Capturing and transferring knowledge at ArcelorMittal Ghent

Employees are rightly referred to as “Human Capital” or “Human Resources”. They are barrels full of knowledge, and are retiring in droves due to the aging of the labor market. It is important that all their valuable insights and experiences are not simply lost. With this in mind, Flow successfully carried out a knowledge management project at ArcelorMittal in Zelzate (Ghent).

As an employee in a company, you gather specific knowledge and job experience. You first start by following procedures based on manuals and explanations from colleagues. Over time, these standard procedures become routines, and you develop an increasingly higher level of complex knowledge that combines information, insights, finer points and skills from different sources.

Apply all of this to the industrial context at ArcelorMittal in Ghent, and you have ample reason for capturing the accumulated knowledge of employees with over 40 years of experience before they retire.

Knowledge management in practice

That is exactly what our colleague Natascha has done in recent years in her collaboration with Freddy. At the age of 18, he started as an electrician in the traveling cranes department at what was then Sidmar (now ArcelorMittal) in Zelzate. Gradually, he worked his way up to foreman, and in that role he converted the first overhead cranes from classic rotor control to drive controls.

During the last years of his career, he worked in a more supportive role and provided training. In addition to effectively transferring his knowledge to his colleagues, he also put some of his own knowledge on paper. Jokingly, the colleagues said: “We should plug a USB stick into Freddy’s head and copy everything.”

We should plug a USB stick into Freddy’s head and copy everything.

And that is more or less what Natascha did: capture the knowledge of Freddy through interviews and handwritten documents and safeguard it in a structured way. Among other things, Natascha and Freddy developed a four-day training manual on drifting controls, which was used as a guideline during the training course. They also drew up documents, work regulations and troubleshooting guides.

In Freddy’s words

What did Freddy think about the collaboration with Flow? “Brilliant, the documents that Natascha prepared have a consistent and usable layout. Safety always comes first in the procedures, and the structure and photos ensure that the documents are legible and usable, even for people who only occasionally encounter these very specific situations.” About Natascha: “My experience with her was very positive. She has a technical background and is very good with IT. She quickly understood the instructions that I explained, so we could make efficient progress. So, kudos to Natascha!”

Do you also have colleagues with valuable knowledge and experience? Don’t wait too long to start (scheduling) knowledge transfer. Flow can get you started or help you from start to finish. Discover our knowledge management approach.