The overwhelming success of the Great Britain Cycling Team at the Rio Olympics is more than just the performance on the track, extraordinary though that is. In all the interviews I have seen, the competitors have been quick to thank the backroom staff, including amongst others, performance and power output data analysists at British Cycling,
In the world of business and ISO, we would see these things as Organisation Knowledge.
But what is this knowledge?
Simplistically, it is all of the knowledge that the organisation has, gathers and uses. This is such information as,
- Customer data, including specifications, sales volumes, prices and other customer information such as demographics, buying habits and feedback.
- Employee knowledge including “Organisational memory”, which is basically the experience of the people in the organisation. This can be significant and valuable where employees have been in the organisation for long periods, maybe decades. It is highly valued in craft industries or those with skills development along apprenticeship lines.
- Production or service data; that produced from production, manufacturing processes and service provision. This might be as detailed as the second by second data produced by machinery monitoring systems, to how many customers served daily in a fast food outlet.
- Market data. The historical and future information about the businesses sales environment and its opportunities. This would be considered in ISO to be part of the external and internal issues affecting the organisation.
- Other information from external sources might include that provided by Trade Bodies, presentations and networking at Conferences and Exhibitions
- Internal and external research may also be important, particularly if the organisation is involved in design and development projects. Education and academia might be part of this too.
How do you manage this Knowledge
- It might be paper files, but increasingly it will be electronically held data and files. From an ISO perspective this is known as Documented Information, regardless of its format.
- The knowledge resident in employees heads and hands is more difficult to retain, but training and competency programmes will help to distribute this knowledge. Mapping business processes will aid retention of knowledge beyond the individual.
- There is a myriad of software packages out there, which can help structure, collate, update, report and analyse your data. SALES PLUG:- Talk to us about ISO Activ.
- Analysis and reporting represents the information and data in forms which can then be interpreted for whatever purpose the business needs it.
How do you exploit this Knowledge
- Most importantly from an ISO perspective is customer satisfaction, the cornerstone of a Quality Management System. Customer satisfaction of course works both ways, so feedback can be both positive and negative. Improving customer satisfaction will ensure future business.
- Knowledge will allow you to improve performance, similar to the cyclists, by monitoring performance data and looking for improvements or savings through challenges or changes. For the cyclist this may produce more power, better trackcraft and improved aerodynamics. In business this might be increased productivity, reduced errors or using less raw material or resources.
- Your business knowledge may be so significant and valuable that you might be able to exploit it through Patents, New Product Development (NPD), licencing, franchises or sharing with others.
While winning gold might seem a long way from success in business, there is one constant. Information and knowledge.