Knowledge management (KM) is a technology based approach, which develops a business atmosphere for managing the knowledge, such as; storing the information and material data and gathering the data in an effective way, which can assist in future development of organization. Through the implementation of knowledge management, an organization can manage the documents, data and efforts of people (Becerra-Fernandez, and Sabherwal, 2014). Under this, the major objective of the organization should be to improve the ways, in which the people work together, communicate ideas and opinions and work on other ideas and then use them for a common objective. The development of knowledge management system makes the human resources able to utilize the resources, business reports and execute the best fit solutions. For knowledge management system, it can be said that it is one of the most significant system for enhancing capabilities and competencies of the company. Knowledge management is the process of collecting, communicating, using and organizing the knowledge and information, so that organization can attain its predetermined objectives by using the knowledge properly (Botha, Kourie, and Snyman, 2014). This IT based system enables the company to recognize the problems and develop the best fit solutions to them.
For this report, the company, which is chosen here, is Coca Cola Company that is based in United States of America. The organization is running its business operations since more than 130 years all over the world. It is well-established in American and international food and beverage industry. This below report consists of the knowledge management program, which is used by Coca Cola Company and it also includes the knowledge infrastructure of this company. Coca Cola Organization is utilizing some IT solutions to handle its knowledge management system. Moreover, there is the discussion about the effect of knowledge management system on human resources, processes and its products and services. This firm has executed this technology based system to get expected and positive outcomes.
Coca-Cola Organization is one of the most popular brands in the world food and beverage industry. This is a well-established organization that produces carbonated soft drinks and other beverages and has been in this business since 1886 and currently serving more than 200 countries with its products. The organization was founded by John Pemberton in late 19th century, whose marketing strategies directed the company to the dominance in global beverage and soft drink industry. The organization is offering a variety of products, under its beverage and soft drink category, like; Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla and special flavors with the lime, coffee and lemon. According to the study of best global brand, 2015, this company is the third valuable brand, led by Apple and Google. It is one of the leading producers of soft drink and now it is well-recognized for its international marketing capabilities (Coca Cola Company, 2017). Currently, the organization is working as one of the most appreciated organizations and it has proficiency in the field of manufacturing, distribution and advertising and marketing. Use of technology has enhanced the business in different ways. One of the major factors behind positive results is the packaging of the products. It is enhancing the efficiency and quality of product.
Coca-Cola operates its business maturely, where the implementation of new technology and innovations is lower than other organizations (Celk, 2017). It is one of the great instances of an organization that attaches the significance to knowledge management by incorporating and processing the knowledge and information from different subsidiaries all over the world.
Knowledge Management Infrastructure
Knowledge Management Infrastructure of a company includes all the components, which integrate to simplify the flow of information and knowledge to support the decision making processes, including organizational structure and operations. However, KM infrastructure combines not only the IT infrastructure but also includes social, human and organizational factors of the company (Chua, and Banerjee, 2013). Coca-Cola Company has developed a specific and operative management infrastructure after analyzing the needs of this system to deal with some issues. Before implementing knowledge management infrastructure, first the company will analyze the needs and requirements for this system at Coca-Cola. The company believes that the only way for employers to get to each of employees’ performances is enhanced technology in developing for them an effective knowledge management system. The company has to create the need for them, so that they rely on the system and company will be able to increase its production and profits.
Coca-Cola has developed its KM infrastructure, including its different components, i.e. organizational culture, organizational structure, IT infrastructure and its physical environment. Knowledge management infrastructure of Coca-Cola Company is given below;
The culture of an organization shows the norms, values and beliefs, which assist the employees in guiding their behaviors in the workplace. These shared norms and values have a huge impact on the employees of the organization and lead them how they appear, work and perform their roles and responsibilities in the operations. Under knowledge management infrastructure, organizational culture is an important component. It consists of understanding the process of knowledge management and organizing the support for knowledge management at all management levels (Dalkir, and Beaulieu, 2017). At Coca-Cola, knowledge management has a strong relationship with the collaboration. This organization is very much sensitive to its culture and brand image to both of its suppliers and customers due to their pursuit of carrying out better and positive innovation to the customers. For enhancing the growth of business and increasing customer base, Coca Cola Company has used different knowledge sharing methods in the workplace. It allows the knowledge managers of the company in communicating the creative ideas. These knowledge sharing methods are assisting the top levels managers in understanding the best fit ideas and resources and sharing them with other employees to create an effective and comfortable organizational culture.
The term organizational structure describes how different activities, like; allocation of tasks, communication and supervision are led for attaining the goals and objectives of organization. Apart from organizational culture, Coca-Cola organization depends to a large extent on its organizational structure. Under its knowledge management system, there are so many aspects, which are completely concerned with this concept. At Coca-Cola, decentralization structure of organization has been practiced that develops a workplace environment where the managers are assigned the responsibilities and they are outcomes driven (Galliers, and Leidner, 2014). Use of decentralized organizational structure is one of the key elements at Coca-Cola Company. In addition to this, the large liberation of some specific business areas and of the departments shows that the middle level of management has sectorial proficiency.
On the basis of this structure, the company is following the principle that the employees, who are closer to the problems, are closer to solution to them. Under the knowledge management system at Coca-Cola Company, embedded knowledge plays a vital role. This KM system allows the managers to use the data and information of their workplace and its environment. Furthermore, this also helps the organization in analyzing the structures and working processes of its human resources.
One of the major strengths of Coca-Cola Company over other small beverage company is the knowledge, which each part of the organization has created with the passage of time and that can be used by other people in the organization. It has nurtured its organizational structure and culture through tacit knowledge of its employees. Implanted knowledge at Coca-Cola Company provides different rules and regulations, which need to be complied with. The top management at Coca-Cola Company gives a task schedule to its people (Hallin, and Marnburg, 2008). Through this, they are able to understand the schedule to coordinate with their external and internal stakeholders, like; customers, suppliers, manufacturers, shareholders etc. In addition to this, Coca-Cola is executing the structural knowledge management system, which enables its management and top managers to access the previous reports and data, where the knowledge is secured.
Knowledge management structure of the company is also enabled by the IT infrastructure of that company. However, some information systems and technologies are directly established to go ahead with the knowledge management, overall It structure of organization that is created to assist the requirements of management information system (Hays, 2010). The IT infrastructure of the organization combines different elements, like; storage, data processing, communication systems and technologies and practices, which process them to work. Coca-Cola Company is implementing effective information technology tools for connecting the people from different departments, like; finance, production, distribution, marketing etc. By implementing the electronic data interchange technology that is incorporated in the information system of company, the employees are able to access the operational data, such as; sales data and figures, customer information and promotion. It increases the knowledge of employees and their awareness to consumers. These IT tools allow the organizational staff in generating solutions to the issues, policies and processes of organization. This IT infrastructure of the company is enhancing the sharing of information and communication among its different departments. In addition to this system, Coca Cola Company has used different IT tools for managing the knowledge and information, like; Intranet system, reviews, meetings etc. Thus, it has incorporated various techniques under its IT infrastructure for managing coordination and communication in the company (Hislop, 2013). Knowledge management system accomplishes all the aspects at Coca-Cola Company, i.e. richness, depth, reach and accumulation.
Generally, an organization takes the physical environment very for granted, but it is also a significant base upon which knowledge management relies. Key elements of psychology environment consist of location and size of office premises, number of meeting rooms and design of office buildings. Physical environment plays an important role in fostering the knowledge management by offering opportunities for its people to meet and communicate their opinions and ideas. The physical environment at Coca-Cola is very attractive and it has developed a meeting room, where it conducts the meetings and business reviews with its people. The management at company believes that it is essential to develop a comfortable and better physical environment for effective learning (Holtshouse, 2013). At Coca Cola, this component of knowledge management infrastructure is managed properly and assists the management in encouraging the knowledge management by providing opportunities to the people to share their ideas and opinions.
Technology Used By organization
For effective knowledge management, companies use and implement different Information Technology tools, which assist them in generating appropriate solutions for their business problems. At Coca-Cola Company, there is incorporation of various information technologies, which are utilized for managing the knowledge and information. The company uses these technologies to facilitate the solutions to knowledge management problems (King, & Marks, 2008). Two major techniques, used by Coca-Cola are Intranet System and Electronic data Interchange technology system. These technologies at Coca-Cola are stated below;
To deal with the employee performance and knowledge management issues, Coca-Cola Company has executed Intranet system. Intranet system is a system that allows the employees to coordinate, communicate and share the information and use the productivity techniques. This system is generally operated and maintained by the organization servers and can be used by the internal people of the company only. The Intranet system is modern and advanced technology that is used by the Coca-Cola Company.
By the use of this technology, the employees are assisted not only in enhancing their abilities and skills but also assisted in enhancing coordination among organization and its bottling partners. This technology is improving the relationship with bottlers due to the network established between them (Lopez, 2012). Under knowledge management, this system will give the employees with the points and facts on how it is serving the customer satisfaction. In Coca Cola, bottlers are the major source, from which knowledge management system can get the information and data as they are very much connected with the society and community. This is the major reason why bottlers are considered as a foundation unit of Coca-Cola system.
Electronic data interchange technology
The future success of Coca Cola lies on enhancing its information technology. Through this technology, the employees are able to access the operational information easily. This information may be related to the customers, promotion and marketing and sales. It is improving the knowledge of employees and their response to its customers. This advanced enterprise content management technology allows the company for repurposing its assets and enhance the speed, efficiency and collaboration in a manner, which provides them a significant competitive advantage. Under knowledge management, Coca-Cola has developed an easy to use user document, which is refined to communicate with several databases, servers and archives of the Coca-Cola Company (Gengeswari and Hamid, 2017).
In this way, these are two major technologies, which are used by the Coca-Cola Company for its effective knowledge management. By the use of these techniques, the company is performing its activities and operations effectively.
Knowledge Management Systems
Knowledge management systems are the practices, which are created by combining different technologies, which assist the knowledge management process of a company (Mirvis, Herrera, Googins, and Albareda, 2016). In an organization, these systems can be categorized in four types, which are given below;
- Knowledge Capture System
- Knowledge Application System
- Knowledge Discovery System
- Knowledge Sharing System
For Coca Cola Company, two of above systems are stated below;
Knowledge Application System
Knowledge application system is a system, which can be utilized for maintaining the important knowledge and information on the company. It is an important system, which helps the process through which some of its employees use the knowledge owned by other employees without receiving and learning the knowledge (Macharia, and Ismail, 2015). There are two types of this system, i.e. routines and direction. At Coca Cola Company, the knowledge managers have pursued routine as its application system. Under this system, Coca-Cola Company has included the knowledge and information in its routine work processes. In this way, it is able to guide the employee behavior and perform their duties and responsibilities accordingly. The management at this organization believes that application system under knowledge management should be efficient because it is most significant component of this process. In addition to norms and rules, the organization uses various applications and software to transfer and apply the knowledge, like; enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise content management system and CRM (Smith, and Lyles, 2017).
Knowledge Sharing Systems
This is another system under the process of knowledge management, through which implied knowledge and information is shared with the people in an organization. This system of knowledge sharing can be positioned among different departments and groups of organization. For sharing the knowledge and material information, Coca Cola Company is using effective tools and technologies, like; intranet system and electronic data interchange. In addition to this, it is utilizing the embedded knowledge, which supports the company is situation planning and understanding the employees (Noell, 2014). This situational planning allows the managers in developing a structure for operating the information system properly. By using the above given technologies, the company is able to share its work procedures and guidelines with its employees. The knowledge sharing system of Coca-Cola has assisted the management to communicate with all the levels of employees.
Impact of knowledge management solutions on: people, processes, products and organization performance
In an organization, the knowledge is developed by combining for components of the organization, i.e. people, processes, practice and technology. The knowledge management solutions, implemented by Coca-Cola have a large impact on its people, processes, products and performance, which are given below;
Under knowledge management process, people are the key sources of information. Through knowledge management system, the people at Coca-Cola Company are able to develop and acquire the information and learn from that and teach others, so that organization can be more innovative and generate new knowledge. This system at Coca-Cola allows the managers and employees to acquire deep understanding to manage organizational resources and employees (Rasheed, Subhan, Ahmed, and Ibrahim, 2015).
Processes are the structured activities that direct the company and its people towards its objectives. Through effective knowledge management implementation, Coca-Cola organization is able to enhance the productivity and efficiency of its processes, like; production, supply chain, marketing and advertising. Intranet system allows all the authorized departments to access the required information. They can contact with its all the employees and departments all over the world, as Coca-Cola is operating its business in more than 200 countries (Virgilio, and Francesca, 2012).
Products are the major offerings that are provided by a company to its customers. Knowledge management has a significant impact on the products and services of the company. Coca-Cola Company is offering soft drinks and other beverages. By implementation of knowledge management, the company is able to develop contact with employees all over the world and understand the needs and desires of customers (Wang, & Wang, 2016). After understanding the needs of customers, the company is making innovations in its products accordingly. It assists the company is offering improved products, which provide an additional value in comparison to previous products. In this way, knowledge management is enhancing the product excellence at Coca Cola Company (Weaven, Grace, Dant, and R. Brown, 2014).
When the people, processes and products have positive impact of knowledge management solutions, it indicates that there is improvement in the organizational performance. It improved the management and administration in the company offices. The organizational costs have reduced, as the people are connected through a single system (Williams, 2015). The employees are able to communicate through web conferencing, mails and chats. It has eliminated the travelling costs to the company.
The above stated report shows that Coca-Cola Company has executed two knowledge management techniques and initiatives, i.e. Intranet System and Electronic Data Interchange. These technologies have affected the different areas of the organization. Through Electronic Data Interchange, the company is able to manage the performances of individuals. It allows the people to access the operational data of company, like; customers, market changes and trends etc. It increases the employee’s responsiveness to the customers and their satisfaction. This knowledge management solution went very well in the organization and assisted in attaining the related objectives. It enhances the management information system of the company.
Through Intranet System, the company is able to communicate with the employees effectively. But this system is failed in this company as it demands an associated hardware and infrastructure. So, it is very expensive for Coca-Cola Company (Rasheed, Subhan, Ahmed, and Ibrahim, 2015). This intranet services put burden on internal servers, which need updating, replacing and licensing. In the place of this system, the company should execute the Digital Media Management System, developed by IBM. This system will be a strong source for managing the information. This new system will make the worth of advertising and marketing icons available via a wide internal network. It will allow the employees at Coca-Cola to easily access the information and materials for future projects.
From the above report, it can be concluded that knowledge management is an important process for establishing communication among different groups and employees. This process can assist the organization in storing and managing its databases and other important information about its processes. The above analysis shows that Coca-Cola Company is introducing different systems and techniques for managing the knowledge. The company is using different tools, like; Intranet System and Electronic Data Interchange system. At Coca-Cola, Electronic Data Interchange system is more successful than other system. So, it is hereby recommended that company should implement a new knowledge management system, i.e. Digital Media Management System. Through this, the firm will be able to manage and communicate information successfull,
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