Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Knowledge Manager as Demand Chain manager

Part of the role of the Knowledge Manager is demand chain management, and this needs to be recognised in the job description.

Image from wikimedia commons
I blogged last week about the Knowledge Manager as a Supply Chain manager, and cross-rerenced a Supply Chain manager role description with parallel tasks for the Knowledge Manager.

However I also made the point that the Knowledge Manager needs to manage demand as well as supply. We already see this mentioned in KM job descriptions such as the following:

  • UNDP analyst role- "facilitate demand and supply of knowledge"
  • Legal Knowledge Manager - "Work with the Groups and the Knowledge Management Officer to assess the relevant knowledge needs, define and implement a plan to meet those needs, and establish mechanisms for regular review of the plan". 
  • The US Army KM Officer - "Help the staff perform internal and external knowledge gap analyses. Create techniques to bridge gaps"
  • Samsung Knowledge Manager - "Performs the task of establishing the direction and strategy of knowledge management activities by analyzing an enterprise’s management strategy and employees’ knowledge requests and planning knowledge management programs  
  • Sample Job Description & Specification From CILIP - "To ensure that the information needs of the organisation are met in a timely, effective and efficient manner" which sort of implies that you need to analyse these needs.
However while the demand side is mentioned in these job descriptions, it is generally either one line, or part of one line, and outweighed by the supply side activities.

We can therefore compare a typical demand Chain Manager role description with potential demand-side elements of the KM role. This comparison leads us into a more rigorous approach to knowledge forecasting, such as statistical forecast models, and also highlights the area where Demand Chain management is weak, namely the stimulation of demand (which in most sales organisations would be addressed by Marketing).

Demand chain manager job description

Knowledge manager job description (demand side)

This role is responsible for all demand forecasting activities associated with customers and products. This role is responsible for all activities associated with the demand for knowledge, including demand stimulation and demand forecasting

Develop demand forecasts (operational forecasts) at multiple levels of aggregation for multiple time horizons as part of a demand planning function. Develop demand forecasts  for knowledge at multiple levels of aggregation for multiple time horizons as part of a KM planning or strategy function. 
Review historical sales trends, research demand drivers, prepare forecast data, develop statistical forecast models, and evaluate forecast results. Review historical use of knowledge, research drivers for knowledge demand, prepare forecast data, develop statistical forecast models, and evaluate forecast results. 
Interact with sales, marketing, and customer finance to understand demand forecast drivers.Interact with the business to understand the drivers for the future demand for knowledge.
Provide input to the Supply Planning organization in developing inventory strategies on existing items, new products, and product phase-outs.Provide input to the KM and R&D organization in developing knowledge acquisition strategies.
(missing)Promote the demand for knowledge within the organisation

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