KUKA is one of the world's leading suppliers of robotics as well as plant and systems engineering.
They've extended the use of Traction TeamPage to support capture of procedural knowledge, audit compliance, and six sigma style continuous improvement processes.
KUKA has been in the automation technologies business since 1898.
Their products and services are targeted at automating manufacturing operations including technologies for joining, assembly and handling.
Prior to the creation of Tom Woodman's Enterprise Applications department in 2005, all the software selection and business process change decisions were made within each respective department.
This was problematic when architectures conflicted and data had to integrate across systems.
Woodman's Enterprise Applications team began their work by discovering the business process needs, exploring the disparate data stores and identifying architectural issues.
The Enterprise Applications charter required teams of cross-functional domain experts to come together around pressing business process problems.
They also saw a need to show an audit trail to show what configuration changes were made to any software system on any given date.
Getting Traction through Social Process
Traction TeamPage, an enterprise social software platform, was deployed in 2006 to track issues, post tasking items for Continuous Improvement (CII), and keep an audit trail of system changes.
Ultimately, issues are captured through social means and resolved through a social collaborative process that is open for company wide oversight and recognizes participants for their contributions.
An issue can be a development request or a business process or technical problem.
This diagram explains how issues are entered, scored, assigned, and discussed.
As an IT person, Tom has always had to work on complex projects but without direct control over anyone.
While Traction TeamPage couldn't offer any organizational power and control, the use of it to identify and work on issues created new levels of transparency and the ability to pull people in to better understand the universe of issues they face, within and across departments, and get people involved in the solving problems.
The Traction Front Page offers a view across the application areas, including a roll-up of all activity (Recent Articles) and a focus on open issues across all department areas:
While reading updates on the Front Page and deeper pages is a user friendly and effective experience, many individuals first learn of updates via the e-mail digest which is published daily for all users who subscribe to it.
Identifying Issues, Raising Awareness
In cases such as the Product Lifecycle Management system roll-out, there were technical issues as well as organizational issues.
The focus of the PLM Project, therefore, became twofold:
1) Documenting and communicating the benefits of the new system
2) Identifying issues throughout the PLM system's own lifecycle
Below is an image of the PLM Project newspage, with emphasis on system benefits and a log of open issues.
Anyone in the organization can monitor this page online or via a newsletter.
Issue Review and Management
Having identified the issues and collaboratively edited to refine the scenarios described, the team can track and discuss the issues as they work to follow through and tackle them.
Here is a list of the issues as they may be observed in a review meeting.
Issues are at the Heart of Forward Progress
You can see that the issues above are tagged to categories – like Cii (Continuous Improvement) – and assigned to individuals (“cop”).
Here is a view of an issue describing a required change to a group parameter in the ERP project.
The History, shows typical Wiki edit history (if any) like any other wiki.
As work is being done on critical enterprise systems having a record of all systems changes and the substance or context behind the change is a big help both to support the review process and to help explain the context, course of actions and reasons behind any irregularities.
In the course of resolving issues, knowledge is shared.
In this case, a How To label is applied to a commented answer which could be useful as a process point in other cases:
In this case, an Issue was assigned to Aruna for urgent resolution.
Tackling Issues, Every Day
The team has processed 765 issues in 13 project workspaces in the two years since Traction TeamPage was deployed.
Using the structural supports such as sections, labels and history in TeamPage, it's been easy to keep a process on track while also benefiting from the free form collaboration that's required for knowledge managers to collaborate effectively.
Besides improving the process for handling issues, TeamPage continues to add value through creating a knowledge resource, providing audit support, leaving a contextual trail for how and when systems decisions were made, and helping to explain how disparate systems are connected architecturally.
The Future for TeamPage at KUKA
Coming from a base of a nuts and bolts intranet, KUKA is in a position to deploy TeamPage further as the substance of an intranet that is Enterprise 2.
A detailed case study on KUKA Systems titled A Solution for Managing (and Maximizing Change) (login required) is published at Intranets Today.