Knowledge Management

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San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Preserves Expertise with Better Knowledge Management CASE STUDY

A major challenge facing many companies and organizations is the imminent retirement of baby boomers. For certain organizations, this challenge is more daunting than usual, not only because of a larger spike in employee retirements, but also because of the business process change that must accompany significant shifts in any workforce. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) was one such organization. SFPUC is a department of the city and county of San Francisco that provides water, wastewater, and municipal power services to the city. SFPUC has four major divisions: Regional Water, Local Water, Power, and Wastewater (collection, treatment, and disposal of water). The organization has over 2,000 employees and serves 2.4 million customers in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It is the third largest municipal utility in California. SFPUC's Power division provides electricity to the city and county of San Francisco, including power used to operate electric streetcars and buses; the Regional and Local Water departments supply some of the purest drinking water in the world to San Francisco and neighboring Santa Clara and San Mateo counties; and the Wastewater division handles flushed and drained water to significantly reduce pollution in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. The mission of this organization is to provide San Francisco and its Bay Area customers with reliable, high-quality, affordable water and wastewater treatment while efficiently and responsibly managing human, physical, and natural resources. SFPUC expected that a significant portion of its employees--about 20 percent--would retire in 2009. To make matters worse, the majority of these positions were technical, which meant that the training of new employees would be more complicated, and maintaining knowledge of the retiring workers would be critical to all areas of SFPUC's

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