Re: Knowledge Databases LO1914 was: Intro -- Ian Hosking LO

Barry Mallis (
3 Jul 1995 10:05:44 -0400

Reply to: RE>>Intro -- Ian Hosking LO1894

To Iris Tiemessen, about recording what has been tried as one aspect of
knowledge in a company.


Right. There are two streams of record, I think, one flowing next to the
other. (I'm reminded of two streams I once saw in the mountains, one
flowing hot from a volcano-heated spring, the other ice cold from melting
snows, both streams less then ten yards apart...but enough).

One stream is the knowledge repository of experience which informs the
exercise of skill. The other stream is the application of of explicit
procedures and work instructions to tasks (I refer to manufacturing here).
My company last week received word that it had achieved ISO 9001
certification after two years of very difficult work. At 84 years of age,
this privately-held, family-owned business underwent the greatest cultural
change in its history, because ALL of the processes which affect product
and services were documented and/or recorded. That had not existed

While my company encompasses both discrete and flow process (often
coinciding for the same customer order), small companies you mention can
use the internaional standard to improve certain aspects of their work on
behalf of the customer--to guarantee the consistency of product and

Within the ISO standard there is room to manuever and learn. I must tell
you and the others on this list that the process of learning on the way
toward receiving and maintaining certification has been very revelatory
for most all the 750 people who fall under the 20 elements of the
standard. I'd be happy to discuss this more.

Barry Mallis
Total Quality Resource Manager
MARKEM Corporation
Keene, NH