productsproduct assembly instructionsproduct support instructionscost W r i t i n g

productsproduct assembly instructionsproduct support instructionscost W r i t i n g

Part A:::

After watching the Managing Knowledge video below, respond to the following scenario: You are a business analyst at the company in the video and have been asked to combine knowledge from two different departments, product development and customer service, to help increase sales.

In this scenario, what type of information would you gather, and how would you approach gathering both explicit and tacit knowledge? How would you ensure that both departments have the data that they need to be more efficient? What are some ways you might approach benchmarking to measure the effectiveness of your changes?

If you have any questions, you can pose them here as well. In particular, consider how the consumability of the format in which the information is presented impacts the organization’s ability to achieve operational excellence and customer intimacy.

Video Link:

Part B:::

Reply to two of your peer’s post. In your responses to your peers, try to address the similarities and differences in your recommended approaches for the scenario, or any questions they have posed, with your own understanding.

Peer 1 Post: The video this week made some excellent points, in particular, tacit knowledge. Many people don’t understand tacit knowledge. As stated in the video, it’s difficult to articulate. However, for those who have worked in a certain field long enough to have any sort of expertise, tacit knowledge is second to none. This was extremely relatable as I work with construction equipment. Instructions and troubleshooting guides are great, but someone who has been around the block can usually do it better or faster because of their experience.

In order to usefully combine knowledge from different departments I would want to fully understand that data. Things I may gather from the product development department would be: product descriptions, instruction manuals, troubleshooting guides, service intervals (if applicable) etc. From the customer service department I would want to know: common issues, frequency of calls per issue, issues tracked by geographic location (if applicable i.e. cold weather can hamper machine operation) age of product when issue occurs and standard responses per issue. This would cover a solid base for explicit information. I would then arrange meetings either by department or indivually with members of each department and gain feedback based upon the information provided by the other department. This would allow me to identify any points of contest between department. In some instances a sales department may not agree with a service department and this can create confusion or unhappy customers (something to be avoided when possible). I would also use this time to collect tacit knowledge, making notes of anything that is possible to convey in writing and identify personel strengths in the department.

This data might be displayed in a database, spreadsheet, newsletter or interactive online host accessible by employees from either department. The information could be displayed as general information followed by faq’s or common issues and may display either departments response and additional notes conveying tacit knowledge from the experts. Based on the format of the data, an interactive system allowing for employee query may produce the fastest results for telephone or face to face customer support.

In my field we use a program that will provide factory specifications as well as first hand accounts/solutions/advice. The program can be searched by machine, or by problem and can be filtered by model year, location and so on. This allows for very quick and efficient retrieval of information with up to date information from engineers, as well as tech personel who may have found similar but different results in the field.

Organizing and utilizing information between departments is a phenomenal way to better serve customers and in turn, support healty revenue.

Peer 2 Post: Such a great topic this week! I have a small team of system administrators and software/hardware engineers that provide tier 3 support to our Help Desk. One of the greatest areas of frustration for my team is when an issue is escalated from the Help Desk that could have easily been resolved by reading the technical documentation we provide them after new technology or updates are rolled out. The Help Desk has access to several knowledge management systems where they could easily maintain the information however they seem to struggle with figuring out how to store the information so that it can easily be queried and accessed by others. Tacit knowledge (we call it tribal knowledge) is easily lost in that department because they have high employee/contractor turn over.

Regarding the prompt this week- below are the types of information I would gather from product development and customer service to help increase sales:

Product Development

  • Details about the materials, ingredients, pricing, etc. (product information) of the products
  • Product assembly instructions
  • Product support instructions
  • Cost to produce product (labor & materials)

Customer Service

  • What products are receiving support/complaint calls
  • What products are receiving the least support/complaint calls
  • What types of issues are being reported about the products

Since tacit information is in the minds of employees, I would seek to gather it by holding an employee meeting and asking questions or perhaps by one-on-one interviews/conversations. I would look to gather explicit information from department Wiki sites, company website, product manuals, spec sheets, and other written department materials.

I would conduct an employee survey with each department to better understand what data they need to be efficient in their roles. The survey can be administered electronically to simplify the collection and organization of the feedback. Following the collection of the feedback, I would look to implement a knowledge information system- perhaps a Wiki site where I would organize the data into a useful repository that could be queried by employees in both departments (product development & customer service). Most important, the information would need to be maintained and updated so the information does not become stale.

Benchmarking can occur by continuing to conduct surveys about data needs to see if the needs start reducing over time. Other analysis could be conducted by measuring the number of Wiki site visits or perhaps going more granular and measuring the number of site visits for each Wiki article to determine how relevant the information is.