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Food Manufacturer Establishes Knowledge Management Environment with SharePoint

A display of vegetables in a grocery store.

The world’s leading R&D food manufacturer markets its products to a diverse variety of other food producers. They supply their customers with the highest-quality products available, and also partner with them in creating world-class foodstuffs. The leading food manufacturer helps its customers create and enhance successful foods and beverages. They understand that every project is unique and every customer’s needs are different. Their research and development facilities employ the latest instrumental technology to ensure optimum product performance for their customers.


With business units on multiple continents, employees had challenges finding information that could be shared about customers, projects, organizational units and colleagues. Various policies and practices made it difficult to digitize the creation of new lab notes. When employees sought knowledge, they tended to find for the person by role. The manufacturer did not have a common way to de-brief and then share employees’ collected knowledge when they left or switched roles. Furthermore a person by name, rather than searching, technical/R&D teams did not get feedback from customers.


SPR recommended establishing a Knowledge Management (KM) Environment for the manufacturer’s staff. This would help support communication between the manufacturer’s affiliates located in different geographies. Developing a corporate Enterprise Content Management (ECM) taxonomy simplifies content storage and retrieval. KM policies would need to be defined, at an executive level, as to what should or should not be shared outside of the small groups. The security model would have to be flexible, secure, and auditable in order to support their business needs.


Technical teams can effectively share knowledge within their small groups through email, secure file shares, IM and conversations. Teams can easily use knowledge from previous R&D projects to benefit future R&D projects. The architecture provides flexibility at the department/division level while ensuring information consistency across the organization. Optimization of search will help employees find information without knowing exactly where “someone put it.”


Through the implementation of a SharePoint platform, SPR provided a usable and user centric look and feel through existing corporate branding standards to fit in a SharePoint environment. SPR built a site template to be used for creating sites that are secured to a project team for collaboration across a common “open” or “closed” community. We also developed an innovation management workflow that takes in ideas and routes them through the manufacturer’s stage gate process. Furthermore, we provided a series of views into their PLM system data that allows non-users to view structured data stored within the system. This information is exposed through structured views and SharePoint search. A prominent search with detailed people profile allows people to easily find experts. Finally, we defined policies that might include a published information access and retention policy along with policies related to establishing and maintaining sites, custom workflows and other content.