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Knowledge Transfer Biggest Barrier to Manufacturing Improvement

Cincom cites lack of knowledge of options by the customer and the field as the primary barrier to product customization efforts.

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2007 - New report reveals that 67 percent of manufacturers rank knowledge transfer as biggest barrier to improvement.

Most engineers at build-to-order and engineer-to-order manufacturers believe that product complexity is not the primary barrier to customization. They cite lack of knowledge of options by the customer (67 percent) and the field (44 percent) as the primary barrier to product customization efforts. This is according to a research report released today by software maker Cincom Systems.

"Best Practices: Mass Customization and Build-to-Order Manufacturing" discusses the findings of the industry's first report 'from an engineering perspective' on the state of mass customization and build-to-order practices.

"The implication is that the knowledge required to sell customized products is not being effectively transferred to the field and customer. This is not surprising given the lack of strategic investment in front-office processes and systems" writes Jim Wilson, Cincom Program Director and author of the report.

According to this survey, the primary barrier to customization is the effective transfer of knowledge from the back office to the front office. Of the surveyed respondents, 43 percent indicated that inadequate systems are also a barrier to customization.

Internal Expert Knowledge at Risk

Intellectual capital related to products is primarily in the heads of a few experts (64 percent). Twenty-six percent see the loss of intellectual capital through retirement or turnover as a key risk to their build-to-order strategy. Even more concerning is the fact that 35 percent of respondents report that there is no method in place for sharing knowledge throughout the company.

Cincom Systems targeted the survey at senior engineering managers at 900 manufacturers of complex industrial, electrical, and transportation equipment and systems between January and February 2007.

Cincom serves clients on six continents. For more information about Cincom's products and services, contact Shiraz Datta at Cincom Systems India

Edited by Carolyn Allen
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