Building A Culture Of Knowledge Capture

In digital manufacturing transformation, tablets are merely the artifacts.

When you equip your operators and technicians with the right technology, not only do they document the tribal knowledge that helped your company run efficiently in the past, but they also drive the entire organization into the future.

In short, you inspire a culture around knowledge capture, which paves the way to your larger organization goal of building a connected workforce.

But investing in digital hardware for the front line is only the beginning. Only by inspiring a culture around knowledge capture can you build a connected workforce. Here’s how.

Leverage Your Legacy of Expertise

In any enterprise manufacturing organization there are scores of experienced team members who’ve contributed on the frontline for years, if not decades. Each of these individuals has amassed invaluable expertise, becoming an integral part of your company's success story. 

But the challenge with legacy teams is the intensifying waves of retirements. This looming Silver Tsunami is not a distant specter but a rapidly rising tide. The profound exodus of seasoned talent poses a dire challenge, siphoning the industry's capacity to impart essential knowledge to the emerging workforce. 

In the face of this imminent crisis, building a knowledge capture culture has never been more critical. 

Dozuki recently worked with a Fortune 500 industrial manufacturer. In the midst of cultural shifts, the chemical giant observed a profound transformation in their operational dynamics, extending beyond the realm of content creation and control. The introduction of Dozuki created a paradigm shift, empowering operators to embrace ownership of the change process. 

Specifically, the positive impact of the photo feature on documentation emerged as a notable catalyst for upskilling new workers, as highlighted by the team. Their culture of knowledge capture wasn’t just verbal, it was visual.

Their Training Manager commented, “Having the photos as part of the writing process gets people excited. Excited to create documents? It’s not something we were used to hearing!”

Want to leverage your legacy of expertise? Try these tips:

  • Build a repository of common problems and solutions that live in the heads of experienced employees. 
  • Find out what's happening on the shop floor, learn what's really going on in people's heads and daily lives, and innovate around those insights.
  • Be patient with experts, who forget too. It takes some time and practice for them to get everything out of their heads. But once you build that muscle, it becomes contagious.

Connected Worker Scorecard

Tools Are The Tipping Point

The power of digital transformation tools is the ability to quickly replicate success. You activate a tipping point that helps shift your team towards a knowledge culture.

Think about this technology long term. Beyond your initial investment of time, energy and money, the real leverage is when you take early learnings and blow them out across the whole company quickly.

It may sound overwhelming to go from a single pilot to over one hundred plants in just two years, with tens of thousands of users across the globe, but it’s within the realm of possibility. Many companies start with a pilot that leads to an enterprise-level implementation of the connected worker solution across multiple facilities. 

Dozuki works with an electronic components manufacturer, and one of their executives said their structured approach to knowledge management was not a project, it was “an aspect of company culture and way of life.”

This mindset is essential for hitting the tipping point. A company culture that resists change is the number one obstacle to digital transformation success.

Most digital transformations fail because teams haven’t prepared for the change and don’t utilize strategies to gain employee buy in.

But when you make knowledge capture a daily or even hourly ritual, that creates a virtuous cycle that continues to uncover new opportunities for improvement. The secret is creating a tangible benefit for those contributing to process enhancement and encourages widespread participation. That unlocks scale across multiple locations.

Want to hit your tipping point? Try these tactics:

  • Reward employees who utilize knowledge-sharing platforms with vouchers or points that can be redeemed for perks like snacks and drinks.
  • Develop structured incentive programs that recognize the employees who use knowledge capture tools to uncover opportunities for continuous improvement.

Aligning Teams for Corporate Agility

Historically, despite digital rollouts being secure, safe, and under budget, the alignment across teams lacked the comprehensive involvement of key players, limiting its potential impact. Hardware compatibility served as a common thread, ensuring a semblance of coordination.

Now the paradigm has shifted dramatically. Today every team plays a unique role in building a culture of knowledge capture.

Training, management, and operators are now active participants in the seamless integration of digital transformation systems.

A notable shift is happening in our industry, and it extends beyond the shop floor, with HR and IT embracing digital tools to a greater extent. 

Today we’re seeing a dedicated internal team of digital leaders, spearheading efforts to enhance alignment across departments. This evolution marks a significant stride toward holistic engagement, ensuring that the benefits of digitalization permeate every facet of the manufacturing realm.

Does that sound exhausting? You’re right. 

Intertwining many departments such as support, operations, HR, IT and Training is an uphill battle, but only when you try to fight it alone. 

When you have support, coaching, and the right methodology for executing and scaling digital transformation, there’s no reason a multi facility rollout can’t be in your future.

Here are our final tips for aligning teams for corporate agility:

  • Engage cross departmentally by gamifying. Hold a competition to see which team can earn the most reputation points on their connected worker solutions.
  • Recruit leaders from each team to stake in the knowledge capture process, and leverage their status within the organization to scale across different pods.
  • Formalize your change agents into an internal think tank of sorts, giving natural leaders a platform to use skills that might go otherwise underutilized.

Ultimately, building a culture of knowledge capture can be the key to unlocking new possibilities for growth and efficiency in your operations.

Tablets are a necessary starting point, but the bigger picture is paving the way to the larger organization goal of building a connected workforce.

Connected Worker Scorecard

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Written by Scott Ginsberg

Scott is the Content Marketing Manager at Dozuki. He’s spent 20+ years writing books about wearing nametags, conducting corporate training seminars on approachability, and leading knowledge management programs at tech startups. Text him right now at 314.374.3397 with your favorite emoji.

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