A knowledge framework for problem solving in the worldwide manufacturing competition

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 3, Number 3-4, p.234-248 (2003)




The complexity of manufacturing problems stresses the role of knowledge management in organisations. In fact, the global market competition forces companies to be not only fast and creative to face demand requirements, but also efficient and effective to coordinate the supply-chain flows. This article proposes a framework to analyse manufacturing problems according to a knowledge management perspective. The analysis is based on the main knowledge processes involved in problem solving, namely knowledge generation, memory, transfer and codification. Each of them can be assessed by variables such as uncertainty, space-dependence, time-dependence, and codification level, describing manufacturing problems in terms of, for instance, degree of coordination and integration, repetitiveness or uniqueness of the solution. The definition of the most suitable ICT to support problem solving in a specific manufacturing context is then provided, allowing the definition of possible actions to pursue performance improvement. Finally, some examples of the framework implementation in organisations operating in the automotive industry are described, to show the potentialities of the approach.

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