• Designing a knowledge management tool to support knowledge sharing networks

      Barber, Kevin D.; Perez-Aros, A.; Munive-Hernandez, J. Eduardo; Eldrige, S. (2007)
      The purpose of this paper is to present a knowledge management (KM) tool which has been designed to support the creation of virtual knowledge sharing networks (KSNs). It is a software-based application that enables the sharing of knowledge related to the implementation of manufacturing excellence (ME) best practices and improvement tools. A survey of SMEs was carried out to investigate the implementation of ME best practices. The results indicated that that the main barrier to the implementation of best practices, quality models and improvement tools is a lack of knowledge about these initiatives due to the resource constraints experienced by SMEs. This led to the development of a KM tool to support the creation of virtual networks to enable SMEs to manage improvement projects and share effectively the generated knowledge. The KM tool is currently at the stage of validation and its future implementation is also under consideration. The KM tool supports the creation of KSNs through an explicit KM approach to share ideas, experiences and knowledge about implementation of best practices and improvement tools; helping SMEs to become more competitive. This research has demonstrated that is possible to provide a KM tool that is suitable for use by a KSN of SMEs. This approach allows transferring some of the tacit and explicit knowledge generated during the implementation of improvement initiatives into electronic documents for future consultation by KSN members.
    • Process based knowledge management systems for continuous improvement

      Barber, Kevin D.; Munive-Hernandez, J. Eduardo; Keane, J. (2006)
      This paper presents a practical methodology for developing a process-based knowledge management system (KMS) for supporting continuous improvement (CI) and asset management. An action research methodology was used to develop a KMS to support CI in a manufacturing company. The KMS is evaluated through application in the case study company. This methodology ensures a consistent approach to carrying out all improvement initiatives. The final part of the methodology addresses the construction of an intranet-based knowledge warehouse. This contains several searchable areas such as existing information on assets, new knowledge generated from projects, details of expertise in the business and links to the key business drivers through the corporate intranet. The KMS is shown to support CI initiatives through the utilization of available data already held within the company's management databases (production, quality and maintenance) including consideration of corporate strategic plans. Process models trigger the application of improvement tools and projects in a true CI environment. This methodology acknowledges both tacit and explicit knowledge within the company, and it represents an appropriate environment to promote and develop a true learning organization. The system developed is shown to be flexible and has been implemented in a manufacturing environment. Financial benefits are presented.