Know-how in companies refers to special knowledge, e.g.
- in the development and construction of products
- in a rational, cost-effective production
- in dealing with complicated materials
- in marketing and sales
- in the ICT sector (networks, software, information systems, Internet, etc.)
- Inventions and patents
- special management techniques.
Know-how becomes an asset of a company when it is valuable, rare, durable and difficult to imitate or substitute and - as a decisive criterion - the company is able to convert this resource base into performance potential and use it.
Know-how is an intangible resource and is classified as "human resources" and is often considered a trade secret that is worthy of protection. In this respect, transparency towards competitors, customers and business partners may need to be restricted.
When it comes to corporate value, know-how is also expressed in “goodwill”.

See also:
Human capital; age management; process optimization; quality management; continuing education; knowledge management; employee competence; open innovation
Reference to QET guidelines:
Q01 Management skills; Q03 Leadership; Q04 Employees; Q15 Processes; Q17 Learning organisation; Q18 Innovation; Q20 CIP
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