Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 10 Issue 1
Philips Lighting was not the first, nor will it be the last, to move some of its manufacturing to China. Indeed, the country probably has a population large enough to be able to manufacture everything currently produced in the world. What it arguably lacks, in many cases, is the know-how behind those products.
That is changing fast, but not nearly as quickly enough as the Chinese government and industry would like.
And that puts companies like Philips Lighting into a peculiarly difficult position. They simply cannot ignore the radically lower cost of manufacturing in China. But at the same time, they also need to protect what they regard as their prime intellectual assets more rigorously than they would do in the US, Europe or Japan.
Of course, industrial espionage, copying and other forms of sharp practice in business are common the world over. But in a country where cultural recognition of the concept of ‘intellectual property’ is different, combined with a politicised legal system, there is a need for much tighter protection.
Philips Lighting believes that it has got the balance right, not just in terms of the products it has decided to manufacture in China and the products it continues to produce closer to home, but also in terms of staff training and awareness. This is a critical component that is often overlooked by organisations that take a more legalistic approach – one that can often prove to be their undoing.
A case in point is the example of General Motors’ Chevrolet (formerly Daewoo) Matiz – also called Spark in some markets. Or should that be the case of the Chery QQ, the Chinese-made alternative that is so similar to the Matiz that even the doors are interchangeable?
Chinese car-maker Chery reportedly acquired the designs for the Matiz when South Korean conglomerate Daewoo went bust and the company was looking for a buyer. But the State Intellectual Property Office of China ruled that unless General Motors could prove that Chery had acquired them illegally, then it would take no action.
And with the protection of the Chinese authorities, legal action through the courts would also be pointless, even for one of the largest car companies in the world.
The best KM job in the world?
Such is the allure of Bill Gates’ name that when we published a news story in the last issue about how he was seeking a KM guru to help shape the success of his charitable foundation that a number of readers contacted us to ask how they could apply.
We were only too happy to point them in the right direction, of course, but could not provide references…
The clamour is no surprise. The Foundation reports that it has enjoyed an excellent response and Inside Knowledge will, of course, keep you informed of developments.
Special Focus: Collaboration (2)
Ovums Chris Harris-Jones examines the technologies and processes required to support collaboration among information workers.
Special Focus: Collaboration (1)
Before even thinking about collaborative technology, organisations must first define their needs and their strategy.
Feature: Knowledge transfer
Moving manufacturing facilities from the US or Europe to China is easy. Managing the transfer of knowledge and know-how is more of a challenge.
Trendtracker: Mick Cope
Consider the perfect learning journey and the path it takes...
Thought leader: Charles Savage
Could Stephen Denning be persuaded to write his next book on 'story-asking', rather than story telling, asks Charles Savage.
The Knowledge: Nick Milton
Nick Milton talks to Sandra Higgison about the need for companies to address KM as a true management discipline, the importance of setting the right incentives and how he demonstrates the value of knowledge sharing.
Masterclass: E-learning strategy, part III
This final article in the series focuses on the classical process model that can be distilled from the value-network-based reflections presented in the previous two articles.
KnowledgeWorks: Knowledge is music
Making knowledge is very much like making music. Both can be written, recorded, filed, archived, accessed, performed and used in many ways by different people for different reasons.
The Gurteen perspective: Taking responsibility
I was once asked at a conference to define a knowledge worker. I replied by drawing the distinction between manual work, information work and knowledge work.
Case report: Accenture
Accenture has subtly moved from 'training' to 'learning', putting staff in control of their personal development. Special correspondent Jerry Ash examines the computer services giant's strategy and reports on how it made the shift.
Case study: Stikeman Elliott
KM lawyers (more often known as professional support lawyers or PSLs) are common in UK law firms and have been for years, whereas in North America, the KM lawyer role is a more recent development. But that is starting to change.
Case study: Islamic Development Bank
No two organisations however much alike they may seem are the same. However, the different qualities that embody the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), from its history and principles to its services and clients, make it a truly exceptional institution in almost every way.