Your three-minute guide to Hoshin Kanri
Hoshin Kanri, Hoshin Planning, Policy Deployment, Strategic Deployment and Goal Deployment are different names for the same concept—a business method that links an organization’s daily activities to its strategic goals.
Hoshin Kanri originated in Japan in the 1950s and became a widely adopted Japanese business practice throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The two words—“hoshin” and “kanri”—combine to mean “managing the direction of policy”. While Hoshin Kanri is widely associated with mainly Japanese manufacturers, the method has been increasingly adopted by US companies since the late-1980s.
Hoshin Kanri, or Policy Deployment as it’s often called, provides a framework for linking strategy with action—a cascading alignment of strategy, metrics and action plans. Think of it this way: In a “usual” business scenario, an organization’s strategic goals are set by upper-management. Only a few people, those at the very top of the company hierarchy, understand what the company’s long-term objectives are. In extreme cases, strategic plans are treated like top secret documents, locked away in the CEO’s filing cabinet. Meanwhile, the rest of the company are diligently doing their job, performing tasks and completing actions. But are those actions aligned with the company’s strategic goals? A potential disconnect between goals and actions means that while an organization might be busy, it might not be busy working towards its strategic objectives.
Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment is a process that helps turn the company vision and strategy into results through action. It provides a system of accountability for selecting, aligning, prioritizing, measuring and monitoring breakthrough initiatives that make significant sustainable changes. With Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment every employee, from the president to the janitor, becomes responsible for doing their part in achieving the company’s strategic goals.
The advantage of tying strategy to metrics and action is that it also compels the company to generate a theoretical model about how it will achieve its goals. The measurement and assessment of metrics allows the company to incrementally test its theoretical model: “If we do x, y should occur in z timeframe”. If y does not occur, it suggests that an assumption is incorrect. The tight connection between strategy, metrics and action allows for continuous cycles of measurement, review and adjustment.
Tim Jeffer, Wingspan’s practice leader for Process and Performance, has witnessed the power of Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment first-hand. Tim spent 20 years in senior management with companies such as Honeywell/Allied Signal, Danaher, and Ingersoll Rand, where he earned Six Sigma and Lean Black Belts, and became a master in Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment. Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment is highly compatible with Kaizen (continuous improvement), Lean, and Six Sigma philosophies, but it may also be adopted as a method unto itself. Wingspan’s Vinny Yakoobian has 15 years experience utilizing Hoshin Kanri, including having developed the goal deployment process for Ingersoll Rand. Vinny explains, “Companies often take time to build a good strategy and then, at the end of the month, expect to see good results. But they’re often disappointed. It’s the middle part—action—that they forget to execute well. Linking strategy to results—that’s what Hoshin Kanri is all about.”
Tim Jeffer is a product of Danaher’s rigorous Danaher Business System, the foundation of Danaher’s high-performance culture—a system that sustained decades of business growth and expansion. Tim has implemented Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment methodology across a broad range of business units and industrial contexts. “The power of Hoshin Kanri Policy Deployment,” explains Tim, “lies in its ability to create cause-and-effect connections between strategy and action. Instead of creating a strategy document that sits in the president’s desk drawer, management communicates the company’s goals to the entire organization. Each department agrees what it needs to achieve, and each employee commits to certain actions. It’s a cascading affect that takes into account people, process and performance.”
Wingspan Performance Advisors are Hoshin Kanri facilitators. Working with your leadership team and your company’s vision and priorities, Wingspan Performance Advisors will help you to focus on and cascade strategic initiatives throughout your organization. We will help you to develop clear priorities and define metrics that accurately measure progress towards your goals. We will identify and document the resources that will be necessary for you to accomplish actions.
During deployment, we work with your people at every level of your organization, ensuring that the actions of every employee are linked to the company’s strategic goals. Every department and person will be assigned specific actions that support your organization’s objectives. We will help you set up scorecards, monitor progress and address any shortfalls with countermeasures that eliminate the root cause of failure.
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