Knowledge Management For Logistics Services Best Practices

By Monica Kohn   |   July 23, 2019
Knowledge Management For Logistics Services Best Practices
Effective implementation of knowledge management for logistics can produce excellent results. Ultimately, your company will experience lower expenses related to logistics. However, the key is in the word “effective.” Not every company builds robust knowledge management system tools for logistics. The organizational culture must embrace logistics knowledge management. Here are several best practices that will help ensure an efficient implementation.
1. Know your company’s organizational culture.

Because the organizational culture defines how your workers perform their tasks, you need to assess it prior to choosing a KMS (knowledge management system) for logistics. Selecting the right KMS is only one step. Successful knowledge management in logistics depends on the people who use the KMS. Your team needs the capabilities to effectively exploit the KMS tools to improve efficiency. If your staff has only a few basic computer skills, even the most expensive system will not operate to expectations.

2. Implementation must be carefully planned.

Planning is crucial to a successful knowledge management system for logistics. Expect your employees to embrace change and adopt a new system slowly. They need to understand the system, and planning a measured, methodical implementation process will ensure success. This will also enable you to analyze user adoption and make necessary adjustments to improve the use of knowledge management system tools.

3. Use rewards to motivate your employees.

One crucial reason that many KMS logistics systems do not reach maximum efficiency is the reluctance to share valuable information. Many individual employees may withhold data that makes them a fundamental player in your company that cannot be dismissed. However, a KMS depends on sharing data, and you can avoid this type of behavior by adopting appropriate incentives that reward information sharing. This can be a bonus, a gesture of acknowledgment and appreciation, or some other employee benefit.

4. Use knowledge ownership effectively.

This is a particularly effective method to optimizing your KMS for logistics. When you attach an employee’s name to their knowledge, they are much more motivated to be active participants who adhere to the KMS policies. Thus, you promote the sharing of credible, well-organized, and accurate information. The reward system should be straightforward to implement, so your best knowledge providers can take credit for their contributions. Maintaining the KMS becomes easier as your team members take responsibility for their knowledge. In addition, knowledge ownership paves the way for knowledge users to request explanations or clarifications from knowledge owners. Ultimately, the knowledge base grows in strength.

5. Establish a KM point person.

Implementing a knowledge management system in logistics is sure to cause significant change, albeit positive change. Thus, you should assign a person with first-hand, long-term experience with your organization to act as a point person. This person should understand your company’s business drivers, objectives, and goals as well as being knowledgeable of company secrets that should remain private. This person can help employees with queries and keep the initiative on track.

6. Debrief after key projects and events.

Some organizations place more emphasis on explicit (formal) knowledge over tacit (experience-based, informal) knowledge. However, experiential knowledge builds on explicit knowledge. Your employees can expand their horizons and spread the wealth of knowledge through reviews. That is a foundation of KMS – sharing all types of knowledge. You should regularly hold debriefing sessions after key events or projects to identify opportunities for improvements, assess positive and negative outcomes, and point out new knowledge that is beneficial for future use.

7. Adopt a formal information exchange policy.

You may have had this happen. A long-term, key employee leaves and takes all of their knowledge along to the competitor. Their tacit knowledge is now gone and is used to establish a competitive edge against your market share. Establishing an information exchange policy will ensure that these employees must pass on crucial knowledge to other team members. Recovering this data helps prevent harsh blows to your organization when an important member retires or moves on. Plus, you strengthen the overall team at the same time.