Knowledge Management Role Play
the work will be assessed using te general marking criteria and in relation to the knowledge and theories of knowledge management
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The details of criteria and Oakland Case Study Materials attached
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l Cognitive issues:
Main cognitive issues that the organization Oakland is facing at the moment; primarily are different mind set of each member of the working group. While it is crucially important to acknowledge that each individuals contribution towards the organization is of significance and without it delivering the final product wouldn’t have been possible, it is also to realize that each of these members of working group are failing to see the bigger picture and the fact that where and how they fit into it.
For instance, under the current setup, while the production manager is worried about the phenomenal influence that production scheduler enjoys and what Oakland might have to face in case the production scheduler decides to leave. The later, is worried that if the Enterprise Resource Planning System is implemented, it might mean end of his tenure at Oakland. Similarly, the Chief Designer is the driving force behind the creativity and uniqueness of the production. However, he ends up making things difficult for production manager and purchase manager with ever changing specifications. Another such instance was also noted, the Sales and Distribution Manager tends to quote an inflated level of demand to ensure that when time comes for full-filling the order, there is enough inventory at hand. However, this in turn increases the inventory holding cost, negatively affecting the bottom line of the business or profit, at the end of the day. Finance department also has its concern over functioning of the business. The head of Finance, who is concerned about accessive debt and servicing it as a result of management buy-out, fail to understand why Chief Designer would want to invest in new and expensive equipment. He finds the expenses quite redundant and thinks that business profitability is compromised upon. Meanwhile, the Information System Manager thinks that if the Enterprise Resource Planning System is in place, perhaps the organization will realize his calibre and potential. So far, he feels quite side-lined in a production oriented business like Oakland.
All these issues can be resolved once the information handling is consolidated. When each department shares the information that they have completely with other, for example, if Purchase Manager is constantly updating the system with the raw material he has purchase, the Production Manager would have access and easily know that what raw materials are at hand and if he requires any that isn’t available then he can simply log in a request over the system and Purchase Manager would know. The Sales Manager would know the exact production level and the Production Manager will know the exact number of orders that have been received. It would also make servicing clients easier. It has been mentioned that Oakland receives nearly hundreds of calls each day from customers. Enterprise Resource Planning System can also function as an effective Customer Relationship Management system. The client relation detail can be saved for future reference, when a client calls-up, the system automatically shares the client history with the client service manager. It shall enable the manager to effectively service the client.
Thus, we can say that, Oakland is an organization where members of the working group have different set of beliefs and priorities, courtesy their diverging experience and differing backgrounds. While this variety of view has helped organization grow over the years and each individual’s expertise has helped Oakland achieve competitive advantage in the industry. It is to realize, that these differing perception are hurting the profitability of the organization. When managers fail to consider the bigger picture and focus too much on their respective role that comes with compromise in quality of the product and profitability of the business. It is for every member of the working group to understand that the contribution of the others is equally valuable and important for functionality of Oakland on whole.
l Social issues:
The social issues the Oakland primarily faces in case an Enterprise Resource Planning System is implemented that it would require extensive training of the existing personnel. Also, most of the workforce, like Production Scheduler, might feel that introduction of an Enterprise Resource Planning System means end of their jobs. These fears should be put to rest as soon as possible. Members in different position hold the information that they have as a key to their importance within the organization.
There is a need for cultural change, where everyone would understand that the information they possess is organization’s property and shall be used for the benefit of organization rather then their individual. For instance, Purchase Manager and Production Scheduler take the advantage of their technical know how and status of inventory within the organization. They use it to express their influence over the organization. They are bound to feel threatened if the culture of knowledge sharing is to be introduced in organization as a result of implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning System.
Similarly, issues pertaining to trust exist within the organization. Mis-stating order and inventory levels are frequent to have orders ready at time. Also, focus on profitability has led to production in such a manner the larger batches are done ahead of smaller ones. However, this results in lower customer satisfaction. In the long run, this practise is not benefiting the Oakland, in fact hurting its profitability.
A change of sentiment, culture is required as far as knowledge sharing and management in Oakland is considered. Again, this is heavily dependant on members of working group to understand that organization has to perform as a unit. Performance of independent department is of no significance if it is hurting the bottom line of the company.
l Organizational issues:
Organization’s main issue is that it is scarcely breaking even at the moment. It is facing high debt as a result of a management buy-out, its profit levels are low. The finance head is sceptic of any further investment on account of stretching the company finance more would result in financial loss.
Whereas, the Chief Designer is eager to introduce innovative technology within the organization to help it attain a competitive advantage within the industry. It will also help make the product ranges more versatile and wide. These inititatives are supported by the finance head who feels that it would be simply indulgence at this point to incur any more capital expenditure.
Company’s bottom line is also suffering due to disparate communication systems within departments. In fact there are no formal communication channels in place. The information and knowledge of one department is limited to it and is not effectively shared with relevant departments. This results in in-efficient production levels, high inventory costs and un-satisfied customers.
Motivational issues are also present in the organization. Considering implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning System, some members of working committee feel that it shall benefit them personally for instance the Information Systems Manager and some individual consider it a personal threat, in case of Production Scheduler.
At this stage cost-benefit analysis of implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning Software is very important. This analysis should be done on estimated cost of implementing Enterprise Resource Planning System against the short term and long term benefits such as lower inventory holding costs, efficient production levels, accurate filling of orders, satisfactory customers.
There are also problems with existing systems in the company. Since the production levels are noted in monetary terms, it is difficult to assess that how many units were produced each day. Organization is heavily depended on few individuals for knowledge and information sharing making it difficult for organization to work up to its full potential. The company’s Chief Designers ever changing specifications of product to ensure uniqueness of the product, also make it difficult to monitor and control. It requires continuously updating the floor staff with new instructions which is difficult and time consuming.
If Oakland has an Enterprise Resource Planning System in place, it will forecast sales levels for the firm. Keep track of orders received and to be filled, exact inventory level can be known by production departments as well as sales departments, materials to be procured can be requested online, batches to be processed can be automatically controlled and any change in specifications initiated by Chief Designer can be communicated to the respective line staff simply through changes in production details of each batch. you have identified the main organizational issues influencing innovation at Oakland. You should have included the power of organizational roles and structures and the importance of status and
l Social KM practices to overcome barriers to knowledge sharing:
The report makes a good attempt to consider social practices that could be introduced to improve knowledge sharing at OaERP is expensive in terms of financial impact and its impact on organisational processes. Its practical focus is often on efficiency and cost savings, but needs to be in sync with the short term business goals as well as long-term strategic direction of the organisation. ERP is representative of the integration of business systems, rational planning and management control, although it can be changed and altered to open avenues for greater participation and transparency. If employees see and experience mainly immediate controllability and a reduction of independence this may seriously hold back the creative potential of the enterprise. Managers of Oakland, contemplating the introduction of an ERP system need to consider vigilantly the potential detrimental affects so frequently over-looked in the theory that such a system may bring to their enterprise. Unlike other IT management information systems, ERP has a significant impact on the way people of an organization work. Business intelligent systems, such as ERP system force change on an organisational structure, policies, working practices and procedures that can hinder innovation. Also, it is the effects of ERP in other functions of organisation such as budgets, staff skills and performance measurement procedures that frequently causes most trouble. There is much quite a lot of emphasis on accurate routines and approved ways of working, it is important that individual uncharacteristic working practices have to be removed for ERP to be effective and efficient. Employees may find their daily activities dominated by highly prescriptive procedures on their computer screens. It is perceived that ERP moves an organization towards a more centralised management style. It is also to consider that the problem is not completely with innovative capability being mired by ERP systems themselves rather than with a very conservative attitude of systems administrators and IT support personnel who strive for minimum difficulties with operating such systems and will thereby artificially restrict the flexibility of an Enterprise Resource Planning system. Managers have to assure that heavy investments that have been incurred in process of implementing an ERP shall not be compromised by such practices. They responsible for ERP implementation and ought to take care that the most flexible solutions and systems are selected from the very beginning and that this flexibility is not lost in future upgrades and enhancements of the system (Trott, Hoecht 2004).
Focus on trade off of creativity and efficiency has been critical to managers and the framework could serve as an appropriate benchmark during ERP implementation. Therefore, we can conclude that ERP’s success is dependant on accepting, leaving and/or creating more room for creativity and dynamic information exchange (Muthusamy, Palanisamy, McDonald 2007).
Managers also need to be aware that at times vendor’s sales teams raise the expectation of buyer to over optimistic levels in order to get profitable contracts and managers have to deal with the expectation delivery gap after the implementation of the system. This is a very common problem of ERP systems but this is where importance of in-house system administrators comes in in-case of Oakland. The administrator can evaluate the ERP with relevance to effectiveness on business procedures at Oakland.
l Technical KM practices to overcome barriers to knowledge sharing:
The manufacturing plan maintains records of the units produced of each items by shift, which can be rolled up to the product group and year. Procedures to streamline production workflow are to be streamlined such that production schedule, raw materials and inventory can be managed.
The marketing department, with the support of the finance and production departments, maintains profit and loss statements, by item and by group. Data recording procedures are to be standardized such that all production unit, all sales, expenses and other costs are recorded in system. The system will automatically generate accurate profit and loss statements and other financials, reducing an excess responsibility of marketing department.
Existing data in several formats needs to be converted in a homogeneous form before it is entered in the ERP system. That is conversion of data is foremost and essential. Also, this data is required to be analyzed depending on what is its source or origin (Rajeev, Yetton 2007).
The ERP system requires vigorous testing before it is implemented so that any problem that might arise once system is implemented are highlighted before hand. The testing phase will also bring to light any problem or hitch that has not been tended to or anticipated. Any customizations that business might require are also detailed at this stage.
Employee data for payroll and recruitment purposes is also moved between finance department for pay rolling and human resource department for record keeping. If this data is unified for the management of whole organization, respective departments can have a better understanding about skill and performance level of employee in each department.
In an era of Customer Relationship Management when organization are competing and differentiating through innovating customer services it is essential that organization consolidates data and information regarding its marketing and sales team’s activities. ERP takes a customer order and provides a software road map for automating the different steps along the path to fulfilling the order. When a customer service representative enters a customer order into an ERP system, he has all the information necessary to complete the order (the customer’s credit rating and order history from the finance module, the company’s inventory levels from the warehouse module and the shipping schedule from distribution or logistics module). This will ensure product quality and efficient delivery. This will enable it to effectively manage customer relationships (Murray 2007).
The report makes a good attempt to consider technical practices that could be introduced to improve knowledge sharing at Oakland.
ERP Resource Center. 2006. Retrieved on June 1, 2007 from: http://www.cio.com/research/erp/edit/erpbasics.html
Rajeev, S., Yetton, P. 2007. The Contingent Effects of Training, Technical Complexity and Task Interdependence On Successful Information Systems Implementation. MIS Quarterly; Jun2007, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p219-238, 20p
Murray, A. 2007. Breaking Free Of Old Mindsets. KM World; Apr 2007, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p22-24, 2p
Muthusamy, S., Palanisamy, R., McDonald, J. 2007. Developing Knowledge Management System for ERP Implementation. Journal of Services Research; Spec. Issue, p66-92, 28p
Trott, P., Hoecht, A. 2004. Enterprise Resource Planning And Its Impact On The Innovative Capability Of The Firm. International Journal of Innovation Management. Dec2004, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p381-398, 18p