Assignment 4: Information and Knowledge management plan
This assignment is group work of 3-4 people, this assingment is combination of all works in assignment 3 of all people, it is necessary to do interview for this assignment
It is important that the research done in assignment 3 should be used as basis for writting this group assignment
Knowledge management (KM) is a process by which an organization captures its intellectual or knowledge based assets such as expertise, innovation, knowledge, skill, creativity and shared knowledge among employees to achieve its business objective (“A knowledge management Quick Guide, 2005”). KM is also a primary opportunity represent for achieving substantial savings, significant improvements in human performance, and competitive advantage of the organization (“Knowledge Management Associates, 1997”).
KM has the important roles in organization such as:
- KM help the organization know what they know, and they can use their existing knowledge to achieve their objectives and then base on the existing knowledge create new knowledge to achieve high standard performance (“A knowledge management Quick Guide, 2005”).
- Moreover, most of origination works is base on information, and knowledge is the basic for organization to compete with other. For example, we devote considerable management attention to controlling our financial assets, and KM will suggest that equal focus should be applied to how we achieve results from our intangible, knowledge-based resources (A knowledge management Quick Guide, 2005).
- In addition, the organization can spend tens of millions of dollars on management tools to enable collaboration, data warehousing, data mining, document management and Internet searches, but if only the month's top salesman gets a bonus, nobody is going to share what they learn. Thus, to understand something about knowledge management you have to understand knowledge by sharing knowledge (Defining Knowledge Management, 2002).
- The value of KM helps the organization keep the valuable increasing with each member in the organization (Knowledge Management, 2004)
2. Company overview:
Retailer market in Vietnam is very competitive in the early stage. As joining WTO, the development of domestic retail outlet systems is a matter of urgency for Vietnam as full global economic integration approaches. The young and potential consumer power of Vietnam is the reason makes this market is very competitive now. Saigon Co-op Mart, the leading Vietnamese retailer, have set up 16 supermarkets and 12 retail outlets and keep going to eventually have stores over the country. The main products of Co-op Mart is daily use products such as vegetables, milk, detergents, canned-products, etc. It has a wide retail distributor system over sixty four provinces of the country. As a large company with complex system, it is necessary for Co-op Mart to have Information Management (IM) and Knowledge Management (KM) systems to ensure the best operation.
2.2. Objectives for next five years
Main objectives for the next 5 years:
Saigon Co-op board of directors has adopted its 5 years plan as following:
• Maintain current customers’ loyalty
• Strengthen the brand name
• Remain at the top position of retailing in Vietnam market
• Enlarge the supermarkets and convenient store chain to Southern Provinces and main cities
2.3.1. Main Objective
Saigon Co-op’s plan to achieve the objectives:
In order to achieve the objectives, Saigon Co-op plan on implementing these actions:
• Improve customers’ service: frequent lottery drawing, house delivering, special discount for loyalty customers
• Employ more skilled sharp-minded, and young employees to keep up the changing in the environment as well as to give the co-operative a new image for it is nearly 20 years old
• Focus more on researching customers’ need to be able to keep up and maintain customers for the expected entering of powerful retailers such as Wal-Mart.
2.3.2.Expert and Gatekeeper
Saigon Co-op conveniently has one person as both expert and gatekeeper: Mr. Hinh, the CFO of the co-operatives.
Actual task: manage and control the statistical data on suppliers, employees and customers. He makes sure the co-operative spends efficiently.
Role in knowledge sharing and information flow: Information gatekeeper
The gatekeeper has an important role in the organization. This person knows what is going on and who is doing what within the organization along with doing his own tasks. He helps smooth the information flow from both top down and bottom up in a more efficient and quicker manner. Information gatekeeper prevents information from overloading to make it easier for General Director. To make sure that, information gatekeeper has to perform these tasks:
• Keep close track of what is going on in and outside the company and decide what to report to the General Director apart from the departmental reports.
• Provide advice and consultation to those in need inside the co-operatives, even to the General Director himself
• Give the General Director a clear picture of the co-operatives
• Be an eye to help the General Director appoint someone, he knows what is going on and who works well with who
• Carefully access and classified information provided by departments and estimate what can and can not be decided in lower levels to present to the General Director a useful information only.
Role in knowledge sharing and information flow: Information expert
Information expert provides advice, directions in almost every aspect of the organization. He solves problems, conflicts, timely decisions-making, when needed and sharing his knowledge to other staff. He helps increase the efficiency and effectiveness of Saigon Co-op. To achieve those, information expert has to perform these actions:
• Makes strategic decision and other high-level decisions within his authority and expertise together with the general Director.
• Monitor all the internal activities and keep track of what is happening and makes decision regarding to those areas.
• Maintain and push information flow.
• Give the General Director a clear picture of the co-operatives
• Provide advice and consultation to those who need and direct them.
• Solve any problems regarding individual or departmental conflicts.
Mr. Hinh has been working for Saigon Co-op for more than 10 years. Being experienced as he is, he knows almost every aspect of the co-operatives. For that reason, he is considered most suited for the information expert and gatekeeper role.
2.3.3. Overall Strategies
According to Daft (2004:64), strategy model is divided into four different perspectives:
Miles and Snow’s Strategy Typology
• Prospector: focus on learning; structure is flexible and decentralized. Furthermore, this organization invests much in researching.
• Defender: just focus on efficiency; centralized authority and controlling inflexible cost; put the pressure on production efficiency and try to reduce overhead.
• Analyser: balance efficiency and learning; controlling inflexible cost with adaptability; product line is stable and efficiency in production; put pressure on creativity, research, and taking risk for innovation.
• Reactor: undecided organization advance; based on present needs, the organization designs characteristics which may be change unpredictably.
Furthermore, strategy model is categorized into two main categories: Differentiation and Low Cost Leadership (Daft, 2004:64). Here, Co-op Mart decided to use Low Cost Leadership category and Reactor prospective. Therefore, Co-op Mart focuses on flexibility to adapt with changes of environment and provide low-cost items to suit customer’s need.
3. Organizational culture and structure:
Even though Co-op Mart Saigon is an open system which can respond quickly to the environmental change, the company is still lack of integration between department as well as weak procedure in a developed organization. The reason for this problem could be because of the horizontal communication system. The decision making process is becoming less effective and cause a lot of conflict inside the organization. Furthermore, after changing new director, the company has also applied new policies such as working on time, same type of uniform. It causes unhappy inside the employees as well as reduce the activeness and innovation which are also known as the health of company. In order to improve the culture of the company, motivation strategy has been launched such as bonus for more sale, seasonal vacations, and free insurance. To conclude, this company has still been affected by the traditional management style (no encouragement, strict procedures, lack of innovation) so the culture of this company has not much difference to the others state-own companies. However, the board director of this company has realized the culture of company is the most important things to bring success and make distinguish competitive advantages in a new challenge of international competition.
(Vietnam news, 2005)
Saigon Co-op Mart has been established in 1996, the company has remained the same structure which has two main parts, board director and board auditor. However, in order to catch up the new trend and development of the economy, the company has expanded the board director to many segments. In the next few years, the company wants to become a leading retailer in Vietnam by expanding the distribution system into the whole country. Capital requirement is the most important thing to do, so the company has expanded two more sectors in board director, which are foreign joint venture and joint venture with members’ cooperatives. ( TTXVN ,2007 )
Figure 01: The main structure of Saigon Coop Mart
4. SWOT analysis
5. Current Information and Knowledge Management Structure:
There are two ways to collect and manage information and knowledge flow within the co-operatives: external and internal.
External Collection: Information is collected from marketing researches, media sources (newspapers and magazines), suppliers, and customers; then stored in the data-based. The information then will be sorted and given to its respective departments. Mostly, the information is stored within the co-operatives’ data based in the form of electronic data for convenience; it is also kept in the means of reports, surveys, announcements for safe purposes.
Internal Exchange: The information can be accessed by respective departments and general Directors. The information is kept in both forms of electronic data and printed reports equally. To easily keep track of the environment, meetings are often conducted.
6. Current technology
I. Coop mart’s technology
In technology, Coop Mart uses Oracle. The reason Coop Mart uses Oracle is because it responses to customer demand quickly including product changes, labeling, serialization and sequencing, Oracle also links Coop Mart supermarkets chain, it automatically provides replenishment and very helpful in just in time inventory management, this is very critical to Coop Mart because they are trying to reduce their inventory.
Another advantage Coop Mart gets from utilizing Oracle is it provides useful information in inventory control throughout supply chain, especially in scheduling products in and out, Oracle basically provide what they need in data collection, data analysis, the most important factor is inventory management.
Besides, Coop Mart also uses Software for the Analysis of Discrete Genetic Data (GDA), this is a Microsoft Windows program developed by Paul Lewis, for analyzing discrete genetic data, includes exact tests for disequilibrium. This is not a very popular software in data management, the reason they use this software is because someone recommended it a long time ago, Coop mart was state owned before, they didn’t have much knowledge in information technology, it was good that someone could recommend a software in data management, even though it is not as good as Oracle, it serves its purpose well.
On the other hand, Coop mart are using two software from FPT Corporation for human resource management and customer relation, however, these tools serve different purpose from Oracle and GDA.
II. Other recommended technology
II.1 Microsoft SQL
No doubt Oracle is a very popular tool in data management, there is another data management tool called Microsoft SQL, which is as popular as Oracle, Coop mart should consider it. Microsoft SQL is a comprehensive, integrated data management and analysis software that enables organizations to reliably manage mission-critical information and confidently run today’s increasingly complex business applications, it allows companies to gain greater insight from their business information and achieve faster results for a competitive advantage.
According to Microsoft, SQL is the fastest growing Database and Business Intelligence vendor, it ships more units than Oracle and IBM combined and 74.7 percent of enterprises are using SQL Server, while 54.5 percent are using Oracle databases, more important Microsoft SQL is more secure than Oracle.
Benefits business gets from using SQL:
High level of system availability, protect against human mistake and low recovery time
Able to handling today’s large amount of data and workloads
Secure than Oracle
Automatic diagnostics, tuning and configuration, reduce operational cost, reduce maintenance, easily in managing large amount of data
Lower price than Oracle, the following is price comparison between Microsoft and Oracle
II.2 IBM DB2
This is one of IBM's lines of database management system, it’s also called Data server, it is designed to analyze data for purposes of understanding, Key to analyzing that data is providing fast, easy access to it while delivering it in formats or tools that best fit the needs of the end user.
II.3 Knowledge management practice
Knowledge management (KM) is not solely about technology, it’s partly management, in order to build a effective knowledge management system, and we need to align both two, KM is more than software, high end internet, they are tools to help business to build a effective knowledge management network, below is an example of knowledge management network
7. EXPLICIT & TACIT KNOWLEDGE: Roles and Differences
In conclusion, Knowledge manage keep a very important role in the organisation. It collects the information for organisation making the short and long term, and also provides the right information at the right time for the reaction of the environment. As Co-op Mart is a retailing company dealing in many fields with suppliers, customers, and operating in the young challenging Vietnamese market, a strong KM will be an efficient tool for surviving, competing and improving.
There are many steps involving the process of the Knowledge management plan.
- overview the organisation: understand the background, strategic and structure help to draw an overall situation of the organisation
defining the internal and external environment of Co-op Mart provide the points for plan
examining deeply the information management in the organisation by defining information audit, current technologies, non-current technology and the gatekeeper and expert who keep the most importance role in the information process
- Knowledge management plan: after get the overall of company, understand situation, define the information flowing diagram, and analysis the information management within the business, the strengths and weaknesses will be clear. These strengths and weakness are the important sources for the future, avoiding the supplicate mistakes, recovering the weakness and improving the strengths.
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Vietnam news, Sai Gon Co-op Mart reflects on success , 16-11-2005 , http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02ECO161105 , viewed on 06/09/2007 .
• TTXVN, 2007, “Chợ, siêu thị, trung tâm thương mại thời gia nhập WTO “, Ministry of Planning and Investment, April 20th 2007, viewed August 17th 2007. http://thongtindubao.gov.vn/Default.aspx?mod=News&cat=137&nid=6602