Most of my clients are industrial distributors, manufacturers and service-based organizations in the B2B marketplace. Across the board, I’ve found that most companies have finite, technical knowledge residing with an individual or sub-group. These specialists are valuable to their organization but the isolation of their knowledge can also be a constraint to commerce, productivity and the development of other team members. Specialists may be well-intentioned people and freely give their knowledge away or, in some cases, hoarders viewing their knowledge as job security. Fortunately, there are solutions to transfer tribal knowledge to key stakeholders so that team members, customers and organizations are no longer constrained by specialized knowledge residing with too few people.
Two enablers to transfer tribal knowledge are custom web applications and configurators. In both scenarios, the idea is to take product or manufacturing logic and build a web application or configurator to produce something of value, whether a smart part number, assembly or product configuration, 3D CAD model, price, technical drawing, bill of materials (BOM) or process routing (as examples). The web application or configurator is made up of inputs or a user interface (UI), logic and outputs. The outputs are highly customizable based upon the client’s business requirements and inputs should be simple enough to be sales and customer-facing.
During my interactions with industrial clients, it’s common to see organizational constraints in the following areas:
The key takeaway is that configurator technology and web applications give organizations the ability to institutionalize specialized knowledge, making it accessible to the customers and team members that need it most. The result is greater organizational productivity and commerce through knowledge transfer and accessibility.
Consider the business outcomes available to companies everywhere once they acknowledge the constraints holding their organizations back and inhibiting commerce. Think through how a configurator or web application could add value to customer engagement, operations or selling efforts. The ROI is likely to be days.