Running head: KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Improving Knowledge Management
and Technician Skills
Leadership for the Future
Southwestern College Professional Studies
DMOS6 is an advanced and mature factory organization that is part of Texas Instruments’ One
Within this organization is the Metrology/AMHS/Yield Enhancement team.
This team includes equipment repair technicians who are responsible for the maintenance and
repair of over one hundred
pieces of equipment.
Due to the complexity of many of these
systems, our factory maintains several vendor service contracts, totaling mi
llions of dollars in
cost per year. Global economic conditions have resulted in decreased factory loadings,
staffing due to attrition and policy of not filling those vacancies, and ag
gressive cost cutting
measures. One of these measures includes
vendor service contract
in January of
that will require my team of technicians to assume
the repair and maintenance of that
Our team will be challenged to learn the skills needed to fill the gap created when
this contract is
eliminated. In order to increase technician skill levels, a frame bending strategy
to increase knowledge management and capture tribal knowledge, increase team and individual
repair skills through on
job training, and increase individual technician co
Utilizing the appropriate change management principles
during, and upon completion of this strategy will help our team achieve our objectives.
Organization and Background
DMOS6 is a wafer
fabrication facility that produces silicon wafers
, the building blocks of
. It is part of Texas Instruments, Incorporated and its One Make organization.
Texas Instruments is a Fortune 500 company with a successful business and
citizenship record, including a co
nsistent presence on Fortune’s Most Admired Companies,
Semiconductor Industry (Fortune, 2012). In addition, the company has an outstanding reputation
for its ethical principles.
According to our corporate websi
te, our culture can be summarized as
Knowing what’s right, doing what’s right and valuing what’s right are inte
components of TI’s culture” (Tex
as Instruments, 2012, para. 8).
am responsible for
equipment repair and process
in the Metrology/AMHS/Yield Enhancement
support the A
shift portions of our twenty
by seven operations. Each shift is a
, and together
the shifts combine to work four days one week and three days the
herefore my team only covers half of
fourteen technicians on my team, only
support the repair and maintenance of Metrology
four technicians on A
shift and two
technicians on B
supervisor is responsible for leading t
Our technicians repair and
maintain over one hundred separate pieces of factory equipment. This equ
ipment has robotic,
pneumatic, laser, and optical components which make complex systems designed in varying
configurations as well as applications.
factory began operations in 200
Until July of 2011, our factory was
loaded at over seventy percent capacity. Since then, our loadings have
been affected by global
economic conditions that have resulted in
customer demand. This has resulted in our
current loadings of
mately fifty percent capacity
ur staffing levels have decreased
and those vacant positions are not being filled
. In addition, we are also faced
with aggressive cost
cutting initiatives that
vendor service contracts
as early as January of 2013
Within DMOS6, our leadership team has established the framework necessary for one of
our continuous improvement efforts in the area of knowledge management. Our server capacity
and access p
rivileges for all employees enable our teams to create, edit and save documents such
as process procedures, historical data, statistical process control charts, preventive maintenance
procedures, quality policies,
and other useful information. In addition
, we have on our intranet
what we call “d6wiki,” which is a web depository of information created by managers,
engineers, technicians, and manufacturing specialists within the DMOS6
organization also supports continuous training of all p
ersonnel as defined by their role. Some of
this training is online while the majority of equipment repair technicians receive on
training (OJT) in their specialty areas.
Our module has not been consis
tent in its capture of tribal knowledge, or specific
information learned by our technicians over time and through specific experiences such as
complex repairs. John Dew writes about the influence of a tribal culture within quality
organizations and best d
escribes that it is established when “the experienced employees in the
tribal culture maintain their own notes about how processes work and how to get things done in
the organization” (Dew, 2011, p. 58). Some technicians are tempted to hold on to this gai
information over time. In her research article that studied Generation X and Baby Boomer
aerospace engineers and transfer of knowledge between these two groups, Debby McNichols
describes some Baby Boomer employees as “not wanting to relinquish tacit k
of a fear of losing control and ownership of the tacit knowledge” (McNichols, 2010, p. 30).
staffing levels a
s well as
the forecasted need to
assume responsibility for the repair of
currently maintained by vendor contract personnel are
of this change
Through OJT within our module, our technicians may increase their knowledge on
various equipment repairs, but a deliberate capture of this info
the training is being
is imperative to our success
as a team
in the future.
By capturing this knowledge in
the form of step
step procedures, troubleshooting flow charts, and other mechanisms, future
training events should provide c
onsistent information dissemination to the trainees.
these procedures to our knowledge database would also serve our team members outside of
training, such as when needed as a guide or reference during a repair.
This would save valuable
time and w
ith anticipated reduced staff available for repairs, would help us maintain productivity
and equipment availability for manufacturing.
The service contracts provide additional personnel available to repair
Figure 1 depicts the repair coverage for all
of our equipment, categorized by equipment covered by service contracts not being targeted for
elimination, equipment not covered by a service contract but only consisting of less than five of
model, equipment covered by a service contract and targeted for elimination, and all other
equipment with no contract and more than five of each type. The significance of more than or
less than five of each type or model is related to whether or not the
se tool types should be a focus
of increased knowledge management and internal team cross training.
Coverage for DMOS6 Metrology
Another factor influencing our team’s need for change is evident when reviewing our
module’s technician skill
which lists all equipment types or
models maintained in our module
that have more than five of each
reveals gaps in our
expertise across shifts.
Figure 2 is a snapshot of our current skill
This matrix provides a
. Metrology Technician Skills Matrix by Equipment Type & Vendor Coverage
quick glance at where our training needs are. Green indicates the technician is able to complete
almost all repairs and maintenance, including
complex repairs. Yellow signifies the technician
the technician is familiar with some repairs, but is not able to perform basic preventive
maintenance and complex repairs. Red indicates the technician has very limited training or
repair knowledge. This
matrix also provides a glimpse at how many different equipment types
are covered by current contracts which have been renewed, those not covered by contracts, and
those that have been targeted for elimination. These gaps will need to be addressed through
training. The upcoming vendor service contract reductions also necessitate that our team
members learn as much about that equipment, operation theory, preventive maintenance
procedures, and common repairs in order to be prepared to support equipment maintenance
Close inspection of our skills matrix chart indicates that on AMAT Compass
zero of six are trained.
Only one of six have complex knowledge on the AMAT Verity SEM
equipment, while two of six have some repair knowledge and the remaining three of six have
limited knowledge. The final equipment type targeted for contract
elimination is the AMAT
SEM Vision where one of six has complex knowledge, four of six have some repair proficiency,
and the remaining one technician has limited repair experience or knowledge.
Selecting the best change strategy for
our specific change initiative was somewhat
straightforward. Our change initiative will consist of increasing knowledge management while
introducing additional equipment OJT for our repair technicians.
Different strategies that I
considered for implement
ing this change initiative,
those discussed by authors Todd
Jick and Maury Peiper
l, such as
driven, and frame bending.
Jick and Peiperl,
creation is “strategic change necessitated by external events, usually
that threaten the very existence of the organization. Such changes require radical departure from
the past” (
Jick & Peiperl, 2011, p. 243).
This change is also described as being applied in
reaction to forces of change. Our team has the advantage o
f known upcoming events, such as
contract elimination and reduced staffing, that allows us to anticipate these forces and plan for
our transition to the next level of equipment support needed. Re
creation is also not best suited
for our needs because of i
ts wide scope of changes across leadership, values, and culture. While
some culture change is going to occur, it is localized to our team
and to one aspect of our jobs
Our values and leadership also will not need to be modified in order for this change
Finally, given the time before the anticipated changes, such drastic modifications
would be unnecessary and perhaps even destructive to our team.
. This strategy is described by Ryan,
iams, Charles and Waterhouse as a change strategy
directed from the top
managerial employees are vital with respect to embedding change, even though they generally
have little to say in the decision
(Ryan, et. al., 2008, p. 26). F
or the changes
facing my team, the only advantage I cited with using this strategy would be if we had a very
short amount of time available for change. Otherwise, this strategy risks employee resistance
due to a lack of opportunity to participate in devel
opment of the plan for change.
I also adhere to
Kouzes and Posner’s description of what type of vision people are most likely to follow, which is
a shared vision that “sets the agenda and gives direction and purpose to the enterprise [change].
It begins a
nd ends with listening. Listening to the voices of all your constituents” (Kouzes &
Posner, 2007, p. 125). A top down strategy isn’t necessarily conducive to listening to one’s
In contrast, the change strategy known as frame bending, accordin
g to Jick and Peiperl,
“is strategic change made with the luxury of time afforded by having anticipated the external
events that may ultimately require change” (Jick & Peiperl, 2011, p. 243).
This change strategy
offers a better fit for our necessary incr
eases in knowledge management and technician skills.
My team is aware of the upcoming contract reductions as well as our
gaps in knowledge
management for repairs they are responsible for knowing how to perform. They also realize that
being proactive and
participative in this change initiative will help our team best prepare for the
increased demands for maintenance support.
Implementation of Strategy
The objective of our strategy
to increase knowledge management within our module
that will ultimately
step procedures, troubleshooting flow charts, and other
that will provide consistent
Increase team skills and depth across equipment models identified for contract
elimination through on
Increase individual skills, resulting in stronger technician competencies that
influence company pay for performance evaluations.
Our team will be able to conduct OJT initially on two of three equipment models targeted for
kills matrix indicates that we have expertise at the level of complex
repair knowledge and abilities on these two models, the AMAT SemVision and Verity SEM.
Our team as a whole, however, does not have the depth needed on either A
shifts to assume
upport for this equipment as of today.
I have already obtained management approval to pursue
further skill development through OJT and was not required to present a formal plan. In
addition, I have been in communication with Metrology equipment tech supe
rvisors from a sister
factory in order to coordinate OJT for our technicians on the third model targeted for contract
elimination, the AMAT Compass/ComPlus.
Below is our timeline by phase of implementation:
Team huddles to i
lls needed to support contract
Team huddles to i
, discuss documentation capture,
standards of training
Phase III: Schedule tr
aining designed as OJT
, document, and upload
training as completed
employee training records
, and communicate to team any new documents added to KM
17, September 12, 2012 through January 2, 2013
Team huddles to identify any adjustments or additional training needed
least once the first week of October 2012
and again the first week of November 2012;
Phase VI: Team begins
maintenance and repair for
three equipment models no
longer covered by contract
Team meets to prepare a brief presentation on our successful obtainment of
our objective to include benefits of the training as well as techn
ician feedback on lessons
learned during this change
14, 2013 and then schedule presentation for last
of January, 2013.
Potential barriers to this change initiative include time constraints created when we have
limited personnel on shift to perform the training. Critical equipment repairs pending will also
compete for our resources and override any planned training events.
We will have to remain
flexible and ready to adapt to these unpredictable situations. Another barrier
may present itself
should we have anyone leave the team who is a primary trainer. Finally, if we do not provide
useful feedback during this entire pro
cess or provide the resources needed to support this
activity, technicians may feel their needs are not important to management. They know how
much our company will save if we are successful in increasing our abilities to support the
equipment targeted fo
r contract elimination. The potential savings is in the range of two to three
million dollars. If
we do not reward
our technicians for their efforts by giving them credit for the
increased job competencies they develop and maintain, morale will take a di
ve and some may
look for jobs outside our organization.
My leadership approach during all phases will be to remain engaged throughout this
change initiative, providing resources needed and coordinating to facilitate uninterrupted training
as possible. I
will lead our communications efforts as we inform each other and our management
achieved. I will highlight and celebrate our wins to help keep motivation
I think it will be important to include in my performance evaluatio
with each technician an update or snapshot of their specific skills increase and to congratulate
them as they achieve their goals. In addition, I believe it will be important to keep my awareness
keen so that any other changes that will af
fect our plan can be mitigated. As pointed out by Jick
If there is one aspect of change that seems to be changing the most, it is the necessity for
leaders not only to plan and motivate, but to constantly seek new knowledge about forces
d their control that will require them to adjust their plans, and to find new ways of
influencing others to adapt accordingly, often in mid
(Jick & Peiperl, 2011, p.
The results of this initiative include a stronger team due to the natur
e of how the training
has to be achieved and the direct individual benefits from increased
skills affecting potential pay.
In addition, our team as a whole will be better positioned to support manufacturing needs for a
larger amount of equipment. As the d
ocumentation is created and added to our knowledge
management database, technicians will have access to a larger pool of repair information they
can access real time as needed. We will be able to measure our success by comparing the
number of repair proce
dures available in our knowledge management database at the beginning
of Phase I to the number of similar procedures available at the conclusion of Phase VII. We will
also be able to see our skills matrix values change as training is completed and technic
able to complete repairs. Finally, each technician can compare their skill levels and pay levels
from August 1, 2012 to what they receive during our annual compensation and review process on
February 1, 2013.
Participative and engaged
on my part to help this strategy
reach the goals stated. Improving knowledge management will be a continuous improvement
activity that will not have an end date. Our organization will need to remain a
flexible in order to “enjoy a distinct competitive advantage over rigid, static ones” (Jick &
Peiperl, 2011, p. 132).
The need for change is most likely to remain dependent on various
factors, including those that prompted this change initiati
In addition, our technicians will
need to recognize the need for continuous learning so that they may improve their skills,
abilities, and potential career progression. This change initiative promises to provide tangible
results that all team members
can quantify and measure. Time will reveal the quality of the
training they received, and team member access to our knowledge management improvements
may confirm the value of the procedures that were captured. Finally, when results are presented
management team we hope to receive
the same or better
support in similar
initiatives we set out to achieve together.
Dew, J. (2011). TRIBAL quest.
Quality Progress, 44
61. Retrieved from
World’s Most Admired
Jick, T. D., & Peiperl, M. A. (2011).
Managing Change:Cases and Concepts Third Edition.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007).
The Leadership Challenge
(4th ed.). San Francisco:
McNichols, D. (2010). Optimal knowledge transfer methods: A generation X perspective.
Journal of Knowledge Management, 14
37. doi: 10.1108/13673271011015543
Ryan, N., Williams, T., Charles, M., & Waterhouse, J. (2008). Top
down organizational change
in an australian government agency.
The International Journal of Public Sector
44. doi: 10.1108/095135508
Texas Instruments, Incorporated. (2012).