Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri means direction management, but is more usually expressed in English as policy deployment. As you might guess it is a Japanese methodology based on a concept popularised in Japan in the late 1950’s by Professor Yoji Akao and turned into a book in 1991, ‘ Hoshin Kanri: Policy Deployment for Successful TQM’.

The discipline of hoshin kanri is intended to help an organisation:

  • Focus on a shared goal.
  • Communicate that goal to all leaders.
  • Involve all leaders in planning to achieve the goal.
  • Hold participants accountable for achieving their part of the plan.

It assumes daily controls and performance measures are in place: “With hoshin kanri… the daily crush of events and quarterly bottom-line pressures do not take precedence over strategic plans; rather, these short-term activities are determined and managed by the plans themselves.”

There are 7 steps in Hoshin Kanri planning:

  1. Identify the key business issues facing the organisation.
  2. Establish measurable business objectives that address these issues.
  3. Define the overall vision and goals.
  4. Develop supporting strategies for pursuing the goals.
  5. Determine the tactics and objectives that facilitate each strategy.
  6. Implement performance measures for every business process.
  7. Measure business fundamentals.

Top support the process there is a standardised set of reports, known as tables, which are used by managers and work teams to assess performance. Each table includes:

  • A header, showing the author and scope of the plan
  • The situation, to give meaning to the planned items
  • The objective (what is to be achieved)
  • Milestones that will show when the objective is achieved
  • Strategies for how the objectives are achieved
  • Measures to check that the strategies are being achieved

Hoshin tables types:

  • Hoshin review table: During reviews, plans are presented in the form of standardised hoshin review tables, each of which shows a single objective and its supporting strategies.
  • Strategy implementation table: Implementation plans are used to identify the tactics or action plans needed to accomplish each strategy.
  • Business fundamentals table (BFT): Business fundamentals, or the basic elements that define the success of a key business process, are monitored through its corresponding metrics. Examples of business fundamentals are safety, people, quality, responsiveness, or cost.
  • Annual planning table (APT): Record the organisations objectives and strategies in the annual planning table. The APT is then passed down to the next organisational structure.

The implementation plan usually requires coordination both within and between departments and process owners.

If you would like to discuss how to apply Hoshin Kanri to your Product Development process, then  please contact us.