Case Studies A few important case studies are

Case Studies

A
few important case studies are discussed in this section wherein Knowledge
Management based Six Sigma has been aimed by various well known Multi National
Corporations. These MNC’s have incorporated use of IT into their systems in
order to aid the process of KMSS.

KM at Volvo Cars

Formal
methods that Volvo Cars uses to share knowledge are primarily knowledge
databases, internal meetings, internal and external training courses,
e-learning and professional development activities. An additional formal method
of knowledge sharing is coaching programs within the organization.

Informal
methods are especially networking and relationships between employees. A couple
of times each year, internal trainings are held at Volvo Cars Academy. These
training programs aim at enhancing safety awareness, creating a base for
further improvement work and establishing a unified approach at the company.
Those respondents who have facilitated these trainings mean that an important
part of them is to use real examples and discuss participants’ experiences. In
addition to Lean-related courses such as Lean Learning Academy and Simulated
Work Environment, training is also conducted in Leadership such as Aspire Lean
Leadership (ALL) and IT-based systems such as SharePoint, Share Knowledge,
Performance, MAXIMO, Intro to Management 
to name a few.

Individual
learning by studying literature is an example of another important learning
situation. In addition, Volvo Car offers internal courses and helps organize
external courses for employees.

These
courses can cover general subjects suitable for all employees, and provided, if
necessary, more specific courses often held by an employee at Volvo Cars that
is specialist in the area.

P&G using Knowledge Management

While
some companies aspire to finding sources of innovation from among their networks
of suppliers and business partners, Proctor & Gamble has taken the open approach
to innovation a step further with its Connect + Develop initiative. Connect +
Develop is a strategy through which P&G has been successful in acquiring
knowledge from various different sources. The motive is not to replace its own
R&D but to inculcate additional knowledge into its system so as to develop
products suitable for the market that meet customer expectations which is the
key to achieving high standards of quality.

 In addition to developing new products itself,
the company looks around to identify companies that have developed proven goods,
packages, technologies, business processes and engineering solutions that have
the potential to be improved, scaled up and marketed globally, either by
P&G itself or through joint ventures with other companies.

P&G
uses multiple ways of capturing this form of knowledge for example; It has a
website through which people can submit ideas based on P&G’s list of
requirements and technology briefs. Then it uses what it calls its
“intelligence search engine”. This consists of a group of people located around
the world who act as corporate matchmakers— they assess the innovations, run them
past the appropriate business unit and communicate with the companies or individuals
that have developed them. Similarly in order to achieve high standards of
quality, suppliers too are crucial to P and in order to serve this
purpose it has developed an IT framework through which it shares much needed
knowledge with respect to manufacturing practices, quality, customer feedback with
its suppliers.

With
the cost of developing new products and technologies rising, these kinds of initiatives
are becoming more common as companies look outside their own walls for sources
of knowledge, expertise and innovation.

Use of Knowledge Management at Red
Bull Technology

Red
Bull Technology is a company with a single product which breaks down into 7,000
parts, the ability to share information is critical. The company designs,
engineers and builds the cars for the Formula One racing teams of Red Bull,
which made its debut on the circuit in 2005. With a large number of highly
specialist engineers and suppliers required to collaborate on this complex undertaking,
the potential for extremely valuable and competitive intellectual property to
be leaked or stolen means that protecting information is as important as sharing
it.

As
well as managing the critical intellectual property that is behind the cars it
produces, Red Bull Technology must also ensure the rapid design and development
of products and components that require very high levels of quality to match
with intense competition and at the same time a very lean approach at almost
everything to ensure that the operations are kept as lean as possible. The
product team may need to introduce thousands of new components during each
season in order to compete with other teams that constantly upgrade their
technology, an unusually large volume for a relatively small company and
requiring the efficient exchange of knowledge and information. To facilitate
this, the company has streamlined and standardised its product development
process to a greater degree than would be the case in aerospace or mainstream
automotive companies. From the conceptual and detailed design stages to the
verification and testing stages, a formal process is followed.

Behind
the process is a powerful IT system. Red Bull Technology uses Teamcenter
Engineering, a product lifecycle management system from Siemens Software, to
capture a whole lot of product data generated by the company. The technology is
designed to transform product development from a series of unconnected
processes to a single, collaborative one uniting information from different
sources. At Red Bull Technology, the system allows data relating to materials, components
and designs for each car to be broken down and viewed on screen, like an
upside-down tree with a node at the top exploding into detail. This allows the
company to have a database and a structure that reflects the product in a way
that people in the company understand and that makes it easy to find
information.

This
crucial sharing of Knowledge enables Red Bull Technology to remain significant
in a highly competitive domain of motorsports combining Lean practices and near
to zero quality defects using IT tools.

Conclusion

This paper has
presented the importance of Knowledge Management in successful implementation
of Six Sigma using Information Technology in Industries. It has discussed different
case studies ranging from Volvo Cars, Proctor and Gamble to Red Bull Technology
how these MNC’s have utilized IT to attain Knowledge Management based high
standard Quality practices that are inline of Six Sigma process.

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