Knowledge Capture & Transfer: Manufacturing

Our process for seamlessly capturing knowledge directly from operator level employees

Since you have arrived to this article, there’s a good chance that you work in manufacturing and are already familiar with one of the most pressing challenges manufacturing companies are facing today:

How to capture knowledge from the retiring workforce and transfer it to the incoming workforce.

A concerning statistic we commonly hear is that 60% of the manufacturing workforce is up for retirement over the next 10 years. Many Operations and HR folks are bracing for significant knowledge loss and are looking for ways to mediate some of that risk.

Here at, our software and associates help companies with a lot of different workforce challenges, however one of our favorites is helping companies with reducing risk of knowledge loss by capturing and organizing knowledge from employees before they leave. Our process is simple but has proven to be successful!

When we start working with a new company, if they have any sort of knowledge management system in place it is typically a “downstream” knowledge management approach. This is when management pushes content, training, SOPs, etc downstream to the operators who perform the work. Downstream knowledge management is better than no knowledge management, however you can typically find a lot of gaps between what’s documented and what’s happening on the work floor. There can oftentimes be a lot of work floor innovation and knowledge that goes undocumented, which is exact knowledge you will miss greatly after a longtime employee leaves.

Our associates help companies implement a grassroots knowledge management system that utilizes an upstream and downstream knowledge sharing approach. Our process is easily managed through and can be broken down into 4 steps:

  1. Identify Key Processes & People
  2. Create Vision & Build Up Buy-In
  3. Crowdsourcing & Collaboration
  4. Track, Maintain, & Reward

Want to learn more about our 4 step process? Check out this blog post: 

4 Steps For Building A Grassroots Training System