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The word Hoshin, in Japanese, translates literally to mean ”Shining Metal”. In the context of Strategic Planning, the shining metal is the needle of a compass, which is pointing the strategic direction for an Organization to pursue. Organizations can only effectively focus on a small number of “breakthrough” initiatives at one time. Hoshin is a disciplined team process allowing the team to identify the true “Breakthrough” opportunities for their Organization. Planning and implementation is done utilizing the inherent organizational knowledge of the team as well as factual data. Implementation and results are measured to ensure success.

The process begins with a vision of the future 3 – 5 years forward. The next step is for the planning team to develop innovative ideas about the steps taken to achieve the goal. Typically 200 – 300 ideas are generated at this stage. These ideas are then grouped into specific strategies. The strategies are then analyzed using three Hoshin “tools”: The Interrelationship Digraph, The Gap Analysis, and the Criteria Matrix. All of these tools or mechanisms encourage lively discussion and debate, enabling the planning team to reach a clear consensus.

Cross-functional teams are then formed to further investigate the viability of each strategy and to flesh - out an action plan if appropriate. The full planning team then meets to review and approve the final strategies and action plans. Once the plan is completed, the Action Teams may be augmented with additional members, and these teams then begin to implement their strategies. The full planning team meets regularly to review and measure progress on each initiative, and to make any adjustments in the plan that are needed.

Hoshin Results

The Organizations that we have worked with have shown dramatic results including:

  • An increase in international sales of over 200% for a major manufacturer
  • Savings of $1,000, 000 in operational costs reinvested in new product development
  • A doubling of the number of annual customers for an Organization’s services
  • A new Artistic Design for a major Arts Organization
  • The uniting of four independent organizational groups, into a singular powerful team
  • The use of Hoshin to achieve an important agreement with a supplier

Is Hoshin Planning a good tool for your Organization?

  • If you are looking for a process which will focus your Organization
  • If you are looking for participation in planning from all levels of your Organization
  • If you are looking for a strategic plan that will not just sit on the shelf
  • If you are want to achieve “Breakthrough Results” 

Then your Organization is a good candidate to benefit from Hoshin Planning.

Bob Stearns, CEO (724) 933-3935

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