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Knowledge management in supply chain

Knowledge management in streamlining supply chain management

Category: Knowledge Management

Last updated on May 8, 2024

How do you communicate and share your best practices with your suppliers? How do you ensure the supplier is aware of your benchmarks? If you are grappling to answer this, do not worry; this blog will guide you with valuable insights.

Building a resilient supply chain model depends on the quality of your master data. Without it, even the most sophisticated supply chain model risks a collapse.

As a supply chain process evolves, new data is acquired and scattered across systems, managers, departments, and individuals. The absence of a system to capture this data can interrupt operations, especially when employees who possess core technology leave the organization. Or worse, if systems fail.

This loss of knowledge may cause supply chain disruption, leading to the famous “bullwhip effect” and affecting the regular operation of enterprises. That’s where a master data—or knowledge base—can be useful.

An effective master data is a central unified knowledge base for systemizing and successfully distributing information across various departments and at different supply chain stages. So, let’s get into it—how can knowledge management help streamline supply chain management?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about adopting knowledge management into your supply chain management. We’ll discuss how knowledge management improves supply chain management, its numerous benefits, and the best way to implement this within your organization.

How does knowledge management improve supply chain management?

We can always feel the impact of knowledge management within several industries. But how does it improve supply chain management? Here are some ways:

Mitigating risks

An adequately updated knowledge base with the latest information is a huge plus for any organization. It helps employees and other relevant stakeholders involved in the production process promptly identify and eliminate potential risks along various supply chain stages.

In some cases, these could be regulatory changes, modified market conditions, logistical issues, or problems related to suppliers. Putting a knowledge management system in place equips employees so they’re quick to identify risks and respond to potential risks before they disrupt the entire supply process.

Enhancing decision-making processes

When decision-makers can access information about customer demand, customer feedback, and supplier standards, they can make better decisions faster. Organizations can use knowledge management systems to back up historical data to fast-track this process.

Employees—both new and old—can access these data to make better decisions on various stages of supply chain activities, including procurement, production, and distribution of finished goods.

Encouraging adaptability and innovation

Knowledge management promotes a culture of innovation and continuous learning within an organization. This also applies to knowledge management in FMCG. Rather than guessing, suppliers can learn best practices from a trusted atmosphere like integrated knowledge management with the company and suppliers.

Boosting efficient problem-solving abilities

A proper knowledge management system can come in handy when problems arise within the supply chain. It enables quick identification of issues and corresponding solutions. Also, these insights gained through consistent problem-solving experiences can be valuable for future problems, ensuring effective resolution at all times.

Supporting employee development

A repository of top-notch industry knowledge and training materials is a goldmine in supply chain management. This is valuable in employee training and development initiatives as it provides direct and consistent access to information on supply chain guidelines, inventory checklists, and protocols that can make employees more productive. When employees are well-trained in various aspects of supply chain management, this contributes significantly to their effectiveness and competence.

Also Read: How to Document your change management process?

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Benefits of knowledge management in the supply chain

The benefits of knowledge management in the supply chain include access to a central knowledge base, bridging knowledge gaps, and ensuring the sharing of tacit information. But that’s not all about why you should adopt knowledge management.

Here are more benefits of knowledge management in the supply chain:

A central knowledge base for information requirements

Knowledge management in the supply chain makes it easy for the procurement team to access information. For example, team members can look at material specifications when sourcing raw materials to ensure regulatory compliance and quality control procedures are followed.

The truth is there will always be periodic additions of new members to supply chain teams. So, how do you keep them informed about processes and procedures within the supply chain management chain without subjecting them to time-wasting? That’s where a central knowledge base comes in.

This is great as a central source for navigating various issues and utilizing knowledge without duplicating efforts across the departments. When employees have easy access to knowledge and valuable expertise, this increases employee satisfaction levels as there’s less time spent searching for resources and answers. A central knowledge base for information requirements also makes the supply chain more effective as it significantly reduces the chances of errors and increases innovative responses to issues. It’s also cost-effective as there is a higher chance that supply chain management processes move swiftly.

Guarantees the quality assurance of goods and services

An essential aspect of supply chain management is quality assurance. This directly impacts customer satisfaction as customers are assured of better services when quality assurance is at its maximum. Knowledge management in supply chain management helps integrate and manage processes promptly so that products are delivered as at when due and with no reduction in quality.

This is also reflected in the quality of work among team members. With every employee guaranteed easy and quick access to accurate information about supply chain needs, it will directly impact their motivation and productivity as it speeds up searching for information. This valuable time can be converted into maximizing other supply chain processes. Organizations with a top-notch knowledge management strategy for supply chain management experience better overall performance and deliver exceptional customer service.

Bridging Knowledge Gaps

Establishing a centralized knowledge repository that contains relevant information for supply chain processes and suppliers is excellent for all relevant stakeholders. When it is regularly updated and well-organized, the current information on supply chain management will always be available, which helps bridge knowledge gaps. Team members within the organization can use knowledge mapping to identify crucial knowledge areas that provide more insight into where knowledge gaps exist and how to fix them.

This helpful information will help stakeholders carry out regular training where necessary. Meanwhile, another massive benefit of knowledge management in supply chain processes in bridging knowledge gaps is that it encourages cross-functional collaboration by facilitating seamless communication among team members. With this, organizations can use valuable knowledge gained through their knowledge management strategy to ensure consistency while implementing supply chain activities. This system is useful in documenting lessons at each stage and best practices that can be used for efficient referencing and training. Ultimately, this fosters a culture of constant improvement as team members are encouraged to proactively identify and fix knowledge gaps.

Encouraging the sharing of tacit information

Knowledge management encourages knowledge sharing, which allows the free movement of information from the experts to new employees. Undoubtedly, the free flow of information across different units will boost employee performance. Ultimately, they will be encouraged to share more information over time, ensuring that everyone is motivated enough to participate in activities that pass down knowledge. Being a team player is easier when no one hoards important information.

Therefore, this ultimately increases trust at various levels within the organization. Happy employees almost always translate to more satisfied customers, especially concerning knowledge management in e-commerce. When there’s a high level of trust within an organization due to the sharing of tacit information, this can result in better customer experiences and higher customer satisfaction. Another important effect of knowledge sharing in supply management is that it helps to detect possible problems or disruptions to the supply chain before they happen. This means the company can foresee and manage difficulties quickly and effectively before they become costlier.

Adapting the supply chain to outside influences and feedback

Feedback lets you know what you’re doing right or wrong. Without feedback, the chances of improvement of supply chain management processes are minimal. Therefore, knowledge management at this level is vital for evolving supply chains. Through outside influences and customer feedback, you can adjust supply chain processes to meet the demands and expectations of your target market.

You can also adapt to customer needs and behaviors to ensure improvement in supply chain management and stay ahead of the competition. Quality feedback helps organizations in supply chain management assess trends within the business environment and use this to drive decision-making along the supply chain.

Also Read: Knowledge Management in the Automobile Industry

Conclusion

Knowledge management in the supply chain encompasses the expertise involved in managing several stages of the supply chain process, from procurement of raw materials to quality assurance, inventory management, and so much more. Therefore, this proves that the knowledge of experts within this field is important for the smooth flow of the supply chain.

Knowledge management has become easier with the introduction of knowledge management software that automates this process and helps to disseminate proper knowledge to stakeholders when necessary.

Document360 is an example of a knowledge management software that enables excellent supply chain knowledge management that encourages a culture of knowledge sharing and innovative practices within an organization. Therefore, you can use this to increase revenue, enhance customer service, and improve the overall quality of your service delivery at all stages.

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