Thursday, March 02, 2006

Information Flow, Knowledge Flow

Undoubtedly, an efficient adoption of electronic information systems is one of the major challenges of organizations through their supply chain (as discussed in previous posting). For successful customer-oriented companies, all the efforts of employing e-business strategies are around customer satisfaction on the basis of timely information collecting from downstream. Now, we are talking about information, information sharing, and information flow throughout entire supply chain. But there is an issue lied here in this debate: what is information? And is the information worth by itself?
Information has a role as science and awareness I think, i.e. as long as it has not been converted into knowledge and expertise, can be merely as a source of waste in resources (in diverse manners) in terms of collecting and storing information. Successful organizations always attempting to utilize knowledge generated by collected dynamic, mobile, and time sensitive information, and hence, it is not surprising if we talk about knowledge flow and knowledge transfer protocols (either technological or behavioural) through supply chain instead of information flow.
Recent studies and efforts prove a drastic attention of organizations toward knowledge flow and their attempting to manage and remove obstacles of this transferring process through supply chain. For instance, I think I reflect an interesting word from one of the academic works in this spot dealing “It is not uncommon to find the situation where an Americas-based sales or marketing agent will pitch a product that cannot be feasibly built by the production staff in Asia. Why? Because the knowledge about system design and development was not transported efficiently to the marketing agent”*.

* Kevin C. Desouza, "Optimizing Knowledge Networks"