While chasing newest trends, there is one thing one should not neglect. Issues and challenges remain, and humans need to solve them. Issues are bottlenecks and challenges are opportunities. Both need to be solved timely, as time is of the essence. AI can’t solve everything. What it can do is guide your engineers in the right way, remove redundancies and let Human Intelligence, your engineers, do what they are here for and best at: Create value. Engineering Knowhow matters!
But why is this severely in danger?
Data, Lessons Learned and internal Knowhow accumulates drastically. This can however not be said about the actual usage of internal Knowhow. This is due to lack of overview, accessibility, silos and time. Time is wasted on solving issues. This is seen as the lesser of two evils. The alternative being searching for internal kowhow. Be it data or internal expertise. As this is however not easily accessible, resources are spent on redundant groundwork of acquiring needed knowledge on its own. Or possibly even worse: if not, and groundwork is ignored, this could lead to avoidable issues and costs in the future.
2 types of Engineering Knowhow
This Explicit knowledge are guidelines, Lessons Learned, root cause analyses, project reports, technical drawings, norms, best practices, manuals or documented experiences from the past.
Furthermore, Tacit knowledge, are the competences and experiences, the knowhow hidden in the heads of each individual engineer. It is applied facing challenges and the best source of long-term competitive advantage and innovation.
Most knowhow is not instantly accessible by individuals. These are either not documented properly or inaccessible when needed, or both. This can also be due to it being outside of their realm, database, silo or location. This leads to an even bigger iceberg, the organizational knowhow. And 80%¹ of organizational knowledge is tacit!
It is prone to get lost due to fluctuation and be inaccessible due to silos or not knowing of its existence by others. By that, experiences in other brilliant minds, from the past or other locations are not considered for solution findings to engineering challenges.
Now, one is not alone in the organization. For solution findings, engineers need to rely on internal Knowhow. This is Documented information as well as different perspectives and approaches due to different experiences and competences of subject matter experts within the organization.
However, the above described issues in utilization of valuable knowhow results in tremendous inefficiencies. 72%² of explicit knowhow is inaccessible in times of need. And tacit knowledge is not even taken into account here. 8 hours are wasted acquiring relevant knowhow per employee per week. 16 days of unnecessary delays for achieving solutions for each complex matter are observable. This is due to the burdens of acquiring knowhow, yet also the time it takes to inform and build an effective first responder taskforce and to jump into action. 34% of future issues could be prevented proactively if knowhow was distributed evenly within organizations. This causes productivity losses of 100k Euros per 100 employees every month.
What can be done about it?
Automatically make documented information and expertise available to the individual facing issues and challenges in daily business. Make organizational knowledge individual knowledge.
Turning Tacit into Explicit knowhow by creating automatic reports while the knowhow is applied and solution finding takes place.
Proactively distribute relevant documented information to individuals across locations and silos in order to prevent future issues and redundant work or further inspire them in their specific fields of expertise.
The measures above are aimed at streamlining internal Knowhow in order to free engineers and to enable them to do what they are best at.
In engineering there are always new challenges to be tackled. These are due to dynamic environments, customer expectations and competitive pressure. On the verge between internal Knowhow and the unknown is where engineering value is created. Existing knowhow is applied here to create new. Engineers should work on the unknown but shouldn’t spend time on existing knowhow other than applying it.
Synergies of diverse subject matter experts and their unique experiences across locations and silos create new solutions in the realm of the previous unknown. Document the tacit knowhow automatically in the process. By doing so the organizational Knowhow area will grows steadily.
Whenever future challenges and the needed Knowhow fall into any of the described areas, Johari and its software solution is here to streamline your internal knowhow and let you engineers be most efficient in their issue handling and value creation.
Article by Johari. Johari’s AI automatically builds up a Lessons Learned and Expert Network. New issues are automatically linked with internal Engineering Knowhow and can further be processed in a dynamic workflow to solve engineering issues and challenges most efficiently.
¹ Botkin J, Seeley C. The knowledge management manifesto. Knowledge Management Review, 2001, 3(6): 6–21.
² David Mallon, Janet Clarey, and Mark Vickers, The high-impact learning organization series, Bersin & Associates