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Blu.e Wiki: Knowledge Management, or how to leverage your company’s data

Industry today relies on huge amounts of data – the range of products manufactured, temperature, pressure and throughput parameters, maintenance information, raw material prices, production schedules, etc. – which are fed into an ever-growing and seemingly limitless body of knowledge. Knowledge Management sets out to bring order to this plethora of information and combine the knowledge and know-how in work processes to create value.


1. Definition

2. Issues to address

3. Digital tools to the rescue



1.  Definition

Expert Jean-Louis Ermine from the University of Technology in Troyes describes knowledge management as “an all-encompassing enterprise phenomenon. It involves all of the processes used to harness, share and develop the organisation’s knowledge assets, which are now a critical resource for the company. The strategic objective of knowledge management is to understand, support, optimise and accelerate these processes in synergy and in a coherent, consistent manner”. In practical terms, Knowledge Management is the set of methods, techniques and software tools designed to identify, analyse, interpret, compare, gather, build, exchange and share knowledge in a company.

It follows that the challenge – and the essential stakes – behind Knowledge Management is not simply to acquire knowledge but to hold it in a readily accessible and usable form.


2.  Issues to address

There are two broad types of knowledge: the knowledge contained in the databases and any other electronic or paper documents in the company’s possession, and the knowledge derived from the employees’ practices, experience and know-how.

All too often, this immaterial knowledge capital is not sufficiently or adequately shared within the company. And yet these line-of-business skills underpin the company’s overall performance. The historisation and analysis of malfunctions or breakdowns fixed in the past, along with the formalisation of employees’ knowledge and expertise, make it possible to swiftly find solutions to technical or organisational problems.

Another issue is that company data is generally distributed across a number of different information systems and interfaces (SCADA and BMS for production, Excel for energy, CMMS for maintenance, etc.), all using different units (for weight, time, temperature, pressure, steam, etc.). Given this disparity, how can companies organise and align them into a usable form?


3. Digital tools to the rescue

The emergence and sheer power of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data have made Knowledge Management more useful and indeed necessary than ever. Digital tools make it possible to not only collect factory data but also to structure and analyse it in order to more effectively manage it and translate it into value. The tool can calculate performance indices, identify and replicate the correct settings and best practices, and standardise protocols, all the time facilitating change management in a collaborative, knowledge-sharing mode.


See our infography: 4 useful technologies for your factory’s energy performance 


Digital tools also offer the possibility of organising data for a specific purpose, such as energy performance. They will process the data (aggregate, calculate, rename, etc.) to reveal its full operational significance and turn it into usable knowledge that can be shared.

Only then can knowledge, whether it concerns processes or human factors, pass from the individual to the collective sphere and be made available to all employees for the company’s continuous improvement.