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Hoshin Kanri Strategies

If you’re looking for a way to help your organization adapt, innovate, and align its actions with strategic goals, the Hoshin Kanri methodology for setting and managing strategic direction can help you do just that.

With Hoshin Kanri, you envision an ideal future for your business and then develop strategies to bring that vision to life.

Ever heard of Plan-Do-Check-Act, or PDCA? Just like Hoshin Kanri, it’s a dynamic approach that focuses on continuous improvement. In fact, Hoshin Kanri maps to the various stages of the PDCA cycle.

Let’s break it down. In the plan phase, you assess and define the problems your organization is facing. When troubleshooting a problem, it helps to determine the root cause. Figure out why the problem exists and then develop a strategy for dealing with it. Consider the management team of a specialty coffee shop who decide to implement Hoshin Kanri in an effort to boost sales.

During the plan phase, they identify the problem of losing customers who are put off by long queues. Why is the waiting period so long? There aren’t enough coffee machines to process multiple orders at once. The team reviews the budget and decides to purchase an additional machine.

In the do phase, you implement the strategy identified during planning. In the coffee shop example, the do phase involves purchasing and installing a new coffee machine.

Now it’s time to assess if what you’ve planned and implemented is working — the check phase. The management team discovers the wait time has gone down and sales are up, but they think there’s still room for improvement. They notice some staff speed through the orders while others work slowly, constantly checking the recipe cards.

What you do in the act phase depends on the outcome of the check phase. If your strategy was successful, then standardize it. If your strategy didn’t achieve what you hoped for, you’ll need to identify corrective actions for improving it. This takes you back to the start of the cycle, where you plan to address the problem.

In the coffee shop example, during the act phase, the management team decides to plan a strategy to improve the slower baristas’ speed and efficiency — ultimately boosting profits and customer satisfaction.