The concept of Hoshin Kanri provides clarity and focus to an organization, by aligning strategic goals through all levels of an organization. It creates an organic flow of information which runs through an organization, where goals run down from management, through the mid-level operation to the production floor. In return, the flow reverses and the production floors provides resulting actionable data flowing up through mid-level operations to management, thus providing alignment.
Taking the first step of implementing Hoshin Kanri begins with developing long-range strategic goals for the organization. A good rule of thumb is to limit the strategic goals applied to five or less to be truly effective. It also allows the focus of energy and resources on what efforts are most important to the organization. Remember, if everything is important, then nothing is important. They should also be either evolutionary or revolutionary. Evolutionary is incremental achievements through continuous improvement. Revolutionary is all about taking big strides, making breakthrough changes with dramatic scope. Both types of goals are crucial to the life of an organization.
The next step would be to develop the tactics for implementing the goals identified. This step is the purview of middle management operations. They are the experts at implementing and allocating resources. There should be a respectable period of thoughtful back and forth between management and mid-level management to ensure goals are clearly understood and that there is a strong alignment between tactics and goals. Over time, tactics can be adjusted and should be, as things changes. Results must be measured and calibrated.
In the final stage, production operations at the supervisory and team levels work out the details on strategy and clearly understand the strategic goals. This is where the action takes place and success will be measured. Management and leaders must stay connected with actions being implemented, mainly through Gemba walks and monitoring of production data flowing up from the production floor.
The flow created with Hoshin Kanri closes loops and ensures focus, clarity and highly efficient operations. It allows organizations to be agile and flex to changing situations in an efficient manner.
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