global business and trade landscape are especially critical for them.
SMEs also have an important role in the national economy. In 2003, SMEs contributed RM405bil (43.5%) and RM154bil (47.3%) to national output and value-added, respectively. As such, Malaysia will need to ensure that SMEs are not left out of the mainstream of the knowledge-based economy.
Knowledge management in Malaysia remains at a very infant stage, with very few Malaysian companies having initiated any programmes. While knowledge management may not be the magic pill that can solve all the problems SMEs currently face, SMEs will at least be able to deal more successfully with the challenges of operating in the new business environment if they are able to manage corporate and individual knowledge better.
Today we watched the video about Paris rail crash in 1988. There are 56 people died and more than 50 people injured, it is very serious. But actually the error can avoided if the driver have robust decision and if the train design more consider the user, maybe this crash will not happened.
I find some error in this vodio
Why all the safety procedures failed?
1. The emergency cord must be rest to return the brakes to normal before the train can depart. While doing so, driver inadvertently closes the air supply to the brake, rendering them useless and locked on.
2. Driver wrongly diagnoses an air lock and bleeds air from the lock to clear it.
3. Driver radios the station but forgets to identify himself or his train.
4. Driver hits the emergency alarm, it prompts signals to overrides the automatic routing system that would take the runaway train to an empty platform.
Disaster is now inevitable.
The investigation team found the main cause of the crash was Driver error.
However, they also highlighted several technical and safety shortcomings in the railway system:
1. The brake pipe lever was too easily accessible and vulnerable to sabotage
2. The radio system was over complex and the driver needs more training in its use
3. Signaler should be able to turn all signals to red without automatically overriding the pre-programmed routes
Process improve using Six Sigma is finished by today. Through the experiment in the module which are the DFSS and Toguchi, I was understand the thoery of six sigma a bit as a tool to continous improving the process. But for the six week self- studying by doing the PMA, I know more clear and understand more what is six sigma. Six Sigma is a goal, a vision...
Recent consumer safety scandals have brought home the inadvisability of manufacturing products or running any aspect of a business at the lowest possible cost.
Global companies must assume responsibility, and there is a powerful new force that imposes a more potent and far-reaching natural assurance of product quality from global companies - namely "worldsourcing".
By looking out for the best value all around the world, modern companies are building the strongest safeguards of quality - their brands. Worldsourcing is based on the fact that for a company, its brand is the most valuable asset, more important than nationality or location. By reaching out to the entire world in search for the best ideas and talent, a company not only refines its brand and nurtures its essence, but also exposes it to a multitude of probing eyes. Globally, it is evaluated not by nationality, but by the quality of its goods, services, governance, transparency, environmental practices, degree of corporate social responsibility. And the level of value it delivers to customers worldwide.Worldsourcing ensures protection of consumers and manufactures everywhere
Necessity to worldsource
It is crucial to understand the difference between worldsourcing and outsourcing.
Outsourcing is about lowering costs by shifting non-essential operations to a contractor in order to cut costs.
Worldsourcing is about increasing value and quality, not just lowering costs.
All parts of a global enterprise are worldsourced to where the best resources, talent, ideas and efficiencies exist.
Senior executives can be based in London, marketing can operate from Mumbai and research and development (R) might be headed in Silicon Valley.
In a world united by internet and globalised language and culture, it becomes not a choice but a necessity to worldsource.
This is a interesting topic.So outsource is focus on the local, low costs by shifting non-essential operation to a contractor inorder to cut costs. But worldsourcing is about increasing value and quality not just lowering costs.It is a new topic in nowadays, but how to transform the organization to worldsourcing type, is it suitable for all kinds of organization?
According to Sanders and Hild (2000) there are three general strategies of six sigma deployment:
(1) Six Sigma organisation;
(2) Six Sigma engineering organisation; and
(3) strategically selected projects and individuals.
The first strategy, ``Six Sigma organization'' uses a methodology of training all individuals, in all areas, in the fundamental concepts and tools involved in the application of Six Sigma. Using this method, a high level of awareness can be created throughout an organisation, and a common language and problem-solving approach adopted. The ``Six Sigma engineering organization'' strategy in contrast, however, focuses on training and development within the design and manufacturing engineering departments of the firm. In this case, resources are more focussed and there is an emphasis on project applications. The third category, ``Strategic selection'' as it implies, refers to the development of strategically-selected employees. ``These individuals are assigned complex projects identified by needs and objectives critical to the site or organization'' (Sanders and Hild, 2000). Here there is a great amount of flexibility in training in comparison to the previous two approaches. Training is provided as required by the very strong project focus.
This is a interesting pictur for the organization culture or the share knowledge.
When you plan to use sharing knowledge as a way to change the organization, our research suggests that the best strategy, ironically, is to first match the values and style of your organization. Don’t start out a new campaign and new structures for sharing knowledge. Find the knowledge sharing networks that already exist and build on the energy they already have
Just find some interesting things about the environment.
We make thousands of radio and television programmes every year. We recognise that this does have an impact on the environment, but the impact of what we do - our environmental footprint - is actually not as great as that of organisations of a similar size in other industries. That's because most of the resources we use are creative.
We have an existing environmental policy which commits us to reducing waste and energy use. However, we have decided to develop a medium-term strategy, with clearly defined objectives, to ensure that the BBC is run in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.
The BBC environment policy
The BBC exists to enrich people's lives with great programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain. Our vision is to be the most creative and trusted organisation in the world. Environmental management is integral to this vision and our performance.
The BBC recognises that our environmental footprint arises from our business operations including our buildings and infrastructure, programme making and commercial activities. Our environmental impacts include air emissions, waste generation, land use, energy use, and water use, along with those associated with the procurement of goods and services.
The BBC's overall objective is to carry out our business operations in a way which manages, minimises and continually reduces our adverse environmental impacts and demonstrates pollution prevention. Our ambition is to become a sector leader in environmental management.
We will achieve this by:
Environmental management is everyone's responsibility, and a prime responsibility of all levels of management, and I expect everyone to contribute to achieving our overall objective.
We will provide adequate and appropriate resources to implement this policy and will ensure it is properly communicated and understood.
The Executive and I aim to encourage initiative and the adoption of best practice in a culture where employees and managers are aware of their individual responsibilities for the environment and where they are actively engaged and committed to improving standards of environmental management.
Authorised February 2007
Six sigma is a process improvement methodology that aims to increase business performance through a solid and accurate business focus. It is a systematic approach to achieving continuous process improvements. The six-sigma approach incorporates five stages of implementation in process improvement, which are called the DMAIC-cycle of define-measure-analyzeimprove-control. These steps guide the improvement process and help detect root causes of the failures in a single improvement project. The key steps in six sigma are:
1. Defining product characteristics that affect customer satisfaction.
2. Using a failure mode and effect analysis to identify and control parameters to meet
3. Employing a reproducibility and repeatability study to measure the control parameters.
4. Estimating the process capability of the prototypes and thereby being able to correct
individual defects immediately.
5. Developing the quality control plan and training material.
Today we finished the KBAM module. It is a interesting module which all the study process is by ourselves. We need look up material by ourselves. We can focus on which aspect what we like, we can chose anytime to study what we like. All of those are depend on ourselves. Also it is our last two week module of EEE. A bit sad. Time goes quickly, half a year is gone now.
In this module, maybe from the first day up to now, I know the self- study and how to implement it more and more clear and understand its signification. I think it is big change for the half of year for me. A quilt different studying way, different majoring, different environment. Everything is fresh for me. I was not done well in this period. I am good at adjust self in the changed environment. It is not only the context of studying for me is a big challenge, the mind change also is a big problem. I clear know this point at the beginning but I can not control meself very well. I need time. Now I can not say I adjust to suitable the circumstance very well, but I can say it is better and better than beginning.
Another thing is the time manager. It is difficult to do the PMA, in module assignment and project at the same time. But as the Paul said, this is also a way to teach how to manage the time andto do many things well in short time. This is really a big problem and I need think and really to find a effecient way to manager the time well.
Today we finished all of the seminar for the kBAM. Actually it is also the all of the seminar for the EEE course. Because I only got three module left but all will finish in one week. I remember the first seminar in the PPE module. It is a big confuse for me. I do not know what is seminar and why need seminar. Then in the LE module I still think those seminar is not useful because most of question is no necessary to discuss. But move to the KBAM, I start to custom this form and I was do prepare for every topic before the seminar. I find it is not difficult and it is useful for improve the self- study skill. Whatever we talk at the seminar, it is just a simple point or word, but it is a way to inspire our mind to think more. If we have time or intereting who said, we can spend more thime to look for that opinion after the siminar. I should already have ability after the many years of school studying. Nobody can teach me everything and I can not sit in the classroom to listen what the teach said and study it what he ask. I really need is how to make more contribution or find more reletive knowledge from simiple word which maybe I never hear or think before.
So is it the seminar is a tool for the Knowledge Management? I am sure it must be.
Knowledge management covers the following:
by Anthony R. Kane
The following article was adapted from Tony Kane's speech to the Asset Management Peer Exchange, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Federal Highway Administration, in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dec. 1 through 3, 1999.
Why is asset management important? Why is it more important than it has ever been before? What's new about it? What is different? Why do we need to focus on it?
My premise is that we are in a rapid period of change. Change is all around us -- in our political system, in our economic system, in our institutional relationships, in technology, in public attitudes, in our customers' expectations. We not only need to be a part of change; we better be leading the change. Otherwise, we will be following; we will be falling behind; and we will not have the support that we need for highway programs in the future.
We must establish a sense of urgency. In his book Leading Change, John Kotter from Harvard talks about a series of steps that are important in focusing on change, dealing with it, and managing it. The first step is coming to grips with the importance of change and realizing that there is a need for urgency. I say that now is the time because we have a real need and a real a sense of urgency about asset management.
We in federal and state highway agencies must now think about ourselves a little differently. In this workshop, we heard a presentation about a program (six-sigma) that has never been used in the public sector, but it is used in the private sector because they worry about the bottom line, they worry about margins, they worry about how much money they have to run their business, and they worry about how much profit they are going to make.
Well, we have businesses too. We have invested a trillion dollars in the highway system. Think of yourselves with a multibillion-dollar balance sheet. Even the smallest state has that. The largest state probably has a balance sheet that is at least $100 billion.
Well, do you think we ought to be responsible for that? Do you think we ought to be checking how well we are doing? What kind of rate of return are we getting? Should we report to our stockholders -- the drivers in our states and those who pay for some of our services as they pass through.
Well, it's time! It is time for all of us to look at the assets we have in a different way. We should look at ourselves as a business, responsible for billions of dollars of assets. What is your corporate report each year in terms of how well you are serving your customers with those billions of dollars of assets?
Maintaining and operating the existing highway system
with its more than 6.4 million kilometers of roads and
about 500,000 bridges is the focus of asset management.
Asset Management Is Quality Management
Truly, to me asset management and quality are two sides of the same coin. For example, quality awards, such as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, are based on quality in leadership, strategic planning, information systems, process improvements, management and development of your human resources, focus on customers, and bottom-line business results. These same "qualities" are required for effective asset management.
To have effective asset management, the top leaders are going to have to be focused on it. You are going to have to be committed to it. You are clearly going to have to have good information systems. You are going to have to understand all the processes that you have. It requires a thorough examination of what you are doing, what you are managing, what you want to get out of all your assets, and how well are you serving your customers. This is clearly the quality framework.
A very fascinating and intriguing aspect of asset management is its multidisciplinary approach. We are finally blending our economic skills and our engineering skills to work effectively across multiple disciplinary boundaries within our own organizations. It is having our finance people and our budget people and our planning people talking to our pavement management and bridge management staffs so that what evolves into multiyear programs emanates from sound asset management considerations and trade-offs. Information that comes from a variety of management systems is integrated across the disciplines, and the finance and budget people and the planners are working in sync with the asset managers.
Fortunately, the tools of our information age help us to coordinate and cooperate more easily than we could in the past, and that makes it easier for us to adopt and embrace the concepts of asset management.
The Dynamics of Our Highway System
If we look at the highway program itself, there are two general areas that influence our discussions on asset management. The first area is our evolution from building the system to maintaining and operating what we have, and we have a very large system -- more than 6.4 million kilometers of roads with about 500,000 bridges as part of an investment of more than $1 trillion. Second, we also have had changes in our institutional governance. Let me focus on both of those dimensions.
Clearly, as we take a look at changing from expansion to preservation and operation, it is a new ball game. Asset management clearly covers the full gamut of preservation and operation of the system -- the whole range from preventative maintenance to reconstructing the system while placing a strengthened emphasis on operations, including traffic control operations, freight operations, and customer service.
Asset management truly embraces myriad considerations. For example, think about how long and frequently your highway system is "open for use" so you can focus on whether your incident management system is working well, whether your snow removal is working well, whether your construction processes avoid tying up the traffic lanes as much as possible, and whether your traditional congestion-relief measures are really working well. What processes are involved in the operation of your system, and how well is it operating?
AASHTO and FHWA are not establishing any mandates. We will work on technical products. Your shareholders and customers are the ones who are going to demand that you focus on asset management.
Obviously, these and similar issues are very important, and we can see that national expenditures are moving toward more efficient operation and preservation of the existing system rather than simply expanding capacity.
Another major influence is the change in transportation roles for the state and federal governments and for the private sector. A recent report from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) explains how state departments of transportation (DOTs) are altering the size of their operations and the way they are structured. They are decentralizing programs and project management. They are coalescing some support service functions. They are streamlining operations and moving more toward performance-based operations -- not only in specifications, but in the way they do business and manage their own resources. And there are a whole range of public/private ventures, including a general trend toward increased privatization. Outsourcing is becoming much more common; many states contract for more than 90 percent of their design work. Several states have performance-based maintenance contracts and management contracts; as an example, the District of Columbia has a contract to have the private sector manage their entire portion of the National Highway System. So, the evolving roles of the public and private sectors are influencing our view of asset management by redefining the way the assets are going to be managed and who is going to be managing them.
This evolution of roles is going to continue, and asset management is clearly not a stagnant endeavor. We must embrace it, understand it, and commit to using asset management.
A Historical Perspective
As we ponder the changes occurring now and in the future, it is worthwhile to remember that these kinds of changes in highway management and operations are not a recent phenomenon.
At the end of the 19th century, the Good Roads Movement was started by the American Wheelmen, and they were not men who drove cars. They were bicyclists. They were the ones who got to their state legislators and asked for better roads. So, remember them and what they accomplished as you think "back to the future."
The 1920s were a golden age. The rallying cry at that time was "move the farmers out of the mud." You have all seen a picture in which the road was nothing more than a muddy path with a car or truck stuck in mud up to its axles.
In the 1950s, with the initiation of the interstate system and the federal highway trust fund, there was a focus on construction and new ways of doing business.
The 1960s and 1970s saw everything from the environmental movements to a change in focus on resources. Governments around the world began switching from Keynesian economics with its emphasis on employment and government spending to influence aggregate demand to being more worried about balanced budgets and deficits. They became more focused on paying for what you get, on managing systems better, and being more responsive.
As we jumped into the '90s with new emphases on intermodalism and comprehensive planning, we also evolved into the preservation era.
As we look out to 2050, what might we see? I do not know, but think about our history of evolving public/private partnerships and changes in the way we manage our systems. We may or may not endorse the evolving, possible New Zealand model with a couple of private, competing road companies owning and managing our roads, but who knows? It is going to be a very different game, and we need to be ready for it. We need to be nimble. We need to adjust. We need to adapt.
Changes in highway management are
not a recent phenomenon. For example,
at the end of the 19th century, the Good
Roads Movement was started by the
American Wheelmen, who were bicyclists.
I contend that a good asset management framework is understanding what you have, its value, what you need to do to make improvements, the marginal gains from different investments and from different things you do to that system, and the whole host of players who are involved in managing the system. You need to have an integrated focus. You need to have a database system. You need to have the engineering and economic analytical tools. You need to have the methodology to understand that system.
As we move into the 21st century, think of your organization as a multibillion-dollar corporation. Your stockholders are going to ask: What have you done with those assets? What is your rate of return? What have you gotten? What kind of marginal gains have you made with those assets? What will they be worth next year versus this year? How much have they depreciated? What is their value now? What have you done to enhance the value of your assets? What is the economic value of that system?
Now is the right time to think about it, to focus on it, to work on it.
We are working hand-in-hand with AASHTO. They have asked us to be partners. As we looked at our own organization and reorganized in January 1999, we created an infrastructure core business unit (CBU). Vince Schimmoller heads that CBU, and within that CBU, we created the Office of Asset Management, headed by Madeleine Bloom. We pulled together our economists, our engineers, and our pavement and bridge management system folks into a unit that can hopefully help the state DOTs to develop new concepts and provide technical assistance in the areas of system management and preservation.
AASHTO and FHWA are not establishing any mandates. We will work on technical products. Your shareholders and customers are the ones who are going to demand that you focus on asset management.
The shift in emphasis from "building" to "operating" systems is entirely in sync with the concept of asset management. FHWA was originally organized in the era when we were building the highway system, but now we need a stronger focus on operations. So, we pulled together our traffic management folks and our intelligent transportation systems (ITS) staff to form a new Operations Core Business Unit, headed by Christine Johnson. Within that core business unit, we created a new Office of Freight Management and Operations.
Today, a good asset management system is more important than ever before because there are more players involved in that management and we have to have the right tools. We must understand everything about our assets. We must communicate effectively because government is no longer alone in the management of public assets; we have a lot of private partners as well.
"The times, they are a-changing." It is time for asset management to be a significant part of the changing nature of state DOTs. The bottom line is that you can either be part of the change -- lead and shape it -- or follow it and perhaps be forced to live with something that will not meet your needs. The choice is yours!
Anthony R. Kane was the executive director of the Federal Highway Administration. He is a long-time advocate of integrating economic and engineering disciplines for effective asset management. He has a bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in civil engineering, a master's degree from Northwestern University in transportation, and a doctorate of business administration from George Washington University.
Outsourcing is transferring business processes from one company to another. The concept is to have the management or day-to-day execution of one or more business functions performed by a third-party service provider who is already in sourcing those same business processes. A parent company uses the outside firm to provide a business function that could have been done in-house. The aim of outsourcing is to make the business or organization more competitive by staying focused on its core competencies.
Benefits of outsourcing:
• The company functions on a continuous or ongoing basis rather than on any specific single project.
• It enables companies to focus on their core business function. Outsourcing takes care of ancillary functions in part or in totality. This optimizes the company¡¯s growth based on its core or specific business.
• Reduces operating costs by focusing on major business area. This way, the capital funds always remain available for the core business instead of being diverted to other supporting portions of the business.
• Improves productivity and service by standardizing all operations and processes across your global portfolio. The outsourcing vendor manages your global portfolio comprehensively, thus increasing the lifespan of your portfolio.
• Outsourcing when taken off shore gives you access to world-class capabilities. You can leverage global resource networks to support your business. It gives you another perspective or dimension to the existing business for more efficiency.
• With the shrinking world and cross-culture across the world, it helps employees to assimilate efficiently in changing the working environment.
• It fosters and sustains an exceptional safety culture, emphasizing training and employee morale.
• If done on same premises/country, it provides an alternate career option to employees.
• Creates flexibility with the facilities to even provide support in times of industry uncertainty.
• Speeds up work, shares innovations for best practices. You can maintain competitive edge with new ideas.
• Reduces risk and increases productivity.
• Frees many resources for other purposes for enhancing or expanding your business in other directions.
• Companies can save 10-20% cost on an average with outsourcing.
Additional Benefits of outsourcing:
• Renewed focus on core business.
• Improved customer satisfaction with improved processes.
• Risk reduction due to reliance on experts and infusion of new technology.
• Project enhancement and effective cost management through financial engineering.
• Renewed opportunities for employees with skill upgrade and access to newer skills.
• Visible cost reduction and avoidance of capital investment.
• Asset conversion.
Value derived from outsourcing facility management
• Value and savings gained. This occurs during initial transfer from in- to outsource as they do the job much more cheaply because of the availability of huge manpower and similarly larger global business.
• Increased focus. The management time and resources previously used on managing the facility can be used for research and development projects.
• Increased flexibility. It can eliminate fixed overheads and physical plant ownership, thus cutting costs.
Outsourcing, besides cutting costs, can build a virtual large company with a large work base with the entrepreneur as the sole employee.