Knowledge Management – A Challenge For Smaller-Sized Enterprises

Today success and worth of a business depend more on its intellectual capital than on its physical. Therefore, Knowledge Management (KM), has become a critical input in the growth of SMEs. Globalization of supply chains, rapid technological advances, and superior returns on intellectual capital, growing importance of knowledge-intensive industries make KM a strategic tool in the growth and success of businesses. Access and integration of SMEs with regional, national and international supply chains require bridging the gaps between the requirements of supply chains and efficiency of SMEs' KM system besides their capability. KM process involves: knowledge capture, knowledge organizing and storage, distribution and sharing. Successful knowledge management results in the best possible means to apply and leverage the knowledge that has been captured, organized and stored, distributed and shared. It means that very little of the company's highly valued intellectual capital has escaped the knowledge management net. Virtually all the knowledge within the enterprise is harnessed, and will be used as part of the company's core business and competitive intelligence strategy. KM-enabled SMEs are essential for competitive and sustainable growth. In developing countries, a vast majority of SMEs are suffering from market failures due to insufficient provision for integrated, reliable, relevant and solution-oriented business information. SMEs need support for effective linking with global markets both for their inputs and outputs. Businesses leveraging knowledge resources can make decisions faster and closer to point of action. It is obvious that the smaller-sized company also needs to capture and intelligently exploit its knowledge.

1. Introduction : In contemporary knowledge-based society, where organizational environment is changing at a rapid pace, information and knowledge to promote innovation are the keys to competitiveness and success. The goal of Industries is to attain a competitive knowledge-based society adapting quickly to the demands of the knowledge society and the needs for an improved level of quality of employment. To move ahead, an integrated knowledge network and information super-highway for SMEs that links all relevant national and international information sources become basic necessity. To enable SMEs to keep pace and alignment with the dynamism of knowledge-based economy, promotional, developmental and financing institutions, industry associations, chamber of commerce etc. have to commit resources and assistance to make the KM strategy tangible and economically viable. The gaps in knowledge management are affecting investment in the sector. Low capital accumulation affects employment generation, long-term  competitiveness, production capability and SMEs' access and integration into globalizes supply chains. These require substantial investment. The world over it is the SMEs which play a major role in innovation, revitalization of economy and creation of new jobs, but propelling SME-growth in India requires a sound Knowledge Management strategy for the sector.

2. Knowledge Management: The emergence of interest for Knowledge Management (KM), lies in the confluence of many factors and aspects, which bring all branches of knowledge to the fore including historical, intellectual/philosophical, economic, technological and cultural areas [Despres and Chauvel, 2000:4]. Little, Quintas and Ray