How to implement Knowledge Management in Asset Management
In her ambition to create value from their assets Asset Owners often struggle with managing their critical knowledge. In times of an ageing workforce and (technical) personnel shortage this issue is moving more and more towards the strategic Asset Management agenda.
Alike the management of assets the management of knowledge also is a profession. Best practices of Knowledge Management are helpful to define an effective knowledge management strategy: to define which knowledge is critical, to capture critical knowledge, to apply this knowledge in practice and to incorporate lessons learned in the Asset Owner’s common knowledge.
As a provider of Asset Management services Knowledge Management (KM) is essential for Stork Asset Management Technology for:
- Controlled quality of the delivery of services to the client
- Efficiency: get it right the first time, avoid reinventing the wheel
- One uniform way of working: the stamp of approval
- Providing latest insights on Asset Management
- Efficient training and employment of new and existing personnel
- Job satisfaction and development potential
To realize these goals we aim to make knowledge accessible that is critical for the services that we provide. This includes both explicit knowledge (formal, codified knowledge) and tacit knowledge (expertise that a person has but that is difficult to codify). In practice, we talk about knowledge bases and knowledge experts.
The re-use of knowledge is an essential process within Knowledge Management. At the beginning of each project, we examine to what extent existing knowledge and expertise are sufficient to meet requirements. In this manner, we maximize the use of our existing knowledge and avoid reinventing the wheel. The process is then completed by taking the lessons learned from project evaluations and using these to improve knowledge constantly.
In order to bring about a step change in Knowledge Management operations, we invested significant effort in developing a framework for effective knowledge flow management.
Figure 1: Knowledge Management Framework
Our way of working can easily be applied to realize Asset Owner’s objective to secure, exchange, broaden and deepen the knowledge on their assets. This, for instance, to mitigate the risk of a shortage of highly skilled workers in this field.
For implementation of a Knowledge Management framework the following activities should be executed:
- Set up a knowledge strategy, including scope and critical knowledge area’s
- Define Knowledge Management objectives and KPI’s
- Ensure required Knowledge Management enablers are in place:
- Roles -people with accountability-
- Processes - clearly documented work processes-
- Technology and tools to support
- Governance - consequences of inaction
- Ensure interfaces between client and contractor are clearly defined
- Set up and run project Knowledge Management operations
- Evaluate performance of Knowledge Management operations based on KPI’s and metrics
- Continuously improve performance of Knowledge Management operations based on evaluation of results
For “Knowledge Management Operations” typical activities are:
- Create: capture critical knowledge (e.g. best practices)
- Share: announcements, blogs, knowledge base
- Re-use: Subject Matter Expert (SME) support e.g. training on the job
- Improve: project evaluation, lessons learned
When implementing Knowledge Management many organizations fall into the trap of focusing on tools and technologies with the expectation that these will be adopted quickly and without resistance. Although tools will likely be required, there is a risk of lack in adoption if the needs of the employees and projects are not correctly identified and considered in advance.
Also, it is widely agreed that continuity and consistency of senior level sponsorship is essential for the success in any Knowledge Management effort.
We believe that implementing Knowledge Management in line with guidelines above will result in:
- Enhance the corporate memory and improve its access and recall of corporate know-how
- Enable better knowledge retention and its exchange with others
- Increase effectiveness and speed of new hire on-boarding
- Maximise learning from positive and negative project experiences
- Maximise sharing of HSE knowledge and reduce risk to operations and personnel
- Reduce rework and enable client project teams to make better decisions
- Make scarce expertise more available
These benefits all contribute towards the realization of the defined Asset Management objectives in terms of performance, costs and risk management. Thereby making Knowledge Management an important enabler for good Asset Management.
About the author:
Mathon Erps is principal consultant at Stork Asset Management Technology. He specializes in Reliability & Integrity Management and supports businesses with compliance issues. Mathon shares his experiences from the field in his articles.
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