Hoshin Kanri — Level up your factory’s operations

Not many things scream ‘strategic management model’ like Hoshin Kanri, and the best part is that it’s easy to implement and includes everybody in your factory.

Hoshin Kanri means policy management, and it represents the concept of guiding your company in a clear, strategic direction.

Let’s take a look and see what all the fuss is about.

What is Hoshin Kanri?

Hoshin Kanri is a lean approach that deals with strategic planning and execution using the framework of the Total Quality Control (TQC) methodology.

This makes Hoshin Kanri a great tool to share the objectives of the organisation in a multi-level way, allowing everybody to contribute. Your workforce can collaborate by using their skills and knowledge and sharing their needs in the workspace.

Because we assume every person in your factory is an expert in their work, this expertise is reflected in the company’s overall objectives. This would technically make the company the most competent and competitive in its field, having all workers aligned toward the same strategic objectives. 

Hoshin Kanri is great for implementing strategic improvements that affect all areas of your company.

Why Hoshin Kanri?

Without a clear strategic plan in place, your organisation just falls into chaos.

When companies don’t implement Hoshin Kanri, workers don’t have a clear guiding objective that is aligned with their organisation, and goals aren’t met.

Hoshin Kanri gives everyone a clear understanding of the next steps to follow to stay relevant, profitable, and competitive.

How to implement Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri is deeply connected to the PDCA Cycle, and just like the cycle, all you need are four steps (Plan, Do, Check, and Act).

What is Hoshin Kanri - PDCA Cycle


Within the planning phase, you have another four steps to ensure your planning is as accurate and specific to your business as possible.

Step 1 — Build or update your vision

Firstly, you need to identify what is it exactly you want and why. At this stage, you need to use as many relevant ideas and information as you have access to.

This will help you define the purpose of your organisation and build —or update— a vision that sets ambitious but achievable goals.

Once your vision is clear, you’ll be able to set the steps to make your goals a reality effortlessly.

Step 2 — Diagnose the situation

Here, we need to look at the goals we set in our vision and find out how close we are to achieving them.

The best way to do this is by:

  • Running a preliminary diagnosis of the current internal and external situation
  • Defining what our strengths and weaknesses are

Step 3 — Strategic analysis and definition of strategic axes

When we see where we are in relation to our goals, we can set the steps we need to hit the targets we set in our vision.

We can do this by:

  • Defining your company’s strategy for the mid-term (3 to 5 years)
  • Deciding how we want our company to be after the mid-term
  • Choosing the market your company’s going to target
  • Understanding what makes you stand out from the competition
  • Analysing which areas of our organisation and our processes are most relevant to fulfil this strategy

Step 4 — Establish detailed annual objectives and associated action plans

The last step in the planning phase establishing specific objectives and action plans to achieve them. 

The best way to do this is by creating annual plans that further break down the 3-5 year strategic objectives in areas such as:

  • Establishment of goals and objectives to be achieved
    • Objectives should be clear, concrete, and measurable
  • Identification and assignment of responsible parties
    • These responsible parties are the ones who will define and apply the actions that will make it possible to achieve or not achieve these objectives


Now that the planning is done and dusted, it’s time to execute.

Managers should see this stage as an opportunity to use the PDCA Cycle or Kaizen events based on the SCORE methodology —Select, Clarify, Organise, Run, and Evaluate—

Now is the time to assign collaborators to help you define and schedule the action plans you put in place to hit your goals.

There’s a good checklist for you to follow when you’re dealing with the Do phase, so without further ado, at the end of a complete deployment cycle:

Every stakeholder must know:

  • What their objectives are
  • What actions they need to pilot, as well as their daily management routines
  • Other actions they need to be part of

The piloting must be organised:

  • Each pilot needs to be continuously monitoring the actions they’re responsible for
  • Progress needs to be evaluated and validated through periodic meetings


After executing your plan, you need to review the process and ask this critical question — Are the objectives you set being met?

To make sure you’re reviewing your process properly and not leaving anything out, you can:

  • Set review schedules
  • Establish the plan’s monitoring, measurement, and evaluation system

What is the Hoshin Kanri Methodology?


Now that the plan is working or on the road to it you need to act and keep nurturing the continuous improvement cycle by:

  • Stabilising and capitalising on what you’ve learnt from the plan
  • Standardising the process
  • Leveraging self-criticism throughout the whole process to improve and provide feedback
  • Restarting the redefinition of objectives

Why do you need Hoshin Kanri in your factory?

Hoshin Kanri helps develop a strategic direction at all levels of the company, from the CEO to the local team leader.

This generates new ways to communicate and monitor the next steps throughout the organisation successfully.

Why should companies implement Hoshin Kanri?

Benefits of Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri helps you have a clearer vision of the current status of your organisation. 

The Hoshin Kanri model can be seen as a map that helps you get your company to that ideal state. But for a map to be useful, you must be clear about where you stand on it. Hoshin Kanri helps you do this by establishing benchmarks for your organisation’s current performance,  helping you determine indicators to measure progress.

Hoshin Kanri also generates unified commitment.

No organisation performs better than one whose employees are committed to the general objectives. 

Hoshin Kanri includes everyone in the organisation. All goals, objectives, and improvements for each worker, area, or team are aligned. 

This helps workers feel much more committed when they see their work is critical within a global picture.

Hoshin Kanri also helps you:

  • Improve the organisational alignment of employees
  • Increases ownership and commitment to results
  • Get a better focus on actions that lead to results, not just numbers
  • Simplifies the decision-making process 
  • Brings awareness to the importance of your strategic plan
  • Boost problem-solving processes

mlean® & Hoshin Kanri

We know implementing Hoshin Kanri in an analogous way isn’t ideal unless you want your factory’s walls covered in spreadsheets.

That’s why we’ve gone and made Hoshin Kanri available to you digitally.

Our Hoshin Kanri tool helps you create and deploy strategic objectives easily in a multi-level way.

You can set up your Master Plan in a few clicks, and you can check everybody’s progress toward your goals in one single dashboard.

Book a free demo, and let us show you!


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