Harry Hartfield was looking over some recent travel brochures while consulting his recent Google search. Retirement is only 5 days away and he could not wait to see the Fiji Islands. He and his wife thought they would start with a restful break before they started their travels in earnest. Harry is the head aero engineer at Global Delivery Direct and has been in charge of purchasing the planes and maintenance for the last 15 years after being an employee with GDD 25 years before. Harry had worked up in the company to his current position and has seen a lot of initiatives come and go when it came to eco-friendly flying machines. In the last four weeks, Harry has been breaking in his replacement, Imogine Farthing, who is coming from their London branch. Harry likes Imogine and thinks that she will do well. However, she is keen to purchase the new Boeing 777 cargo plane. She thinks it will go a long way to improving their fuel consumption and air emissions for the long-run between Chicago and Singapore. The cost of the new plane is 3 times more than the Lockheed which Harry thinks will save fuel costs over the old cargo plane they are using now but will not have the same air pollutant emission reduction. While Harry thinks air pollution an important concern for GDD, he also knows that in the past these controls often make the cost of the plan high and the fuel consumption lower than the company predicts. Imogine does not agree. Harry knows it will be her call but wishes he could access old reports he made when he was making a similar decision earlier in his career. With that information as a base with updated figures, he may be able to persuade Imogine to change her mind. During his retirement party, Harry decides to tell Rockfish about this point in the hopes that he may know how to locate the reports. Harry thought it was worth the try. Rockfish said he would look into it but wasn’t sure what he could do.
Oddly after his encounter with Harry at the party, Rockfish began a short conversation with one of his sales managers, Amid Jordan. Jordan had been with the company for only three years and Rockfish was shocked to hear that he was leaving. Amid said that he sorry to have to go but he was offered a job in Orlando with UPS, one of GDD’s biggest competitors. In fact, UPS had been poaching many of his managers lately and he was concerned about proprietary information and good talent leaving the company. How could he stop people from leaving the company and taking their knowledge with them and he wondered about the reasons for their departures.
Harry’s retirement party was beginning to be depressing Rockfish thought not festive. The feeling was brought home when Harry began a conversation with a visiting shipping department head from their Asian branch. It turned out that she was here to try to rectify a major glitch in the process used to get letter packages to Malaysia. It seems that there is a breakdown with knowledge exchanges/knowledge transfers between the branches and the packages were consistently running a day late. They found out that the problem was in the driver pick up times here in the states. The Asian branch has been asking that the time difference be adjusted for by three hours rather than the 1 hour as it currently was set. It needed to be fixed because he had a lot of unhappy customers with claims of late packages to deal with on his arrival home.
Rockfish began to think about the fact that all these stories were dealing with knowledge and its usefulness to the company. This point is one he has been hearing a lot about recently from Jane and now he is concerned about the issues brought to light from his discussions with Harry and Amid. Rockfish approaches Jane and says, “Okay I think you are right about your idea of setting knowledge management processes in place, but you will have to explain it to the Board of Directors. They need to see how it creates strategic value for the company before they will buy into the plan.”
In the next three weeks, Jane (you) and your team will prepare a PowerPoint presentation Jane will make to the Board. Each week you will address two KM issues illustrated in the scenario and how KM solutions will bring value to the company.
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