The aim of this report is to perform a knowledge audit of Frito Lay, by gathering data, analyzing the findings and making suggestions for the best possibility of knowledge to be utilized in an organization. This report mainly highlights the main external factors that affect the organization, internal knowledge culture which builds an organization structure, technological change and some important points on knowledge workers and leaders.
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The major finding in this report is that the knowledge management is a key to achieving both scalability and business optimization. Knowledge management is an attractive concept to many organizations. It helps in understanding the needs and gaps in knowledge by simple analysis and helps in coping up with the globalization. Moreover, the knowledge leaders and workers will help to put the theories and ideas from papers to real world.
This report mainly focuses on knowledge audit about the external influences on the organization and how knowledge culture enhances the organization structure. Moreover, this report mainly highlights about the technology and how it will revolutionize the company’s culture.
Frito Lay sales force is facing an issue with finding and integration of organization data and customer sales account information. Mike Marino, vice president of customer development, stated that knowledge is trapped in files everywhere. Many sales people would ask the company’s marketing and operation staff the same information over and over. And the staff has to perform the same task for endless times. For this reason Mike Marino, integrated a Knowledge portal in corporate intranet. This portal opens gates to all sales staff with same information. This information can be shared and updated at the same time moreover it will be available to any one for any location. This portal was tested with a sales pilot team and passed with flying colors.
This report does knowledge audit on the knowledge needs and gap in Frito Lay organization. Identified and provided few knowledge audit tools used to gather present knowledge from an organization. Even tools have been mentioned which could be helpful for the case study.
The purpose of this report is to generate a knowledge report by studying the important external factors that influence the organization, internal knowledge culture in an organization, technology change in an organization and some highlights on knowledge workers and leaders.
Current Knowledge position of the Frito Lay
In current knowledge position of Frito Lay has no centralized system and its sales team is not able to merge data of the corporate and the customer account information.
Purpose of the organization
Frito Lay falls under a private sector enterprise. A private sector company mainly looks for profits for their stakeholders while long lasting sustainability in the commercial market. Their main aim is to take advantage of their opportunities and consider profits as the most important result. The main funding is done by the stakeholders, to enhance the development and growth of the company. The key goal for Private Sectors Company is to make a balance among long term sustainability and short term profits. The CEO of the company is mainly responsible for creating a vision to the organization; generally he/she would be a highly experienced person in field and is responsible in the success of the business (Debowski 2006).
The purpose of the Frito Lay is to focus on one single mission; to become world’s leading products company for the consumer who focus on convenient foods. They try to offer better opportunities for growth and improvement to their employees, business and the in communities where they work. Moreover, whatever they do, they struggle for honesty and integrity. Frito lay’s main vision is to improve all their features in which they operate- environment, social and economic. They try to implement this vision by programs and concentrate on environmental stewardship, steps that benefit society and building a good relationship among stakeholders. Moreover, they not only focus on financial success of the company but also in reducing environmental footprint by protecting natural resources and using renewable energy in order to reduce toxic emissions.
The knowledge environment in which the organization exists – external context
When organizations are exposed to external environment, it will go through many changes. There are many factors like technological changes and globalization have brought many opportunities and caused threats in the marketplace (Debowski 2006).
Globalization has provided an opportunity for businesses like Frito Lay to gain access all over the world but also brought international organizations to the home market which poses a threat to other companies. Globalization allows customers to check prices, services and reviews of the product from many providers before selecting their suppliers. Even if the supplier is at another end of the world could be located and contacted through telecommunications to meet customer requirements (Debowski 2006).
Like discussed before, Globalization provides both opportunity and threat. The threat could be an increase number of competitions means customer are exposed to a wide range of products and services. Then we can assume that customer won’t stick to one supplier as there are many, so customer loyalty cannot be trusted. Since costumer is exposed to many varieties of products, it will in turn increase the stress on organizations like Frito Lay to be more creative plus more responsive to the costs set by the competitors (Debowski 2006).
The other external factor that affects organization is the pressure from the stakeholder. Since the investment become global, there will be continuous demands from stakeholders to improve market shares, cost reductions and increase in profits. Even technological change is a main factor that effects on business and also helps developing quickly. In case of Frito lay, the Globalization is forcing business to update their technology in order to compete in the market (Wimmer 2004). Technology has become a foundation to many organizations and work tasks, and allows effective communication and management (Debowski 2006).
The organizational structure including the internal knowledge culture
According to the Oliver & Kandadi (2006 p.6) knowledge culture is ‘A way of organizational life that enables and motivates people to create, share and utilize knowledge for the benefit and enduring success of the organization’. This culture was seen in Frito Lay organization which was implemented by Mike Marino, vice president of customer development. The company bought a tool called Autonomy from navigator systems, a search engine that allows users to search information and explore new ideas through intranet sites. By the help of navigator system, new innovative ideas and solutions were developed through combined efforts. Once the system was centralized, knowledge sharing became top activity between staff members with the help of supervisor and leaders. After the implementation, employees are kept up to date about the issues, events and innovations. This internal culture has encouraged a regular communications all over the organization which helped openness, honesty and concerned for others is promoted. Knowledge culture allows employees to work together by sharing and learning from their peers and supervisors (Oliver & Kandadi 2006).
Organizational structure is an influencing element in creation and development of knowledge culture. It defines the way power and responsibility is performed in an organization and also distributes knowledge in a way that it will be easily adopted by the firm. Organizational structure allows employees to be grouped according to their functions or division or both. In Frito Lay, the company grouped sales team as a pilot team for the portal, which helped the firm to understand the new system (Debowski 2006).
According to Debowski (2006, p.31) knowledge workers ‘use their heads more than their hands to produce value’. Knowledge workers mainly work with their own knowledge to resolve issues or problematic situations. They try to learn new information to reshape their existing knowledge, by doing so they can apply these skills in a variety of areas to resolve issues, generate ideas, or develop new services and products (Prince, 2010). Their job mainly deals on the mental rather than muscle power and is characterized by non respective tasks. They use different methods to solve issues and they also have authority to decide which technique to use in order to achieve the success (Prince 2010).
In the case study, Frito Lay’s vice president of customer development, Mike Marino and Price had many types of organizational knowledge (Debowski 2006).
Knowledge that may possess many features, characteristics and value of different sources or systems that may be found in the Frito Lay organization.
Knowledge that can identify people, groups and organization and techniques to link them.
Understand how to carry out difficult task which require analytical skills such as researching, testing and innovating.
An ability to observe, estimate and access correct knowledge sources.
The sales pilot team was dispersed all over the country to collect information from the customers and analyze it with correct resources and then fed back it to the sales people in the organization. This flow of knowledge from knowledge workers to the organization will empower them with superior customer knowledge and competitive intelligence.
Knowledge leaders are the pillars to the organization and support of knowledge management in a firm. These people provide the encouragement, set goals and vision to transform the knowledge concept in to a reality. By the circumstances of the organization, the knowledge leader’s roles and responsibilities are designed. Knowledge leaders help to build an effective knowledge community. Their roles require them to understand the complex framework of the knowledge operations and ways communication and teamwork is built and strengthened (Debowski 2006). The generic attributes of knowledge leader were they contribute some important attributes which depend on understanding of process, systems and people
The main concepts identified within the case study are disciplines of knowledge leadership, like willingness to share knowledge because it is seen as a power and also collaboration of their work with other organizations. Mike Marino acted as a Change Agent as he identified that knowledge was dispersed in various systems across their organization which created complexity for employees to retrieve data freely and there was inconsistency in data too. They solved this problem by sharing the knowledge all over the organization by developing a centralized system (KM portal) for all of their business processes (Debowski 2006).
Another model that is clear in case study is generic attributes of the knowledge leader, for instance selecting an appropriate sales pilot team and sending them with knowledge management portal support across 10 different cites to by measuring up their performance with the normal teams which displays the qualities of strategic visionary and knowledge executor attribute of the knowledge leader (Debowski 2006).
Technology is a main factor that brings out a huge positive difference in an organization and also helps developing it growth rapidly. In case of Frito lay, due to no integration between business process for finding and merging data of cooperate and customer account information. After the implementation of Knowledge management system (KMS) it become a basic foundation to the organization’s and work tasks by providing an effective communication and management (Debowski 2006).
KMS provides a unified and functional platform in an organization on which many other knowledge activities flow and interconnect. It offers knowledge capture and sharing freely, readily and openly to all the stakeholders across the organization. Moreover, it also offers a channel to an individual user to acquire a document, send, share and create knowledge to meet the priorities of the organization. Basically there are four components in KMS; Business process management, Content management, Web content management and Knowledge application management. In case of Frito Lay, they have built knowledge management portal on the corporate intranet. It acts a centre point of access to various sources of information and offers individual access too. This type of system falls under content and business process management (Debowski 2006).
The content management system is an intellectual content in KMS. It allows users to retrieve knowledge on particular theme and topic from the KM portal. It allows a wide range of strategies of indexing, storing and organizing the knowledge that are linked in KMS. Business process management defines the processes that are needed for an organization. Like in Frito Lay, these systems are linked to a knowledge management practices so that employees of the company have the access of accurate and up to date data to build up their knowledge (Debowski 2006).
Knowledge resources and knowledge-sharing practices
One of the core practices in knowledge management is knowledge repositories and knowledge sharing (Debowski 2006). Typically, knowledge repository outlook is like another web-based index. It provides many options to the users to explore with the main menu that offers wide range of access to the recognized knowledge resources from internal and external to the organization. Repositories act as a connection between the user and the core knowledge, working as a single point of entry to support users finding required information across the organization and also other organizations (Annunziata & Levant 2002). Through repositories knowledge is shared among users, sharing knowledge has become institutionalized and ends up becoming a part of the routine daily life (Barnes 2002).
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The repository system used by the Frito Lay sales force was Autonomy. This system was acquired from a consultancy, Navigator systems from Dallas. This tool enables users to search all the way through various repositories like internet sites, spreadsheets and power point presentation (Huysman & Writ 2002). It supports many salespeople to get all significant information from a variety of sources which allow them to achieve all the different data sets through one picture. Furthermore other features that we can see in this tool are; it links the organization data with internal sources and outside too, it is a search service that helps people to find data that is required and it also help to record solutions and best practices of other so that it can be shared with others (Barnes 2002).
The main goal of knowledge needs is to identify accurately about the knowledge the organization, its team and its people need at the moment and the knowledge they might need in the feature to achieve their goals and objective. The future strategy of an organization is enhanced due to knowledge needs analysis. This analysis can also find out the staff skills and capability of improvement needs and opportunities for training and developing, team spirit and relationship with staff, subordinated and peers (Ovio & Komi-Sirviö 2002).
A gap between the ideal world and the existing knowledge world is known as knowledge gap. Gaps may obstruct innovations, opportunities for organization improvement or impede technology implementation Often, the first task is to review the about the existing knowledge in the organization and then analyze who has it, where it is and which jobs the knowledge is used in. Moreover, when knowledge gaps are visible then it gives a confidence in decision making. It is important to identify knowledge gaps of two forms of knowledge, explicit and tacit knowledge (Debowski 2006).
According to Lin, Yeh & Tseng (2005 p.3) knowledge gaps can be viewed in four different aspects: strategic aspect, planning aspect, perception aspect and implementation aspect.
Strategic aspect: This type of knowledge is necessary for the improvement of the organization competitiveness.
Implementation aspect: Implementation of knowledge management.
Plan aspect: The plan of knowledge management
Perception aspect: To improve the organization’s competitiveness as perceived by the top managers and employees.
- What categories of knowledge do you use in your organization?
- How do you use each of that knowledge?
- From how many sources can you acquire the knowledge?
- Apart from yourself, who else use this knowledge?
- Is a specific knowledge is restricted to specific users?
For the first question, it was important to know how knowledge was divided into the firm and how many categories are present for the employees and teams in an organization.
For the second question, how organization utilized that knowledge, for instance whether there are any restrictions or no restrictions.
For the third question, how does the organization acquire knowledge, like internal and externally.
For the fourth question, apart for the organization and its people, is that knowledge is utilized by other organization? Or it is used by the suppliers or other external factors.
For the final question, are there any security constraints in the company, if there are then why those constraints.
Knowledge audit Tools
According to Ramalingam (2006 p.13) knowledge Audit offers a framework for ‘gathering data, synthesising findings and making suggestions about the best way forward for knowledge and learning initiatives against a background of the broader structural and policy factors affecting an organization.’
In Frito Lay, the sales team has been given access to portal with different content as well as research abstracts, which was called as a performance scorecard (Chowdhury 2006). It is to evaluate the performance of the account. This tool comes under the balanced scorecard approach for measuring the performance on the four key aspects; financial investment, internal process, customer/stakeholders expectation and focus on learning and growth. This tool will help in measuring the performance of the employees and help in providing results on how effective the company is operating.
The tools of knowledge audit are
Knowledge Gap analysis: This tool shows the gaps that hold back technology implementations and hamper opportunities and block innovations.
SWOT analysis: It is a strategic planning technique that is applied to calculate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats included in a project or an organization.
Knowledge Taxonomy: it regulates a construction of knowledge map by describing an organizational knowledge and relationship.
Exit Interviews: When an employee is leaving a company forever, then he/she will be taking knowledge along with them. So this tool will help to document that knowledge so that it can be utilised by other employees.
Questionnaire: A research in conducted with a series of questions for the purpose of gathering data from large number of respondents.
Knowledge portal has made a huge difference to Frito Lay’s sales team. The portal acted as a central point for the whole organization by providing multiple resources as it provides an essential way to capture information. The implementation of portal has brought a lot of profits and made their work easy. However, this is the beginning stage of the progression and still a lot to come.
Since the portal is implemented in only to team it is recommended to add its functional to other employees across the 3 divisions. Moreover, it would be better if this is added to their customers like supermarkets as it would help them to synching their knowledge with the organization for co promoting and co merchandising of products together.
In future, the organization might implement other knowledge management systems like Web Content Management and Knowledge Application Management. Web content mainly deals with building an effective website structure through which users may access to the KMS Frito Lay can have advantage with this system as it will provide a direct communication with the client side. It will provide an easy user interface and it would even benefit the consumers too. Knowledge application management system would provide users with applications like word processing and emails. These applications will help the staff creating knowledge.
In conclusion, knowledge management is the key to every organization for opening a door full of opportunities and possibilities. KM portal has become a PepsiCo project as it has helped in improving employee retention rates and the efficiency of the company’s operation too. Frito Lay’s sales team is able to capture the specific information of the corporate and customer sales account information from any location. It has reduced inconsistency and duplication of data which reduced the performing of same tasks over and over.
Knowledge management is an attractive concept to many industries. It helps understanding the needs and gaps in knowledge by simple analysis and helps in coping up with the globalization. Moreover, the knowledge leaders and workers will help to put the theories and ideas from papers to real world.
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