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Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
Buckman Labs
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Buckman Labs

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Summary of the Buckman Labs case study

Summary of the Buckman Labs case study

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  • 1. Buckman Labs case study Ottavio Cambieri - John Fuller
  • 2. Buckman Labs - Company Background
      • Founded in 1945 - in 3 years sets industry standards for Microorganisms control
      • 1950 added leather, paint and sugar processing 
      • 1960 new companies in Mexico and Belgium
      • 1970 sales manufacturer in South Africa Brazil, sales in Africa; new products released; a new International headquarters with corporate activities and R&D in Memphis
      • It becomes the leading manufacturer in chemicals for aqueous industrial systems for 50 years
      • 20 associates Buckman companies distributed in 80 countries
      • 200 shareholders
  • 3. New Leadership
    • In 1978  Bob Buckman becomes CEO of Buckman Laboratories
    • He decides to change the way the company operates:
    • From a Multinational organization >> Global organization
    • ...and its the managment style:
    • From Product driven >> Costumer driven
    • More:
    • Expand the sales force, shift focus from manifacturing to sales
    • He drove the creation of a code of ethics
  • 4. Best Practices
    • Initially the company used Phds, moving around the globe to share practices.
    • Questions and & Answers were paper based resulting in a long time to get answers and an overly complicated system
    • Need for change: Bob Buckman gets inspired by Jan Carlzon of SAS
    • From 1986 a more systematic approach to best practices was implemented with the use of IBM systems: a database with manager's emails was created.
    • Problem: those who really needed info were those dealing with the customers.
    • Within one year the first knowledge sharing system was created.
    • The users were given 100$ if their answer was considered helpful.
  • 5. New Needs
    • In the 1980s Buckman Lab's sales multiplied by 3.5% 
    • New companies were created in other countries
    • By the end of the 80s more changes were needed.
    • The goal was to have 25% of sales coming from products which are less than 5 years old.
    • At this time processes of communications in the company were slow.
    • Bob Buckman wanted a different approach to access the "unconscious knowledge" of the organization.
    • People need to connect! But how?
    • "What was needed was a knowledge management transport system, leading to the birth of K'netix"
  • 6. K'Netix
    • In March 1992 the Knowledge Transfer Department (KTD):
      • Moves the company's network on Compuserve
      • Grants the access to the network from everywhere
      • Builds K'netix: designed for non computer experts, with a user friendly interface
    • K'netix mainly consists in Forums and Message boards
    • Goal of K'Netix: to help customers improve their productivity
    • In K'Netix: 
      • Techforum - open to everyone
      • Private forums for specific cases
      • System operators constantly monitor the discussions, they track requests, make sure questions get answers.
      • System operators are helped by content experts
    • After an answer is given, it becomes part of the knowledge base and becomes searchable
  • 7. The launch
    • After the training sessions there were many skeptical managers.
    • Buckman Labs tried to promote those who share knowledge.
    • The shift from knowledge hoarding to knowledge sharing began.
    • In the beginning there were no rules for what can and cannot be posted on K'Netix
    • It was important to the company to make K'Netix accessible from any location.
    • They introduced K'Netix in 15 languages with the help of 3 translators
  • 8. The 4th Wave
    • In order to reward the best 150 contributers to K'netix, people from all over the world were called to a meeting in early 1994 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
    • Key points of the meeting were:
      • How to improve K'Netix, expecially for those not living in the US
      • How to solve the cultural differences between users from different countries
    • As a result, a  new "latino" forum is created where spanish can be spoken.
  • 9. Buckman Labs Key Principles
      • Create systematic business processes that are simple, easy to learn and easy to do.
      • Keeping everything inline with on overall business strategy and maintaining a clear link to ROI
      • Shifting a business model that relies on products to one that relies on customer intimacy
      • Constantly striving to Maintain innovation and growth through creativity and learning at the organizational and individual level
      • Knowing that areas of value and benefit do not always come from obvious sources and when one is recognized, it must be nurtured
      • Understanding that all levels of management are key and must be valued appropriately
  • 10. The Early Results
    • By 1994 K'netix had already achieved some remarkable results. However, they found it difficult to document how such intangible theories equated to success. The statistics below are their best way of tangibly displaying the benefits of their business model.
    •     •  65% of Buckman’s associates were out selling, compared to 16% in 1979.
    •     • 33% of sales were from products less than five years old, compared to             22% prior to K'Netix.     • 72% of associates were college graduates, compared to 39% in 1979.
  • 11. New Challenges
    • K'netix had gained massive success and recognition by 1999, but challenges persisted to arise. The major new challenge introduced in this section is, "How do you build trust in a virtual world?"   Some of the problems outlined are: loyalty, how to build trust and economic pressures. It is proposed that 90% of the trust and loyalty problems are cultural and rely on abstract concepts  that you cannot see on paper in an accounting office. The article goes on to say that the core of the situation is wether or not people trust the sources of information.  One of the most interesting things
    • about the whole journey of K'Netix, which is outlined in the concluding statement, is that it was not built on a road to a predefined destination, but rather a journey being led in whatever direction was most beneficial for the user. The end goal being to get to the creative use of knowledge. When asked if they know how they are going to get there the answer was, "Hell no."

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