Continued from Calsonic Kansei Steps Up In-house Knowhow Sharing (3)

Eliciting implicit knowledge from experienced engineers

Q: How did you establish the EWM? How is it different from knowledge management?

Narita: In the project for establishing the EWM, we started by researching how experienced engineers are doing their jobs. Their main jobs are (1) the management of Calsonic Kansei's development project with knowledge of our customers' (automakers') development projects, (2) decision on the order of consideration of technologies necessary for each phase, consideration level and procedure and (3) definition of the consideration of its details and specific orders for subordinates or team for doing the consideration.

However, the connection among the three jobs was not clarified even though experienced engineers knew it (implicit knowledge).

Therefore, business operations did not function unless experienced engineers provide direction. In the past, young engineers learned how to do those operations on the job. But we no longer can afford to give such opportunities. We are running many projects at the same time, and experienced engineers are rushing around in our or client company, making on-the-job training difficult.

To solve this problem, middle-level engineers became full-time operators of the EWM and analyzed workflow as knowledge engineers (KEs). With help from consultants from outside the company, the middle-level engineers elicited information including work procedures, technology bases and CAES to be referred to from experienced engineers.

*Japan Excel-management Consulting Co Ltd is a consultant for Calsonic Kansei. It taught how to elicit information from experienced engineers based on the notion of VE's functional definition.

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