Hoshin Kanri first appeared in the late 1960s, since than it has become a management system for companies to establish annual policy, pass it down through their hierarchy and implement it across all departments and functions. Hoshin Kanri is a powerful tool that can help organizations shape their futures instead of just reacting to internal or external influences. The method can keep organizations on track with what they have identified as important and keep them focused on the best use of resources to reach their goals. The most effective way to get the future you want is to envision this future and continually take steps towards it.
Hoshin Kanri is different from what most people think of as strategic planning. It goes far beyond the typical strategic planning process and implementation. The major factor that makes Hoshin Kanri a successful methodology is because of its impact on all the four important aspects of the business.
It is very important for a company to focus on few vital goals rather that spread its focus thinly across trivial many. Hoshin Kanri process evolves Vision, mission, values and identifies 3-5 years breakthrough goals by nurturing the aspirational needs of the business. In order to achieve the breakthrough goals the company team has to evolve strategic pointers called the Strategic Thrust Areas (STAs). These are the stepping stones towards realization of the company’s aspirational goals. Thus the methodology impacts the organizational thinking process through the planning phase.
The focus of the methodology is to create alignment of the whole management team towards the breakthrough objectives. The alignment is created by engaging the management team from the planning process itself. Once the vision, mission and breakthrough goals are evolved as a part of a process they are communicated to all managers and staff. There is huge scope for leadership in Hoshin Kanri process and at every stage of the methodology leaders are nurtured throughout the hierarchy.
In the words of Sun Tzu a military strategist and philosopher who lived before 2000-2500 years in ancient China- “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The troops are to be aligned with the overall strategy with scope of being tactical. Annual objectives, action plans under each STAs are crafted for each department and team members. The processes to achieve the desired goals under each STAs are well defined. Cross functional co-operation is encouraged by creating participative forums for review and recognition. Thus a synergistic system is created towards aspirational goals.
In the words of William Rogers an American stage and motion picture actor- “Even if you are on the right track you will run over if you just sit there.” There is no scope for the team to sit on action plans as there are monthly, quarterly and half yearly review system in-build in the methodology itself. Due to this review mechanism the team becomes accountable hence expecting best results is by default.