In Transitional Times, Engage Experts to Capture Critical Knowledge that Ensures Continuity of Operations
BY PEGGY SALVATORE
A corrective and preventive action (CAPA) plan addresses problems, issues and deficiencies after they have occurred. However, companies can be proactive in avoiding the defects and problems that precipitate failures, product rejections, recalls and even regulatory action. By engaging your experts and experts-in-training to capture what they know and do, you can make critical information available to the employees who must access it at the point of need and avert the need for correction later.
Knowledge Transfer as a Preventive Step
Change is the new normal. Whether you are on the factory floor, in R&D or working in the executive suite, technology circa 2020 is light years beyond technology circa 2000. Ray Kurzweil, that tech genius who gave us The Singularity is Near, guestimated in 2005 that knowledge doubles every two years. In the millennia of recorded history before this evolutionary time, knowledge moved at the pace of the movable type.
For most people in the chemical processing industry, this means that plants, materials, techniques and processes look different today than they did at the turn of the 21st Century just a few decades ago. Perhaps very different. And now, or shortly, today’s standard will be completely outmoded.
While these changes hold promise for technological advances that will benefit humanity, they also are disruptive by their nature. For those who are negotiating the technical transition in chemicals, material science and engineering, challenges abound regarding what knowledge and skill sets are still relevant, which ones will survive the next product line change or discovery, and what is becoming archaic and counter-productive.
Depending on your role, process, technique or technology, the answer will differ. But when you are living in a time of rapid innovation, you are either the windshield or the bug. This article will focus on a few themes to help you build up your strength and momentum to take on, and win, the technological challenges that you face so you will be the windshield with the panoramic view and not the unsuspecting critter on wing.
Find the Irreplaceable and Timeless
During transitions, the most important issue for people – humans as a species are notoriously averse to change – is to find the neverchanging and secure the territory. You have experts in your industry and inside your organizations who have historical and technical knowledge that should not be lost. In your quest to capture what is timeless, seek out the wise ones and have important discussions. First-hand reports from the field indicate that the chemical processing industry has a preponderance of grey hair in the room. That portends an imminent need to download their knowledge today, rather than tomorrow. If you wait three years, they may be on a golf course in Florida when you find out that you need them. So capture what they know today and memorialize it in a sustainable format. Remember magnetic tape? (Click the image to continue reading.)