There is no denying in the fact that it is very valuable to possess a system to harmonize various organizational parts and keep them on the right track. ‘Hoshin Kanri’ is one such system which was developed by the Japanese in the 1960s and ’70s. Hoshin Kanri which is also known as Hoshin Process is a beneficial process for work management leading to a significant strategic initiative (a Hoshin). This system aligns every part of the organization to achieve a key objective.
Strategic Hoshin Planning
First of all, the main critical phase for an effective Hoshin planning is to have a discussion with the leadership team and the required executives in order to form your strategic plan. Basically, it starts with a strategic plan which is usually decided by the top level management on annual basis. It is important to know that the goals must be within limits like 5 goals or a lesser amount as best practice. These goals must be concentrated on effectiveness, and all management levels must approve them to make certain they are realistic and attainable. When these goals have been established by the top level management with their agreement, it depends on the middle managers to design tactics that will bring about the best solutions to accomplish these goals. Most importantly, for making sure that the set goals and tactics are convincing in a practical way, as well as well agreed by every business level the key element is effective communication.
Furthermore, one aspect that makes Hoshin planning stand out from a lot of other strategic planning approaches is ‘Catchball’. Basically, this term is used to define the notion of throwing ideas backward and forward for the sake of having proper and desirable alignment. We can say that the top level management will present three- to five-year key organizational goals. When they have decided, they will discuss them with the lower-level managers regarding those goals, who will in turn discuss those goals with their teams. In this way it is possible to have a feedback mechanism which facilitates in getting approval across the business entity.
An additional component which is distinctive to Hoshin planning is known as ‘Gemba’. The term Gemba means going to the factory floor and pursuing the implementation of the set key goals along with the initiatives. The main rationale behind this is being associated to the incorporation of the Hoshin plan. In this respect, managers should continuously assess by what means the ideas are being incorporated at the ground floor and catchball in the process to collect feedback.
Now it is important to consider that that if there is no factory floor, while thinking about gemba process, think about what it would mean for the leadership team being there in the front lines within the activities of your organization. It may perhaps mean devoting time with the sales representatives or the software development team. However it must be defined clearly as it concerns the organization and the definition must be designed in a way that can be understood by both the leaders and front-line employees. In addition to that, it is very important to make the required adjustments. To some extent, it can be assumed that all mentioned steps deal with collecting feedback. Nevertheless, all the efforts to do so are useless if they are not utilized purposefully. So it is of paramount value to make sure that required adjustments are made in order to keep the short-term and long-term initiatives