Case StudiesAfew important case studies are discussed in this section wherein KnowledgeManagement based Six Sigma has been aimed by various well known Multi NationalCorporations. These MNC’s have incorporated use of IT into their systems inorder to aid the process of KMSS.KM at Volvo CarsFormalmethods that Volvo Cars uses to share knowledge are primarily knowledgedatabases, internal meetings, internal and external training courses,e-learning and professional development activities. An additional formal methodof knowledge sharing is coaching programs within the organization.
Informalmethods are especially networking and relationships between employees. A coupleof times each year, internal trainings are held at Volvo Cars Academy. Thesetraining programs aim at enhancing safety awareness, creating a base forfurther improvement work and establishing a unified approach at the company.Those respondents who have facilitated these trainings mean that an importantpart of them is to use real examples and discuss participants’ experiences. Inaddition to Lean-related courses such as Lean Learning Academy and SimulatedWork Environment, training is also conducted in Leadership such as Aspire LeanLeadership (ALL) and IT-based systems such as SharePoint, Share Knowledge,Performance, MAXIMO, Intro to Management to name a few.Individuallearning by studying literature is an example of another important learningsituation. In addition, Volvo Car offers internal courses and helps organizeexternal courses for employees.
Thesecourses can cover general subjects suitable for all employees, and provided, ifnecessary, more specific courses often held by an employee at Volvo Cars thatis specialist in the area.P&G using Knowledge ManagementWhilesome companies aspire to finding sources of innovation from among their networksof suppliers and business partners, Proctor & Gamble has taken the open approachto innovation a step further with its Connect + Develop initiative. Connect +Develop is a strategy through which P&G has been successful in acquiringknowledge from various different sources. The motive is not to replace its ownR&D but to inculcate additional knowledge into its system so as to developproducts suitable for the market that meet customer expectations which is thekey to achieving high standards of quality.
In addition to developing new products itself,the company looks around to identify companies that have developed proven goods,packages, technologies, business processes and engineering solutions that havethe potential to be improved, scaled up and marketed globally, either byP&G itself or through joint ventures with other companies.P&Guses multiple ways of capturing this form of knowledge for example; It has awebsite through which people can submit ideas based on P&G’s list ofrequirements and technology briefs. Then it uses what it calls its”intelligence search engine”. This consists of a group of people located aroundthe world who act as corporate matchmakers— they assess the innovations, run thempast the appropriate business unit and communicate with the companies or individualsthat have developed them. Similarly in order to achieve high standards ofquality, suppliers too are crucial to P and in order to serve thispurpose it has developed an IT framework through which it shares much neededknowledge with respect to manufacturing practices, quality, customer feedback withits suppliers.
Withthe cost of developing new products and technologies rising, these kinds of initiativesare becoming more common as companies look outside their own walls for sourcesof knowledge, expertise and innovation.Use of Knowledge Management at RedBull TechnologyRedBull Technology is a company with a single product which breaks down into 7,000parts, the ability to share information is critical. The company designs,engineers and builds the cars for the Formula One racing teams of Red Bull,which made its debut on the circuit in 2005. With a large number of highlyspecialist engineers and suppliers required to collaborate on this complex undertaking,the potential for extremely valuable and competitive intellectual property tobe leaked or stolen means that protecting information is as important as sharingit.Aswell as managing the critical intellectual property that is behind the cars itproduces, Red Bull Technology must also ensure the rapid design and developmentof products and components that require very high levels of quality to matchwith intense competition and at the same time a very lean approach at almosteverything to ensure that the operations are kept as lean as possible. Theproduct team may need to introduce thousands of new components during eachseason in order to compete with other teams that constantly upgrade theirtechnology, an unusually large volume for a relatively small company andrequiring the efficient exchange of knowledge and information. To facilitatethis, the company has streamlined and standardised its product developmentprocess to a greater degree than would be the case in aerospace or mainstreamautomotive companies. From the conceptual and detailed design stages to theverification and testing stages, a formal process is followed.
Behindthe process is a powerful IT system. Red Bull Technology uses TeamcenterEngineering, a product lifecycle management system from Siemens Software, tocapture a whole lot of product data generated by the company. The technology isdesigned to transform product development from a series of unconnectedprocesses to a single, collaborative one uniting information from differentsources. At Red Bull Technology, the system allows data relating to materials, componentsand designs for each car to be broken down and viewed on screen, like anupside-down tree with a node at the top exploding into detail. This allows thecompany to have a database and a structure that reflects the product in a waythat people in the company understand and that makes it easy to findinformation. Thiscrucial sharing of Knowledge enables Red Bull Technology to remain significantin a highly competitive domain of motorsports combining Lean practices and nearto zero quality defects using IT tools.
ConclusionThis paper haspresented the importance of Knowledge Management in successful implementationof Six Sigma using Information Technology in Industries. It has discussed differentcase studies ranging from Volvo Cars, Proctor and Gamble to Red Bull Technologyhow these MNC’s have utilized IT to attain Knowledge Management based highstandard Quality practices that are inline of Six Sigma process.