ASLI MORALI , pp. 59. MAM/Sektionen för Management, 2006.
Title: Knowlege Management via Information Technologies, Case Study: Quality Control Plans In Siemens A&D ET
Author: Asli Morali
Supervisor: Anders Hederstierna
Department: School of Management, Blekinge Institute of Technology
Course: MBA thesis, 10 credits.
Background and Problem Discussion: Efficient knowledge management becomes day by day a very critical issue for organizations by being considered as one of the most important competitive advantages. Globalization brings more complexity into business environments and communication and information technologies are very critical for control and coordination. IT gained much importance allowing organizations to manage knowledge in global scale. The knowledge sharing is even more complex and critical for multinational organizations. This study will help to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of IT in knowledge management process in multinational companies. As an example, Siemens AG is a well-known multinational involved in intense global knowledge management and sharing. Siemens A&D ET is one of the divisions of Siemens AG which is looking for an IT solution for knowledge management about quality control plans worldwide. The case study will try to find the most efficient IT solution for Siemens A&D ET to share knowledge internationally about quality control plans.
Purpose: The primary purpose of the study is to gain a deeper understanding of the effects of IT in knowledge management process in multinational companies. The secondary purpose of this study is to give some advices about how knowledge on quality control plans could be shared in between different locations by use of IT within Siemens A&D ET.
Method: Inductive, Exploratory, Qualitative Case Study. Primary data is collected from headquarters and international production locations of Siemens A&D ET with the help of unstructured interviews and questions sent by e-mail.
Theory: The theory section is constructed at different levels. I started by discussing the knowledge in general and the classification of knowledge as a basis for the study. Next, I presented the literature about knowledge management. Then, I covered Knowledge Management and Information Technologies to discuss finally the knowledge management in multinational companies by use of IT.
Analysis: I have used the theory chapter as much as possible to analyze the current situation in Siemens A&D ET. The analysis is done based on the empirical study, first I analysed the situation in international production locations, then I analysed the options of IT solutions. Lastly, I combined both analysis to drive a conclusion.
Conclusion: There is a high dependence on IT for knowledge sharing in multinationals and the expectations from IT is high. The risk to fall into the trap of investments for expensive IT solutions is very high for multinational companies. Multinational companies possess dispersed knowledge all around the world and it is important to recognize that most of the part of this knowledge is tacit. Therefore even though IT facilitate the knowledge management and sharing between different units of multinational companies, it is crucial to develop other means to share the tacit part of the knowledge base.
For Siemens A&D ET Case it is technically easy to design an IT solution to share, manage, update and coordinate the quality control plans. 4 different IT alternatives can be a solution for Siemens A&D ET. Secure Data Exchange Folders and SharePoint are very easy to initiate and the required level of investment is relatively low, they might be used as a short term temporary solution. A&D CADIM Web Client and SAP Q solutions are relatively hard to initiate and the required level of investment is higher. Therefore, those solutions are suitable as permanent and long term solutions. However, as the study shows the main problem starts with the tacit part of the knowledge about quality control plans. Results show that there are many barriers to share the knowledge about quality control plans via IT and due to low need for such a system in locations, the commitment of the locations seems to be very low. If Siemens A&D ET is willing to put one of those solutions into application, it is clear that all systems require other mechanisms to support the efficient knowledge exchange. Face to face communication is one of the most important supporting mechanisms.