Effective Sharing of Information and Knowledge in Production Systems
Abstract: The ongoing paradigm shift of the manufacturing industry, Industry 4.0, creates many new opportunities for companies to become more agile with increased automation, and thus gain a competitive advantage. This development of automation increases the manufacturing complexity, and subsequently also the complexity of the work tasks performed by people. Yet human operators remain as the most important resource in modern production systems. However, to manage the increased complexity, people working together in the manufacturing industry need to effectively communicate and share information and knowledge with each other, especially for Operator 4.0 in a future Industry 4.0 context. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to explore how more effective sharing of information and knowledge can be achieved, with the aim of this thesis to propose, evaluate, and develop a framework for effective sharing of information and knowledge. This framework, the MEET model, was applied at four different companies with varying mixed-methods research designs. In general, the MEET model emphasizes harmonization between a company’s Organization System and Information System, which together support the activities where information and knowledge are shared by operators. In this thesis and its appended papers, the MEET model has been applied for the structural development for both a group of meetings in general and specific meetings in particular. Further, the use of the MEET model itself has been developed to focus on individual needs and preferences for sharing information and knowledge. The outcome of this thesis suggests that when designing effective activities for sharing information and knowledge, it is important to focus on individual needs and preferences for information and knowledge, which the MEET model has been developed to support. This holistic approach towards effective sharing of information and knowledge is based on individual needs and preferences. Thus, this approach places an emphasis on consolidating how people want to work with the addition of technological possibilities to support the effective sharing of information and knowledge. Conclusively, when designing and implementing effective sharing of information and knowledge, it is important to keep a human-centred perspective and to include the operators in the design process. By first identifying individuals’ needs and preferences for information and knowledge, development of organizational and technological aspects can support sharing of the aforementioned information and knowledge effectively because, in the end, it is all about how people want to work.
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