Why You Need a Wiki in Your Manufacturing ERP Software

Why you need a wiki in your ERP systemWhat is a wiki and why do you need it? The description is easy: A wiki is a website developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content. Why do you need it in the system of record (such as enterprise resource planning software) for your company? The answer to this question requires a short in-depth explanation.

First, I want to give credit where credit is due: Ward Cunningham invented the first wiki website and “the WikiWikiWeb machinery that operates it” in 1995! Cunningham “chose wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for ‘quick’ and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web.”  Since I like to say wiki rather than quick-web, I’m glad he took naming his new gadget so seriously.

When unstructured data like wikis are embedded directly in the working environment, your company can become a learning organization that retains the wisdom and collective decisions of executives, managers and employees in a comprehensible and actionable format.

For example, within IQMS’ EnterpriseIQ wiki tool, users may collaborate on the use of the software and a specific form, develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be used within that form and keep a running history of the SOP as it’s being modified and developed. Anyone with rights to the wiki may add additional steps, comments, links, etc. from right within the EnterpriseIQ software.

Document control is important, and for a lot of documents, you should use workflows to ensure the proper personnel and departments sign off on critical documents. The difference between document control and a wiki is that a wiki doesn’t require workflows, allowing quick and collaborative changes to SOPs that may change monthly or even weekly as all of us in manufacturing work to become more lean and agile.

One consistent principal of lean initiatives is that the SOPs and documentation change over time as processes and practices within the organization change. It is necessary to record how things are done and why they are done that way. The wiki format automates the lean mandate to document process change leaving a full history of when and how the process was changed as well as the results after the change.

Knowledge sharing is another enticing aspect of utilizing a wiki. This can include information on where your auxiliary equipment is stored in the plant to how to “fix” the copier when IT isn’t around to how to gain access to the Employee Portal so payroll doesn’t have to keep reminding personnel how to reprint their direct deposit pay stubs. Plus everything else you can think of or haven’t yet thought of. This allows your enterprise to become a learning organization and in a practical sense, allows you to avoid making the same mistake more than once.

IQMS developed its wiki access to foster information flow within an organization and allows distributed teams to work together seamlessly and productively as it eliminates the one-webmaster syndrome of outdated intranet content.

What are some of the ways your organization might use a wiki?

Tina Jolicoeur, IQMS Director of Quality Assurance, previously worked for 15 years in the telecommunications field. Tina is responsible for growing and cultivating IQMS' quality assurance department.