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P. K. M.

Product Knowledge Management

Manage and improve the accumulation and distribution of production knowledge (Know How) internally and externally 

Do you realize that there is a lot of informal information generated on the production floor?

Use PKM to collect and manage this important information for reuse by different people and on different production sites.

Every company that manufactures complex products has systems in place for management of the production and associated knowledge. Many companies have Product Data Management (PDM) or Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems that manage documents relevant for the design and production of products; electrical drawings, mechanical drawings, testing documents etc.

The production process involves many data inputs, among which are instructions and remarks for various stages of production that are sometimes referred to as process sheet.

This information is not captured in typical engineering documents and drawings, and tends to change and evolve as experience is gained through production. The process sheet is usually entered in a word document that is stored and managed in the PDM/PLM system.

With the growing tendency to use different manufaturing sites or contract manufacturers at various stages of production, there is a growing need to distribute production knowledge to remote (and sometimes outsourced) production sites and at the same time, improve productivity and quality through constant accumulation of knowledge from the production floor. Managing the process sheet as a static document in the PDM/PLM system has several drawbacks:

  • The process sheet is usually sent as hard or soft copy to the production floor, and is therefore stored outside the PDM/PLM. This complicates the control over distribution and updates of the document.

  • It is difficult to control who sees what. It may be desirable that a manufaturing site would not see the instructions for manufacturing stages not performed by it.

  • There is no structured procedure for gathering input from production line workers

  • The information in process sheets is more dynamic then typical engineering data. It changes constantly and is (in most cases) external to product design so ECN is not necessary. PDM/PLM systems enforce formal procedures for adding and modifying product documentation. As a result, PDM/PLM systems tend to be very restrictive and slow moving. Changes follow ECN/ECO procedures that involve approval from many parties, which make changes to the process sheet a slow and cumbersome task.


P.K.M is designed to solve the above-mentioned issues. It is a Web based system that enables the OEM manufacturer to have full management control over the process sheet and shares required information (Know How) with end users, while maintaining tight control over its distribution. It also enforces a structured procedure for adding information to the process sheet.
P.K.M does not replace the PDM/PLM, but rather complements it with much needed functionality.

The process sheet in P.K.M defines a process per product, composed of a number of workstations or stages (i.e. Preparation etc). For each workstation, a few topics can be defined and each topic can include one or more knowledge items. Knowledge items are composed of text and may include attachments such as photos, videos or additional documents.

The main users defined in P.K.M are the Product Manager and the Production Line Worker. In principle, the product managers prepares and manages the process sheets and shares them with groups of production line workers that belong to manufacturers, through assigned privileges.

  • Each product manager can manage one or more products.

  • One or more manufacturers can view the same workstation. It may be that a product is manufactured by more than one manufacturer, and that various manufacturer/site are responsible for different stages of production of the same product (for example, one manufacturer/site is responsible for SMT and another for mechanical assembly or integration).

  • Manufacturers can only view the workstations they have privileges for.

The product manager is solely responsible for the creation and modification of process sheets. There is however, a structured procedure where production workers can suggest additions and changes to the process sheet.

Figure 1. View of process per product

The key advantages of P.K.M are:

  • Easy exposure of up-to-date production knowledge internally and externally
    to multiple remote sites.

  • Support for learning processes, where changing information is easily gathered and
    master data is modified without the constraints of combersome ECN procedures.

  • Tight control over modification and accumulation of knowledge through
    hierarchy of privileges.

  • Support for complex supply chain structures whithin internal production and
    external production at multiple manufaturers sites (or contract manufacturers).

  • Support for dynamic supply chain management– seamless knowledge transfer to new manufaturers sites (or contract manufacturers) or for following changes in production responsibilities.

  • Centralized control over the knowledge base by an authorized function – the product manager.


  • Easy to use

  • Web designed

  • Different levels of access to information

  • One central database

Business benefits

  • Increased Yield

  • Lower first production costs

  • Higher productivity

  • Shorter production cycles

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