From knowledge, more knowledge is created

"Knowledge" seems obvious to us and we use the word almost every day. Some talk about knowledge, some about know-how. Structured, up-to-date knowledge is as valuable as gold. Companies that have learned to deal with knowledge quickly, purposefully, and in a market-relevant manner are already among the winners today. We, too, at Müller - Die lila Logistik, are convinced that knowledge, as well as the intelligent use of it, is one of the most important assets of the future.

Modern knowledge management answers two questions: How do we make knowledge accessible to all in a targeted and user-friendly way? How do we create the mindset that increases a desire to share, and not hoard knowledge? Naturally, there isn't one recipe for successful knowledge management. Good knowledge management systems are characterized by dynamics as well as a high orientation towards needs and isn't often transferable to other areas.


This much is certain: A world in which digital transformation makes change the new normal  presents companies with new and complex issues and challenges. The harbingers are the companies that, as cliché as it sounds, think outside the box. New approaches and clear competitive advantages arise from the construction and enrichment of knowledge. The problem is that we often thin that knowledge only arises from individuals. Therefore, organizations must learn that new knowledge also arises from the active sharing of individual knowledge. It sounds easy, but it's not. Several obstacles will stand in the way:  personal resistance, uncertainties, lack of target group focus, information transfer according to the watering can principle, etc. 

The atom, a system that exists because of the close interaction between negatively charged electrons and a positively charged core, illustrates the topic of knowledge management. Only when leaders manage to convey an understanding of the whole, so that the individual no longer uses his knowledge as an individual instrument of power, but instead contributes to the common goals in the organization and shares them with others, is value added. This is a huge change that requires a lot of persuasion. It usually takes 12 months for employees to begin sharing knowledge in a business-oriented manner.


Turning knowledge into action

How do you deal with knowledge in the company? Basically, a distinction is made between explicit and implicit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is detached from the knowledge carrier. They are often in the form of instructions or process descriptions and are relatively easy and fast to obtain on databases. Implicit knowledge, on the other hand, is the inarticulate, strongly experiential knowledge of a knowledge carrier that can not be accessed at the touch of a button. 

Imparting and providing implicit knowledge is the real challenge of knowledge management. A classic example is teaching someone how to ride a bicycle. A child is quickly told that he has to pedal and with the handlebar set in the correct direction. The implicit knowledge of how to balance the wheels, however, are found out through experience itself. Assistance is limited. Knowledge systems are like icebergs: The explicit knowledge is visible. The implicit knowledge lies hidden under water but composes 90 percent of the iceberg's mass. This is where the real power of the organization lies.

How can you bring this concentrated power of knowledge in effect? Simple answer: Talking to each other or, more academically speaking, through interaction. Application and experiential knowledge cannot be learned by inputting information into a vacuum. Knowledge is better spread through in an interactive way, with plenty of repetition. Horizontal, hierarchical, and continuous interaction support learning success. Content given through seminars result in 90 percent of the information being forgotten after just two days.

The goal is to make the company a learning organization. Knowledge is communicated, shared, and used in companies within so-called user groups. A user group is defined as a group of individuals interacting and working in the same environment. The classic user groups within a firm include departments, hierarchy levels, locations, and branches. Outside of their daily work context, these groups develop special manners, routines, and sometimes even their own language. If knowledge is to be disseminated and permeated throughout the company, on must view user groups as small and potentially highly efficient interaction units and knowledge workshops.

Sharing knowledge across borders

Only the targeted transfer of knowledge beyond the boundaries of user groups makes companies powerful and fast-acting organizations. A prerequisite for this is trust and a high degree of personal responsibility. The fact that employees provide their knowledge in a cross-departmental and holistic way is, if you will, the supreme discipline in knowledge management. In order to begin and accelerate this process, it's necessary to select knowledge brokers. As pioneers of the knowledge-based interaction, they build bridges between the user groups. 

At Lila, we, too, face the challenge of knowledge management. What we benefit from: A permanent readiness to learn and change, since we are always looking for the best customer solution. It goes without saying that we're also constantly developing ourselves for our own operational procedures. Whether it's through our Lila production system or through our integrated ERP systems, we ensure the longevity of our operational and strategic knowledge. Years of experience from our consulting and logistics projects, have shown us time and time again, at which points knowledge must be strongly promoted.

Lila Logistik sees itself as a partner service provider and as a knowledge provider. We are ready to build bridges - inside the company and beyond. In our book, "VORDENKEN", experts from various disciplines share their knowledge and visions with you. For example, certified pedagogue, Jöran Muuß-Merholz, explains how boundaries between educational areas will become blurred in the future.

If you feel like thinking with us, we look forward to hearing from you.