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Understanding Hoshin Kanri

There are a number of methods used to improve production and to contribute to a stronger manufacturing plant. One method that many companies are using is known as Hoshin Kanri. What is Hoshin Kanri? It is a planning method that is used to help an organization define short-term and long-term objectives. Depending upon your company these objectives could be financial in nature or they could be about reducing waste or other things. For most organizations Hoshin Kanri will provide objectives that are aimed at a 2-5 year period.

Many companies have multiple objectives, causing the organization to have some level of dysfunction. Using Hoshin Kanri will enable everyone within the organization to be on the same page and to focus on meeting the same objective. Top management needs to be responsible for the planning and implementation.

Unlike other manufacturing methodologies, Hoshin Kanri is one of the programs that uses actual business plans and other things to define the objectives. Senior leaders will need to conduct a review of the various internal and external factors that can have a large impact on your company's long-term plans. Although there are other manufacturing programs that do use this type of relevant information, Hoshin Kanri is one of the programs that does focus more on the upcoming business issues and helping to predict additional issues.

Reference points are created with Hoshin Kanri, helping business leaders to properly strategize. There will be short-term and long-term goals and one known as the annual stretch goal. This goal can greatly impact the organization once the company is able to reach the goal as you will see an increase in production along with a decrease in wastes and other costs.

Each person will have a timetable for the various outcomes and there will be a series of metrics that are used in order to help measure progress. Here are some specifics regarding the completion timetable along with completion details:
- When you use a Hoshin plan you will have several hierarchical objectives. These are used to help you achieve the larger goal as you have a series of multiple objectives that allow you to understand the steps that need to be followed in order to make a difference. Every sub-objective used for Hoshin Kanri will need to have a series of metrics as well in order to have the right timetable for completion.
- One of the sub-objectives will be the catchball process. This is the stage where you have information sharing within the various departments. This helps to get communication working effectively between the departments, allowing everyone to have the best approach possible.
- Communicating the objectives. The next step is to work on getting everyone within the organization to understand the tactics that need to be used to achieve the goals. In many cases you will have individuals that turn to continuous process control in order to make the right impact.
- Monitoring - this is another phase of Hoshin that helps to show reviews and other things that need to be conducted in order to provide correct results. In some companies it may need to be a monthly report where others can get by with a quarterly report. Detailed plans may require you to come up with daily reviews.
- Meetings - to keep everyone on the same page you need to have regular meetings. These meetings need to be held with the senior leaders of the company and all issues need to be properly addressed and plans initiated to fix the problems.

Hoshin is a great long-term solution for the company and will help to point you in the right direction to save money and decrease wastes.

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