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Procter & Gamble pampers R&D

This article appears in the issue January 2002 [Volume 11, Issue 1]


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User stories from the knowledge front

The maker of more than 300 brands “you know and trust,” as the company says on its Web site, Procter & Gamble is using knowledge sharing to enhance innovation and time to market.

After a four-month pilot project, the company recently purchased a second installment of AskMe knowledge sharing software. The integration of the solution with the company’s largest intranet site, Innovation Net, will encourage greater employee collaboration and enable more consumer-driven innovation, according to a press release from AskMe. Innovation Net reaches 18,000 employees at Procter & Gamble in such departments as Research and Development, Engineering, Purchasing, Consumer and Market, Patent/Legal, and Business Information Systems.

The software will enable users to locate, catalog, transfer and maintain employee knowledge. They will be able to identify qualified individuals with relevant expertise, to submit questions or business problems to individuals, to receive solutions from colleagues and to respond immediately and effectively. Answers and solutions that are transferred via the software are captured into a knowledgebase so other employees can reuse them in the future, according to the press release.

The capture and sharing of internal knowledge is becoming increasingly important to large corporations. According to a study by Delphi Group, nearly 88% of a company’s knowledge resides in the minds of its employees, but most companies lack an efficient system to tap into that knowledge in ways that provide a strong return on investment.

“Corporations such as Procter & Gamble are able to see results quickly,” says Udai Shekawat, AskMe CEO. “Large corporations have recognized that constantly reinventing the wheel is inefficient and slows important processes and, hence, negatively affects the bottom line. With AskMe, companies are creating a giant knowledgebase that can be accessed instantly throughout an organization.”

The company will use the system to enhance its research and product development, specifically to collaborate across business units. P&G’s Home Care business unit can locate and collaborate with experts in the Health Care unit, for instance, to develop a dishwashing detergent that cuts grease but is gentle to the skin.

Procter & Gamble markets such brands as Tide, Crest, Pringles, Pampers, Olay and Bounty to nearly 5 billion consumers in more than 140 countries


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