Go to MCTS Home Page
What is Hoshin Kanri?


Origins of Hoshin...

The origin of Hoshin Kanri can provide insight into its concepts. Fundamental to Japanese quality thinking is “putting principles into practice.” The value of this approach was recognized early in Japanese culture. Sometime before 1645, Miyamoto Musashi wrote A Book of Five Rings to provide a guide for samurai warriors. Heiho was the one word that summed up his philosophy. It is formed from two Chinese characters: hei meaning soldier and ho meaning form or method. A modern translation is strategy.

In his guide for Kendo (swordsmanship) Musashi states, “If you are thoroughly conversant with strategy, you will recognize the enemy’s intentions and have many opportunities to win.” Japanese business principles and practices are often analogous to the art of the samurai warrior. The Seven Tools of Quality are modeled after the seven weapons of Benkei, a twelfth century samurai warrior.

The term Hoshin, short for Hoshin Kanri, is related to heiho in kendo, Musashi’s martial art of sword fighting the katana. Like heiho, Hoshin can be broken into two parts. The literal translation of ho is method or form. The literal translation of shin is shiny needle or compass. So the word “Hoshin” translates into “methodology for setting strategic direction.”

The word Kanri can also be broken into two parts. The first part, kan, translates into control or channeling. The second part, ri, translates into reason or logic. Taken altogether, the most common translation is “administration or management.”
Hoshin = “methodology for setting strategic direction”

Kanri = “administration or management”

Hoshin Kanri translates into “management of the methodology for setting strategic direction.”

The most common English translation of Hoshin is Hoshin Planning. Many books by American authors also use Policy Deployment as a name for Hoshin Kanri. Other frequently used translations are 'Management By Policy', ‘Policy Management’, ‘Managing for Results,’ Strategic Deployment’ and 'Goal Deployment.'

No matter what you call it; Hoshin is a system for implementing “breakthroughs” that can dramatically change the direction of your organization with strategically aligned business objectives and metrics coordinated from the top-down and bottom-up! If Strategic Thinking is the formulation of an ideal future, then Strategic (Hoshin) Planning is the optimal system for creating that future… May your “warriors” help you develop “many opportunities to win!”

Hoshin Kanri & Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle…


Hoshin Kanri can be thought of as the application of Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle to the management process. The PDCA cycle represents a generic approach to continual improvement of activities and processes. In fact, Total Quality Management (TQM) in it full application, includes Hoshin Planning as the means for implementing the BREAKTHROUGH innovations discussed above.

IN THE 'PLAN' STEP, a plan of action is developed to address a problem. Corresponding control points and control parameters are created. The plan is reviewed and agreed.
IN THE 'DO' STEP, the plan is implemented.
IN THE 'CHECK' STEP, information is collected on the control parameters. The actual results are compared to the expected results.
IN THE 'ACT' STEP, the results are analyzed. Causes of any differences between expected and actual results are identified, discussed and agreed. Corrective action is identified.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle is a logical sequence for behavior. PDCA implies that once one cycle of the sequence is completed with the 'ACT' step (in which corrective action is identified), the 'PLAN' step (in which a plan to address how corrective action will be generated) of the next cycle should be started.

Initial Considerations…
The initial considerations in the Hoshin Kanri approach to business system change are as follows:

1 Measuring the business system as a whole

1 Setting core objectives of the business

1 Understanding the environmental situation in which the business operates

1 Defining processes that make up the system, and their activities, goals, and metrics

1 Providing resources to perform activities to achieve business objectives.

The Hoshin Kanri approach aims to ensure that insight and vision are not forgotten and ignored as soon as planning activities are over. It aims to guarantee that planning documents, once finalized, are kept alive and acted on daily, and not shelved as soon as they have been completed. It aims to prevent the daily quota of fire fighting, unplanned 'strategic' meetings, and quarterly bottom-line pressures taking precedence over the really strategic plans. In the Hoshin Kanri environment, short-term activities are determined and managed by the plans themselves. There is a continual process of checking to make sure that what is done each day reflects the intentions, the targets, and the vision the company has agreed to pursue. Both planning and deployment are critical features of Hoshin Kanri, hence the term policy deployment.

Hoshin Kanri provides an opportunity to continually improve performance by disseminating and deploying the vision, direction, targets, and plans of corporate management to top management and to all employees so that people at all job levels can continually act on the plans, and evaluate, study, and feed back results as a part of a continual improvement process.

The intention is that, in companies using Hoshin Kanri, everybody is aware of management's vision, departments don't compete against each other, projects run to successful conclusions, business is seen as a set of coordinated processes.

Breakthrough Improvement From Vision-Driven Leadership

An Overview of The Hoshin Planning System
Leveraging the Creative Talent of Your Workforce Thru Hoshin Planning
Developing Deployment Strategies For Training & System Development

Back to Overview...

History of Hoshin Kanri...
ERP & Hoshin Kanri...
ERP Implementations… 
Profit-Ability Improvement... (¬Click here to see definitions)
Profit-Ability Management Principles... (¬Click here to see definitions)

People, Empowerment & Profit-Ability… (¬Click here to access articles)
Hoshin Kanri & Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act... (PDCA) Cycle…

Valid XHTML 1.0!