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By Karl M. Kapp, EdD, CFPIM, CIRM | July/August 2012 | 22 | 4

Strategic thinking at all levels of the organization

The New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management is Changing the Way We Do BusinessThe New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management is Changing the Way We Do Business
By Carla O’Dell and Cindy Hubert 

Published in 2011
John Wiley and Sons
236 pages

The American Productivity and Quality Center is a nonprofit research firm with almost 20 years of practice in knowledge management, including benchmarking, best practices, and implementation in organizations both large and small worldwide. In this book, authors Carla O’Dell and Cindy Hubert share some of the insights, ideas, and innovations they and others at the organization have learned through its rich history.
Knowledge management—“a systematic effort to enable information and knowledge to grow, flow, and create value”—is just as critical in manufacturing as it is in other fields. In fact, it may be more critical, as veteran manufacturing employees in the baby boomer generation begin to retire from the workforce. The danger is that these retiring boomers will take decades of knowledge with them when they go. As the authors indicate, every organization competes based on how much knowledge its people possess. Companies lose sales, governments lose wars, and people lose jobs when they don’t have the strategy and means to connect the dots.

The New Edge in Knowledge attempts to connect those dots in terms of knowledge management. Early on, the book creates a foundation for key strategic concerns related to knowledge management. Later, it details how to identify and focus attention on the value propositions related to knowledge management, followed by an examination on how to select the right approach and build a business case for enterprise knowledge management. 

Next is a look at the benefits, successes, and characteristics of properly executed knowledge management strategies. Web 2.0 and its impact on knowledge management are briefly touched upon, followed by governance, building a knowledge-sharing culture, and measuring the impact of knowledge management efforts. The book ends with a call to “make best practices your practices.” 

O’Dell and Hubert can help your company innovate, grow, and share knowledge. The concepts presented in this book should be enough to prod any manufacturing leadership into thinking more seriously about its knowledge management practices. 

Leading Effective Supply Chain Transformations: A Guide to Sustainable World-Class Capability and ResultsLeading Effective Supply Chain Transformations: A Guide to Sustainable World-Class Capability and Results
By William B. Lee and Michael R. Katzorke

Published in 2010
J. Ross Publishing
260 pages

The authors of Leading Effective Supply Transformations pull no punches, opening with a harsh statement: “This is a book that recognizes the sorry state of the supply chains of many companies—supply chains that are in dire need of transformation.” Unfortunately, for many organizations, this statement is all too true, many supply chains are breaking down or operating under a great deal of strain.
 
This book addresses the complex human behavior challenges associated with creating sustainable supply chain transformation. The authors stress the nature of the leadership required to make supply chain transformation possible. The first three chapters examine the supply chain from a big-picture perspective. While ostensibly aimed at the C-suite, this section provides insights to all levels of the business into transformative supply chain issues such as globalization, wealth transfer, the short-term demands of Wall Street, innovation, and more. 

The book addresses the details of the transformation process, examining issues such as fixing material problems, stemming escalating costs, creating a strategic plan, facilitating collaborations among partners, and managing multiple supply chains. The concepts are brought together by a discussion of nine key initiatives organizations need for transformation. 

Lee and Katzorke provide the background, tools, and ideas that can help transform  a poorly performing supply chain. If you are looking for methods to improve processes, strengthen people, and get the most out of partnerships, this book can provide the tools you need. 
Karl M. Kapp, EdD, CFPIM, CIRM, a professor at Bloomsburg University, is author of Gadgets, Games, and Gizmos for Learning and coauthor of Integrated Learning for ERP Success. He may be contacted at kkapp@bloomu.edu.


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