The documentation of knowledge is a concept that is often poorly understood by companies. Yet, the transmission of knowledge is essential to their economic development. It ensures continuity of service regardless of the circumstances. This continuity cannot exist without effective documentation of knowledge.
Tools for the transmission of knowledge in the company
The Quality Management System
The transmission of knowledge within the company corresponds to a logic of continuity. The activity must continue no matter what. To do this, the company’s knowledge must be documented and accessible.
Most of the time, the backbone of knowledge transfer in the company is the Quality Management System (QMS). The QMS documents knowledge through procedures. According to the ISO 9000 Standard, a procedure is “a specified way of performing an activity or process”. In summary, a procedure documents the completion of a task.
Thanks to the Quality Management System, the company records part of its know-how.
However, QMS is only one component of knowledge transfer. It must be integrated into a broader process of knowledge documentation: Knowledge Management.
Knowledge Management (KM) consists in identifying and documenting knowledge within the company. Whether it is the integration of a new employee, the preparation of the departure of an experienced employee, the conservation of data related to a project, etc.
However, the KM does sort through important and secondary data. To do this, it operates according to the virtuous circle of knowledge, which is articulated as follows:
- Identify useful knowledge.
- Preserve and enhance them.
- Share knowledge.
- Update it.
Knowledge Management is, therefore, a process of documenting continuous knowledge. However, to be optimal, the transmission of know-how in the company must not neglect human “parameters”.
Man and the transmission of knowledge
The documentation of knowledge in the company answers a simple problem: Know-how is not about making it known. Indeed, it is not uncommon for a very good technician not to know how to transmit his knowledge. Similarly, synthesizing and making complex information accessible to a large number of people is not a simple matter. The documentation of knowledge makes it possible to bridge the gap between know-how and knowledge. It identifies, analyses and makes knowledge “digestible”. In short, it facilitates the transfer of knowledge within the company.
Explicit and tacit knowledge
This concept was introduced by the Japanese academic, Ikujiro Nonaka. It defines explicit knowledge as “anything that can be easily expressed and codified”. In short, everything that is identified in a company’s procedures. Tacit or “intangible” knowledge, on the other hand, is very difficult to document. It corresponds to a savoir-être acquired by an individual during his or her career and certain situations. For example, a turner who, while nothing indicates it, will detect at the “noise” that there is a problem on his machine. Tacit knowledge is the most critical issue in the transmission of knowledge in the company. It does not use cognitive functions and is therefore very difficult to document.
The transmission of knowledge in the company requires documentation. Through the virtuous circle of knowledge, knowledge can be identified, valued, transmitted and updated. However, the challenge of transferring know-how within the company remains tacit knowledge. New connected objects, tablets and other applications could help to meet this challenge.
Picomto is the solution for capturing and disseminating operational know-how and knowledge within the company.
Feel free to contact us if you want to learn more.