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Old 15th November 2009, 10:19 AM
Jim Wynne's Avatar
Jim Wynne

Total Posts: 14,228
Re: How to increase the technological knowledge of employees?

In Reply to Parent Post by Fillemon View Post

Hello all,

recently my manager has given me the task to increase the white collar's technological knowledge on the products we produce here in the company. After some discussions, we decided to split this in two main goals:
- To increase the basic technological knowledge of non-engineering people (purchase, logistics, accounting...). Some of them do not even know basic things like what kind of material the products we sell here are made of.
- To get the technological knowledge of engineering people at the same (higher) level. Basic technological knowledge is no problem here, but the problem is more that the 'extra' knowledge is too fractured over a large number of people, and that there are a lot of differences in knowledge levels (due to longer experience in the field or different backgrounds).

Do you people have some kind of idea on how to handle this? Any experiences? Working with some kind of 'Wiki' was one of the things I thought of when trying to get this thing started, but maybe there are others?

thanks in advance,
Welcome to the Cove.

I think this is a commendable desire, but rather than increasing technical knowledge, you should focus on getting people to understand how their work affects others in the company. People who aren't hip to technical knowledge are usually in that condition on purpose, just as engineers might have only vague knowledge of what accountants do all day and like it that way. What people should know, is (for example) why making sure the right material is ordered is important, and that the specifications they deal with aren't just a lot of arbitrary alphanumeric characters.

This is part of the process approach that's frequently overlooked and misunderstand. Lots of people struggle when it comes to describing interactions of processes and we have lots of ugly, indecipherable turtle diagrams that demonstrate the problem. People not knowing what other people need causes much waste, confusion and loathing.

Sally in purchasing sees a good deal on some sort of packaging material and buys it while the poor guy in shipping has to struggle to make it work (while Sally gets a pat on the back for saving money). Finance finds a new payroll provider that costs 25% less than the present supplier, and now no one can decipher their check stubs. Engineering asks inspectors to collect data on a certain process and never tells them to stop after they've got all the information needed, and data is collected needlessly for years. I've seen all of these things happen (and more) when there was a lovely turtle diagram in the quality manual that's supposed to be evidence of the understanding of process interactions.

You can get people to understand what other people in the company do for a living--and how what they do affects others--without going overboard on the technical end of things.

Last edited by Jim Wynne; 17th November 2009 at 07:37 PM. Reason: typo
Thank You to Jim Wynne for your informative Post and/or Attachment!

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