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An autopoietic approach for building knowledge management systems in manufacturing enterprises

: Thannhuber, M.; Tseng, M.M.; Bullinger, H.-J.


CIRP Annals. Manufacturing Technology 50 (2001), Nr.1, S.313-318
ISSN: 0007-8506
Fraunhofer IAO ()

This paper discusses a new understanding of knowledge at the enterprise level, which proposes to regard knowledge as a natural concept to cope with dynamic changes of market demand, process design, capabilities in diverse locations, and associated fluctuations in internal process adaptations. Knowledge is considered as a natural concept driving system behaviour. Instead of focusing on individual human knowledge, we identify the ability of an enterprise to dynamically derive processes to meet the external needs and internal stability as the organisational knowledge. Based on this approach, a new knowledge management system has been developed. It consists of two key components: The "Declarative Processing Environment", which allows processes to be assembled goal-driven from a pool of process building blocks and the "Autopoietic Framework" that mimics natural organisms to adapt to environmental changes, new capabilities and new technology. The framework continuously improves the pool of available process building blocks and their selection. Manufacturing applications such as process planning and supply chain management have been particularly suitable for applying this new approach.