The world of industrial businesses has gone through many changes in recent years. 50 years ago, we thought and managed workers in terms of manufacturing as part of an assembly line. Workers worked at plants from the moment their training was completed till their retirement. In the twenty first century, industry as a whole is integrated with technology applied to a variety of processes in which workers are first and foremost knowledge workers. We expect them to exercise discretion and make decisions.

The central need in the field of industry is sharing the knowledge accumulated by professional parties, documenting it and making it an organizational asset. It is equally important to make intelligent use of said knowledge as well as to recreate past success and refrain from repeating mistakes. Implementing knowledge management solutions in the world of industry may serve as a meaningful and crucial factor when addressing these needs and attempting to attain a competitive advantage.

Case Study: Engineer Knowledge Community

Engineers are sometimes scattered throughout different plants (when more than one exists) and are always located in different departments and facilities. They naturally encounter similar dilemmas: how to streamline processes, how to plan equipment mobilization, how to best cope with electric malfunctions, etc. Our experience of working with engineers shows that most engineers encounter similar dilemmas to their colleagues. It is not uncommon for an engineer to contact an external supplier or another organization only to learn that this problem has previously occurred in their own organization. Setting up a knowledge community creates a shared meeting space (both computerized and personal) in which engineers can share knowledge. Sharing is performed via several channels: forums, documents, tips and brainstorming meetings. Besides sharing existing knowledge, documenting the knowledge created by the community serves as a vital source of engineering knowledge management and documentation for the organization as well as a valuable source of professional information.

Example: Insight management in R&D groups

In many organizations, the R&D group is viewed as cutting edge- and rightfully so. The knowledge developed in these groups is the organization's knowledge with a capital K, the basis on which the organization develops new and existing technologies. Most of this knowledge has yet to be managed since it is organized as random fragments of knowledge: "when mixing material X, when encountering phenomenon Y, lower the temperature two degrees". Insights are these short yet invaluable knowledge fragments stored in the minds of engineers and researchers. Managing insights enables more efficient work and a feaster development rate since we conserve knowledge from each failed experiment, as opposed to focusing only on the final successful formula.

The use of insights enables learning from the mistakes of others as well as their mistakes. Incorporating insights into work processes in real time allows us to save time and money which would have otherwise been wasted on trying to solve these professional dilemmas.
Insight Management is relevant to all R&D processes; our experience with organizations shows that insight management is a meaningful tool for successful research and development.


Dead Sea Industries
The Israeli Electric Company
Palram Industries, Inc.