Strategic planning is somewhat of a broad term used in business, but simply speaking it is an organizational management process used to set priorities, improve operations, and ensure everyone within the organization is working toward the same common goals. Going through the strategic planning process will help companies make fundamental decisions and major changes based on their specific situation and the vision of the company. The process of strategic planning includes setting goals, identifying the actions needed to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions.

There are a number of frameworks and methodologies for strategic planning and management but in Lean manufacturing, a specific and popular method is Hoshin Kanri. Hoshin Planning can be effectively implemented in many different types of industries and provides a framework for getting every employee on the same page with the organization’s vision. When implementing Hoshin Kanri, it is important to remember it is a top-down strategy. It begins with a team of high-level managers establishing a strategic plan by looking at the company’s long-term goals and determining how they can be accomplished.

When setting the goals of a company, high-level managers should remember to not go overboard. In order to stay focused, the more limited the list of goals is, the better. A common rule of thumb is to choose five (or fewer) of the most important goals to focus on. This will help the organization focus and prioritize on what is at hand in order to accomplish the goals. The gals should be broad enough to be impactful on the company, but specific enough it can be achieved.

Mid-level management is then added to the strategic planning process. They will be given the responsibility of developing the tactics that will be used to reach their goals. Depending on their role or department, managers will come up with what will need to be done in their area to help reach the long-term goals of the organization. The plan is then taken to the employees of the frontline employees, those who will be actually implementing the tactics or changes.

Communication is absolutely critical to a successful strategic planning. In order for frontline workers to most effectively carry out the actions needed, they should understand why these actions are happening. When everyone is on the same page in knowing the big picture of the company, it is much more likely policies and changes will be effective.

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