Hoshin Planning

Hoshin Kanri loosely translates as “the management of objectives” or “compass management” and is often used interchangeably with Hoshin planning. As a part of the lean manufacturing family, Hoshin is a goal centered strategy that relies on a catchball planning system in which management and employees discuss ideas and company needs together. It is also seen as using a top-down approach where management must pass down the finalized goals to its employees for everyone’s understanding. This helps foster clear complete mutual understanding between the layers of management and employees since accomplishing specific goals have to be interpreted the same way between all parties to be successful.

Hoshin Kanri helps prevent any sort of confusion, bad behavior, and unintended consequences. When used correctly, Hoshin serves as a connection between both strategy and execution by creating a more focused and involved body of workers. It also helps with minimizing the production of waste as that comes from inconsistent direction and poor communication.

Hoshin Planning in 7 Steps

The seven steps that hoshin follows are:

  1. Establish a company wide organizational vision
  2. Develop large scale objectives/goalsHoshin Planning X Matrix
  3. Develop annual objectives/goals
  4. Deploy annual objectives/goals
  5. Put into action those annual objectives
  6. Review monthly
  7. Review annually

What is the Hoshin Kanri X Matrix? 

When applying this strategy to the workplace, employers often use the X-Matrix to lay out responsibilities and short-term goals that add to the overall company vision. It is laid out as a compass (like the direct translation of Hoshin Kanri). This helps to prioritize the company’s needs in a clear format for everyone to understand.

Simply put, using the Hoshin strategy is useful because it creates a reasonable timeline for goal completion as well as day to day task completion. The trick is to make sure there aren’t too many companywide goals to accomplish as that spreads the company too thin and makes goals harder to finish. Rather, large goals are broken up into smaller tasks that are more achievable by a weekly or monthly basis.


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