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Plan and execute strategy with vertical and horizontal alignment 


HOSHIN is the process to align an organization’s functions and activities with its strategic objectives through a specific plan, with precise goals, actions, timelines, responsibilities, and measures. It starts as a top-down process as the lean transformation is initiated. Once the major goals are set, it should become a top-down and bottom-up process involving a dialogue between senior managers and project teams about the resources and time both available and needed to achieve the targets.




The dialogue takes place at GEMBA, a management practice for grasping the current situation through direct observation and inquiry from the place where value is being created, and NEMAWASHI, a process of gaining acceptance and preapproval for a proposal by evaluating first the idea and then the plan with management and stakeholders to get input, anticipate resistance, and align the proposed change with other perspectives and priorities in the organization.

HOSHIN implies ‘DIRECTION". Professor, Yoji Akao, had conceived this methodology, which ensures that every employee is pulling in the same direction, at the same time, to achieve the strategic goals of a company. In the process, it eliminates the waste that comes from inconsistent direction and poor communication.

THE GOAL OF HOSHIN is to identify necessary and achievable business improvement required and engage people across the functions to effect positive changes across the organization. Every part of the organization proposes actions to their seniors for what they are going to improve, in their zone of influence, to support the overall business.

Strategic plans, developed at the top, with no feedback from lower levels about the resources available or the conflicts between the strategic plans and the pre-existing budgeting and management performance systems with their KPIs are bound to fail. So, in our approach different levels of management make plans jointly to solve the business problems. At the strategic level, top management team work with managers; at department level, managers work with the group leaders; at process level, team and group leaders engage with front line workers. The leaders are continuously encouraged to create a common understanding of the issues, to ask for countermeasures, and to mentor people on possible solutions. 

Mostly managements struggle to introduce the complex planning systems on strategy deployment:


Such plans are often based on illusions. It must be simpler and more effective. Hoshin is based on simple and visual measurement of current performance levels which everyone must understand. A persuasive simple story is developed for each plan specifying a way to solve it. This specific way is nothing but the A3 management. Learning and mastering the art of A3 management is key to Hoshin. Click to learn more on A3 Mgmt.

A plan often does not produce the expected results on expected lines; therefore, adjustment is inevitable and must be a continuous process. Often organizations are weak in adjustment. Hoshin with human touch is an essential success factor in any organization. Everyone is engaged in learning and experimentation to make improvements. This harnesses people's creativity to provide superior results. Hoshin is more of a social process and less technical. Those who treat it as a technical stereo type and a format-based process, invite failures. 

The model shown below, takes you on a journey to help you focus on organization's most important goals and engage into vertical and horizontal dialogue. It helps all in the organization to see the real problems and develop synergy and collaboration. Along the way, everyone starts looking for facts.

Hoshin Deployment Model With A3 and PDCA

A  good visual communication model is essential for people to discuss and arrive at a quicker conclusion, rather than get into endless arguments and debates. understand the concepts. Without up-to-date information all work becomes useless. The Oobeya concept has been found very useful in coordination, communication and maintaining accountability to the highest level. A visual model of Oobeya is shown here.


Change is inevitable:

New customer groups or purchase occasions arise; new needs emerge as societies evolve; new distribution channels appear; new technologies are developed; new machinery or information systems become available. When such changes happen, new entrants, unencumbered by a long history in the industry, can often more easily perceive the potential for a new way of competing. Unlike incumbents, newcomers can be more flexible because they face no trade-offs.

After doing Gemba at Toyota Plants in India and Japan, learning from many Japanese TQM experts and working along with Lean Sensei James P Womack and John Y Shook we bring you an effective and efficient way of doing hoshin through our Hoshin Management System that works well. It's a journey and not a training or workshop.

Write to our Lean Coach:

Dhirendra Kumar Dubey

Hoshin Management System
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