Deploying Policy

There is no doubt that Policy Deployment (or hoshin kanri) is an integral part of any lean implementation. It’s a management process that aligns – both vertically and horizontally – an organization’s functions and activities with its strategic objectives. A specific plan—typically annual—is developed with precise goals, actions, timelines, responsibilities, and measures. In contrast to management by objectives, 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.

Over the years we have shared insights to the hoshin process right from Dan’s early exposure at the Nissan’s Sunderland plant all the way through to action research and experiments we have conducted to help firms in this area. These days, finding out about any aspect of lean implementation is more accessible. There are some great resources. In terms of hoshin kanri there are books available that are both thought provoking and excellent reference materials. Examples include Pascal Dennis’ “Getting the right things done” and Thomas Jackson’s book “Hoshin kanri for the Lean Enterprise.” You may also find “Inside the Mind of Toyota” useful. Toyota’s system of management functions is explored. (All are available on our book shop.)

There are also lots of resources to draw on from the web. One of my particular favourites is the Lean Edge where a whole host of lean authors and practitioners provide their views and responses to questions posed. Look up a particular topic (such as hoshin) and you’ll get a wide range of views relating to your search. Look up a particular topic (such as hoshin) and you’ll get a wide range of views relating to your search.  You might also take a look at the Lean Global Network Journal called Planet Lean. Recently Wiebe Nijdam from our Dutch Lean Management Institute wrote a useful piece on hoshin kanri.

Of course today information isn’t only available in the written word. On our YouTube channel you can find several resources about hoshin kanri.

Two years ago Laurie West shared his hoshin insights as the leader of a business implementing the process:

David Furley provided us with a healthcare example from Lincoln:

At our 2014 UK Summit we are getting really practical – and have asked a number of practitioners and experts to share their insights with a range of topics in two-hour workshops. In terms of hoshin kanri, we’ve asked Torgeir Halvorsen, Managing Director of our long-term partner Jaeger Toyota to work alongside our own John Kiff in order to share how they started policy deployment, explain the benefits for them and what they have learned. In particular the following questions will be discussed:

  • How did Jaeger develop their strategy?
  • What process did they use to “grasp the situation?” How did they turn the analysis into defining the business problem(s) to solve?
  • How did they gain alignment on where they are now and where they wanted to be?
  • How did they de-select to get to the vital few projects?
  • How did they deploy the strategy?
  • What have they learned from the process – both social (behavioural) and technical?
  • What have been the benefits and what issues have occurred?
  • What are the key learning points?

The real benefit of such sessions are the conversations that take place. Participation gives each of us the opportunity to discuss the issues described, understand the application of the thought process in the given situation and think through the relevance of the application and learning points for our own circumstances.

We hope you take a look through our resources on hoshin and look forward to seeing you at the UK Lean Summit on 18th and 19th November.