Brambles Company’s Knowledge Management

Abstract

Knowledge and Knowledge Management are critical ingredients in the growth and success of an organization. At Brambles, it was essential in the accomplishment of various tasks. However, there is an intra-organizational misunderstanding and misuse of these tools, which makes the task to suffer. Some planning and modelling is required to mend the situation. I will offer a six-point remedial tool and proposes the SECI model for future tasks. I also strived to highlight the significance of knowledge management in the realization of organizational goals.

Introduction

The term knowledge reflects needs and values in an organization. Additionally, knowledge is identified in terms of its usage, needs, and sources. Knowledge Management provides a strategy towards successfully accomplishing a task. On the other hand, actors define the role knowledge plays in the contribution and management of knowledge. I will investigate the knowledge held within Brambles and its usage in the successful completion of the task presented by the Government.

Knowledge

The term knowledge has various definitions. For the purpose of this report, I define knowledge in terms of its nature. Frické (2009) defines knowledge as a body of understanding and skills that is constructed by people. Lack of knowledge within Brambles has resulted in enormous dissatisfaction and difficulty within Brambles departments and the Government itself. This deviates from the definition of Knowledge Management and sets a direct approach in identifying knowledge within Brambles. Additionally, it sets the stage on probable use of knowledge in accomplishing Brambles’s desired outcomes (Frické, 2009).

Knowledge in Brambles

Various authors (Frické 2009, Wilson 2002, and Shannak 2009) have made frequent attempts to give a systematic description of knowledge. As stated earlier, there are numerous definitions and descriptions of knowledge. In a business or organisational perspective, Wilson (2002) provides a precise description of knowledge in a business manner. Knowledge about a business situation aids in understanding the implications of incoming information and data.

From that understanding, a person can either take action or ignore the stimulus (Wilson, 2002). At Brambles, the environment is quite similar to what Wilson (2002) describes. In understanding knowledge within Brambles, I acknowledge that the company has made a sole decision without realizing the knowledge held within or using outside knowledge sources to make a concrete decision.

In discussing knowledge, various authors (Frické 2009, Wilson 2002, and Shannak 2009) take various perspectives. Identifying and managing knowledge within organizations has two forms/approaches: tacit and explicit. The tacit knowledge approach posits that knowledge is personal in nature. Therefore, it is difficult to extract from the heads of individuals. The description by Shannak (2009) helps me to comprehend a likely scenario within Brambles. Additionally, Shannak (2009) describes explicit knowledge approach as “knowledge that can be explained by individuals even though some effort and even some forms of assistance may sometimes be required to help individuals articulate what they know”.

The person in charge did not exercise many of the knowledge situations mentioned in the case study appropriately. Brambles case aims at illuminating the potential knowledge held and its usage within Brambles. Additionally, the definition points out that the knowledge held within Brambles and its use could have been enhanced (Gerami, 2010).

Knowledge Management (KM)

Knowledge Management derives organisational goals and objectives by accessing the Knowledge stored in some form within the organisation. This may be in a database, mainframes, and servers, among others. The end users access, extract and apply knowledge to the business condition/situation, thereby transforming it into meaningful outputs. This translates into better business performance and streamlined processes. Knowledge management is a trans-disciplinary approach that improves organisational outcomes and learning through optimal use of knowledge.

Three factors contribute to inefficiency in how knowledge is managed in organisations. Information, knowledge, and people are amongst the contribution of the inefficiency within organisations (Maier 2007). At Brambles, this mismanagement is quite evident as demonstrated by the lack of proper planning and communication channels. In managing knowledge within an organisation, proper procedures, techniques or system need to be in place to help in accessing the needed information (Shannak, 2009).

Knowledge Planning and Processes

Approach to Knowledge Planning

Knowledge Management (KM) planning is critical in ensuring that current KM solutions reflect changing technological and market changes. At Brambles, as part of its consultancy business, the company advises clients regarding KM planning. Therefore, it is logical that the company should have high end KM planning. Brambles are quite sensitive to changes in the market that may affect its operations. The company forecasts future trends through a careful analysis of current changes in KM. This way the company anticipates future products and sets up teams to develop them. This includes software and hardware. The company is also a huge fan of reverse engineering which trail blazed its success (Drury 2007).

Knowledge Management Strategy and Planning Methodology

Different methodologies may be adopted to carry out planning and strategy in KM effectively. It is crucial to note that KM is the bedrock of current organizational operations. Hence, a possible failure or fault in KM could have catastrophic ramifications (Alavi 2005).

Indentify Business Strategy and Capabilities

In this step, Brambles defines its overall enterprise strategy. This is the strategy developed by top management. Generally, it outlines future goals, vision, and objectives. In addition to this, Brambles divides its operations into units and outlines their strategies, for example, the China Unit. Lastly, the business defines operational capabilities that are prevalent to ensuring the realization of the business strategy (Zack 1999).

Outline Business Process Framework

In this step, business processes are defined, roles are outlined and business scenarios forethought. All this is done in respect to the business capabilities outlined. Additionally, the business indentifies areas that starkly differentiate it from other players in the same filed (Walsham 2001).

Define Targets and Enabling Applications

In this step, Brambles indentifies its main targets and strategies. This way, applications maybe developed to cater for key integration points that the company indentifies. Additionally, Brambles indentifies components and services that will define its business (Lambe 2011).

Indentify Core Data and their Sources

In this step, the business indentifies and clearly outlines the most critical data and the data points. Brambles clean these data points to come up with trusted sources of data. These may be clients, suppliers, consultants, or business analysts. The data aids in ensuring smooth business processes. Additionally, Brambles develops standards for which to accept or reject a data point (Hitt & Hoslisson 2008).

Directions and Support of Infrastructure

In this step, the company defines KM strategy and necessary infrastructure. Brambles also define the standards for the development of that infrastructure and outline the services for the infrastructure (Gray & Larson 2008).

Develop Roadmaps

Knowledge organisation and structuring demands that after the conclusion of the meeting, Brambles should have assembled a select team to analyse the task, thereby form a knowledge-sharing environment conducive for brainstorming. Third, after analysing the task given, the team should set goals to have a strategy of accomplishing the task and properly planning the process from start to finish. Finally, upon accomplishing the project, the Brambles team presents their proposal for accomplishing the task (Ackoff 1989).

The SECI model

The model theorizes that knowledge held by individuals is shared which transforms knowledge. The recruitment process of Brambles is an exceptional example upon using the SECI model, as the manager has neglected to engage the stakeholders and employees of Brambles to contribute and get involved in the project. The model represents an environment conducive for growth of knowledge as it encourages communication and transparency. Additionally, the model advocates for sharing (Dalkir 2011).

Actors

Actors involved in management of knowledge within Brambles are as follows:

Actors: Creator Requiring the knowledge by Knowledge type
The Government
  • Refining task presented to Brambles (by setting standards guidelines etc.)
  • Allowing Brambles to access Government repository
  • Working closely with Brambles
  • Give Brambles standards and guideline to follow
  • Send employees from Brambles in relation to the task
  • Making task clear for Brambles (e.g. Exactly how many employees it will take to accomplish the task and what skills are needed)
  • Provide in scope and out of scope matters
Explicit
Brambles
  • Interacting with Government to present their chosen strategy and seek for approval
  • Able to freely contact Government of any doubts
  • Associating with employees of Government to share knowledge of the matter
  • Making existing resources available to people associate for implementing the task
  • Sharing software and technologies in acquiring the precise information (Chase & Aquilano 2006)
Explicit and Tacit
Brambles
  • Close relationship with Brambles managers and their activities
  • Making the HR department a source of attaining information of existing employees as well as possible approaches to the task
  • Finding the precise skill sets of people needing to accomplish the task
  • Analysing the knowledge gaps such as people, process etc.
  • Auditing of knowledgeable employees within Brambles’ various departments
Explicit and Tacit
The manager of Brambles Sign of explicit knowledge used but not extensively or precisely
  • Interacting with existing colleagues or employees
  • Forming a formal approach (planning and implementing)
  • Using the Government as source of information repository of the task
  • Access skill needs of the presented task
  • Using communication as a form of knowledge sharing in the task
Tacit more than explicit

Conclusion

The report has analysed the role knowledge played within Brambles in accomplishing a particular task. It is essential to share knowledge in an organisation to realize success and measurable outcomes. Although Brambles has various knowledge sources, it fails to consider valuable knowledge. In this regard, I look into the various steps that Brambles may take to seal this loophole. It is crucial to note that Knowledge Management implies that knowledge is manageable and can be used to derive the success of an organisation. Brambles fails in its endeavour to tap into the knowledge held within the task as demonstrated in the paper.

Reference List

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