Discuss about the Knowledge Management for Snapshot Industries.
Snapshot Industries is a manufacturing organization which deals with the gardening and kitchenware. The company had approximately 200 staff members and had a high retention rate. There were some well-formed business processes and management of the organization never tried to deviate from it. The experienced team members of the organization had immense knowledge regarding the business processes and operations. The business basically comprised of plastic sections, machinery and tools factory and packaging and distribution office. The same business operations and systems were followed for a long time. The sales of the organization were steady and stable. Every employee of the organization has complete control over their work and had the responsibility and the freedom to accomplish their work in their own manner. All the employees of the organization had a well-developed understanding of where the other employees fit in the organization. The business processes can be characterized by predictability and comfort level.
However, the death of the business owner caused major upheaval in the organization. The grandson of the owner took responsibility of the organization’s management. It was presumed that the present manager will preserve the existing arrangements of the system. However, new changes were introduced in the organization such as hiring of movers or shakers, acquisition of other businesses in the service and manufacturing. During this time period, the number of employees was expanded from 200 to 600 and a complete restructuring was conducted in the organization. The number of products was reduced and the production number for each product was increased. Several teams were introduced for manufacturing the same product and incentive system was introduced to boost the performance of each team. However, this strategy increased the stress on the senior employees of the organization. Other changes were also introduced such as the development of a vigorous marketing team and a centralized personnel record system was also introduced. However, the introduction of the computing system overstressed the senior employees who were habitual of using pen and paper. With these restructuring processes, the employee stress heightened which is resulted in high employee turnover and absenteeism. With the high turnover of the senior employees, the knowledge of the previous employees was also lost. The new employees were kept out of the crucial information; therefore, when operational issue rose, they were unable to handle it. With the inadequate information and lack of direction, all the employees were confused and dissatisfied about the growth of the organization. It also raised several operational issues in the organization. In this regard, this report will examine the key issues in the current operations of Snapshot Industries and will provide recommendations to handle them in a better manner.
Major Problem and Linkage to Knowledge Management
The major issue in the operations of the organization was the in experience and lack of expertise of the new staff. Due to this reason, the staff members were unable to handle situations relating to operational issues in the organization. Moreover, although the new recruits worked with the senior employees for a large amount of time, they did not acquire any knowledge regarding the operations of the organization. It can be critiqued that the inability of knowledge transfer was the issue associated with the knowledge management of an organization (Borghoff and Pareschi, 2013). In the current times, knowledge management has become critical in the success of an organization. The knowledge management refers to the process of creating, sharing, using and managing knowledge and information in an organization (Hislop, 2013). It is an approach which assists an organization in reaching the organization objectives by maximizing the use of knowledge potential. The knowledge management is associated with the organization objectives such as improved performance, competitive performance, innovation and continuous improvement of the organization (Grover and Froese, 2016). The knowledge management efforts align with the organizational learning and focuses on the management of knowledge as an organization asset and sharing it for the better performance outcomes.
Types of Knowledge in Snapshot Industries
In a business organization, several types of knowledge exists. It is important to identify different types of knowledge and develop strategies to identify and synthesize them. All the knowledge identified in the organization can be categorized into explicit knowledge and implicit knowledge. The explicit knowledge is the knowledge which is formal in nature and can be codified. This type of knowledge is easy to identify, store and retrieve. The explicit information has the same challenges as that of other information documents. The most important challenge for the explicit information is that the people hae access to to provide employees access to the information whenever they need it. Constant review of information is also needed. The important information should be updated and obsolete information should be discarded. The explicit information is simple in nature; however, it does not contain the rich experience of the professional which is necessary to develop competitive advantage. The Snapshot industries possess this type of knowledge. The information regarding the operations and manuals to handle equipment are included in this type of knowledge (Hau, Kim, Lee and Kim, 2013).
The tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge which is hard to define and basically based on the experience of the professionals. This knowledge refers to intuitive knowledge which is context dependent and personally gained through experience. In a business organization, this type of knowledge is considered as the most valuable source of knowledge and crucial in developing the innovation capabilities and sustained competitiveness of the organization. The senior employees knew how to handle production lines efficiently. It also included how to handle major faults in the production lines of the organization (Schoenherr, Griffith and Chandra, 2014).
The senior employees of the company also had strategic knowledge which was essential for the operations of the organization. The strategic knowledge refers to the fit between procedural knowledge and contextual information which interlinks the financial, cultural, political, technical and institutional knowledge. The strategic knowledge refers to the knowledge related to complex events. In the present case, the strategic knowledge refers to the knowledge related to handle complex situations such as production in pressure or how to handle faulty lines.
Resignation and Retirements as a Business Issue and Proposed Solution
One of the major issues in the knowledge management of Snapshot Industries is the resignation and retirement of the senior employees. Although the fresh recruits from the college bring energy and enthusiasm to the work, the senior workforce is integral to the business development as they have crucial information regarding the business. The senior workforce has crucial information regarding the business processes and the business operations. In a business organization, the senior employees have knowledge regarding the processes which are unique to the organization. They not only have the theoretical knowledge but also crucial practical knowledge which is important for developing the competitive advantage of the organization. Massive resignations and retirements are a business issue for the organization as it results in the loss of the strategic information of the organization (Vnou?ková and Urbancová, 2015).
In order to combat this issue, the organization must development human resource strategies. They should support the senior staff members in learning the new systems and provide comprehensive training to them. It is important to communicate to the employees that the changes are introduced to assist the employees in their daily operations. Although learning to handle the computer system will be difficult for the employees initially, the acquisition of knowledge will increase their efficiency and increase their productiveness (Armstrong and Taylor, 2014).
Issues related to the Leadership Strategy of the Organization and Proposed Solutions
It can be critiqued from the analysis of the case that the organization was facing some serious issues related to the leadership strategy. The newly appointed CEO has the management degree and immense theoretical knowledge regarding the management and increasing the productivity of the organization. However, he lacked the practical knowledge of implementing successful change in the organization. The changes introduced in the organization were too drastic and the senior employees were unable to handle it which pushed them out of organization.
It is the responsibility of the leader to consider the interest, strengths and the weakness of all the employees and motivate them together to embrace the change. Moreover, in any change process, the leader must develop a communication strategy so that all the employees do not remain dazed and confused. All the employees must be aware of the change plan so that they are prepared to adapt to the change. It is also important that the leader communicates the positives of the change process so that the employees remain motivated to embrace the change. The organization should also implement training and development activities so that all the employees are trained to work on new machines. The training should also include induction session so that the new employees are introduced with the operations of the organization and build good rapport with senior employees (Aarons, Ehrhart, Farahnak and Hurlburt, 2015).
Business Areas Requiring the Knowledge Management Principles
It can be identified that there are several operational areas within the organization which needs to reflect on the knowledge management principles. The production and the manufacturing departments should immediately adopt the knowledge management principles. In manufacturing organization, the existence of the whole business is dependent upon effective and efficient production. Manufacturing organizations often face spans wherein there is huge pressure from high demand from the market or empty spans in which there is minimal demand. It is important to optimize the production in both the cases so that the profitability can be maximized. (Geisler and Wickramasinghe, 2015)
In addition to it, the organization should also embrace the knowledge management principles in marketing and sales department. The leading sales professionals of the organization understand how to pitch their products to the customers so that they are attracted towards its features and buy it. The marketing department are also aware of the marketing tactics and the strategy which will work on the target customers. In addition to it, the senior employees at high or managerial positions have significant amount of tactic knowledge which needs to be shared with the junior employees for the knowledge transfer. It includes allocating budgets, giving priorities to the business issues and handling small problems in the business (Rotaru and Borza, 2014).
Snapshot has also integrated the human resource and personnel management system in the organization. Previously, every department has its own personnel management system and all the managers knew the capabilities and the worth of all the employees. Recruitment of large number of people and changes in team result in loss of this information. It is important that the organization implements a knowledge management system in the human resource department of organization so that the crucial information related to the employees remains with the organization.
Knowledge Management as a Strategy
Currently, Snapshot is facing several serious issues in the operational management. It needs a combination of strategies to increase the sustainability of the organization. The organization needs effective strategy in change management, knowledge management and human resource management. The leadership strategy is also needs to be adapted so that the organization can embrace the change positively. Among all these strategies, the strategy of knowledge management is crucial for the success of the organization. In order to create an effective knowledge management program, the organization needs to implement a systematic strategy for the transfer of knowledge within the organization. It is a multidisciplinary method which is focused on achieving the organization objectives by my maximizing the use of knowledge. The Knowledge Management efforts are part of the internal business strategy and emphasize on several organization objectives such as improved performance, increasing competitive advantage, innovation and continuous improvement of the organization (Reed et al., 2014).
In knowledge management, the operations of an organization can be categorized in three stages and the knowledge can be obtained from any of these three stages. These stages are before, during and after KM related activities. The organizations try to capture knowledge by implementing several intervention strategies such as making the content submission necessary or incorporating rewards in performance management and knowledge sharing. The push strategy is commonly used for the knowledge management wherein the organization strive to encode the knowledge and motivates the employees to share knowledge into the knowledge sharing repository and provide means so that the employees can retrieve knowledge from other individuals (Ahern, Leavy and Byrne, 2014). The codification can be implemented on both tacit as well as explicit knowledge. The organization implements different strategies to store and retrieve both types of information. Another strategy which can be employed for the knowledge management is pull strategy. In this strategy, the organization makes request to the experts of as particular subject to share their knowledge. In response to these requests, the individuals provide insight to their requester.
Several companies commonly employ personalization strategy to increase knowledge sharing. It includes tactics such as mentorships and developing diversified teams. In mentorship alliance is formed between the experienced employees and thee fresh recruits such that the experienced employees transfer their knowledge with the inexperienced employees. By developing diversified teams, thee organization encourage communication and personal relationships with the people who come from diversified backgrounds. Every employee has individual skills and knowledge (Knight and Howes, 2012). By creating alliance of people from different backgrounds, an organization can promote knowledge sharing. Other than that, the company can also try to foster a culture in the organization which promotes sharing of information. It is important to imbibe in the organization culture that knowledge is important and should be shared and updated. It is important to develop strong leadership and culture of storytelling to transfer tacit knowledge within the organization. Recently, large number of software have been developed to increase the knowledge sharing in the business organization (Meir, 2009). Snapshot Industries can utilize software such as groupware, Workflow, Enterprise portals and Telepresence.
Although knowledge management is necessary strategy to address the current issues in the business organization, it is singularly not enough. The business organization should implement other strategies also to streamline the work process in the organization. It includes change management strategies and the human resource strategies. Recently, a large number of old and senior employees have resigned from their jobs. It is important to imlem4nt retention strategies so that loss of talent can be mitigated. The organization should identify that a large number of employees are resigning from their jobs as they lack the adequate skills to operate the new computing systems (McElroy, 2010). They also find it difficult to adjust to the new production lines and processes. Therefore, in order to control the turnover rate of the organization, it should implement adequate training and development facility so that the senior employees can accommodate new computing system. A significant amount of time should be given to the employee to learn and adjust to the new systems.
Other than that, the organization should also implement effective change management strategy for successful change implementation. In order to implement successful change, the leadership should implement several methods to prepare the organization for change such as communication, providing training and development and providing substantial time for the stabilization of the processes (Becerra-Fernandez and Sabhrwal, 2014). The management should be prompt to listen to the problems of the employees and address them immediately for effective outcomes.
It can be concluded that knowledge management is an essential strategy for the organization success. Snapshot Industries is suffering from the lack of knowledge management strategies which has diminished the productivity of the organization and created several operational issues. In addition to it, the organization is also facing issues with the recent changes implemented by the new CEO of the organization. It has been identified that the most prominent operational issues in the organization are related to knowledge management, change management and human resource management. A large number of senior employees have resigned from their jobs which resulted in the loss of the tacit and strategic knowledge of the organization. The tacit knowledge refers to the knowledge which cannot be easily shared, stored or retrieved. This knowledge is developed by the experience of the people with the organization and the machine handling. Snapshots Industries can implement methods such as mentorship or creating diversified teams so that the tacit knowledge can be shared with the employees. The leadership should also change their management style. The leader should identify the strengths and the weaknesses of all the employees and implement change such that no employee is left out. It is important to make each employee feel valued within the organization.
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