In April, 2009 the Visual Display Division of Samsung Electronics' Digital Media Business had just completed work on a ground breaking high-resolution LED TV. The company was vigorously engaged in a massive campaign to announce this remarkable product, which was expected to take the global TV market by storm. The Visual Display Division was poised to take a well deserved breather from the marathon development and production phases of this landmark project and take a moment to bask in the glory of their achievement. Shortly, they came to understand why it is often said that no good deed goes unpunished. The Division was blindsided by the call to initiate a new mission. Samsung management issued an edict: The Visual Display Division will roll out full-HD 3DTV within a year. There was no time to waste resting on their laurels, it was time for the division to get cracking .... again.
Korea's Hyundai IT had developed a 3DTV in 2007 and Sony was making systemic preparations to beat Samsung Electronics to the market with a 3DTV of their own. There was little doubt that Samsung Electronics was playing catch-up. The best and the brightest of relevant departments were assembled to staff the new mission. Two task forces, identified as C7000 and C8000, were immediately established. The task forces dusted off the results of studies on 3D that were conducted over the past several years and began to give them a fresh look.
At this time Samsung Electronics’ knowledge management system (KMS), called the Test and Error Management System, or TEMS, was called upon to play a key role in the project. TEMS, which is known by Samsung electronics engineers as the "treasure chest", contains all information related to each step of Samsung Electronics' product development. The one-year process of developing 3DTV is also enshrined in TEMS, as is to be expected. In fact, in addition to the stellar efforts of the highly committed team in the Visual Display Division, it was Samsung Electronics’ knowledge management system that was responsible for closing the gulf between them and their rivals and making it happen in just one year.
In his book, Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Peter Drucker noted "The 21st century is a knowledge-based society, where knowledge workers are the most important factor of production. In other words, conventional economics' production factors, the 4Ms - Man, Machine, Material and Method - will be replaced by workers armed with knowledge. Thus, management of knowledge workers will form the foundation of corporate management."
As the technology of TV has evolved to deliver HD 3DTV, so has the methodology of producing world-class products and maintaining a competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Samsung demonstrated in practice what Drucker proposed in this book, that by leveraging the value of their KMS, they were able to achieve the goal of HD 3DTV in a year. This is a fact that is surely not lost on their rivals.