Hoshin Kanri

January 1, 2011

Most companies that I have worked at lack a centralized company-wide Quality Assurance, metrics and delivery strategy. They simply seem to be going through the motions, sometimes very destructive motions based on one or two individuals “running the show.” This can be a very dangerous long-term proposition.

With this in mind then, we introduce the concept of Hoshin Kanri, or Policy Deployment.

Hoshin Kanri is a company-wide quality system that creates constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service and adapting a philosophy that does not tolerate lack of quality, defects, antiquated training methods, (or management’s styles). Hoshin helps executives do some heavy lifting in the areas of inter-departmental coordination as well as monitor action items while conducting internal diagnosis and self-inspection and target achievements.

Instituting leadership that aims at helping people work more collaboratively and effectively, but more importantly driving out fear to break down barriers between departments and building in universal long-term relationships that include all of the stakeholders, vendors, customers, management and employees. Hoshin helps drive the decisions down to those closest to the customer, the employees, and away from rogue CEO’s or any one or two people. This improves enterprise-wide results and solidifies total “buy-in.”

Here’s an example of a printing company where Hoshin Kanri was successfully deployed. All of the players came to the table, operational definitions for every aspect of the work was mutually agreed upon and centralized documentation along with timelines, roles and responsibilities and deliverables was established throughout the company. I also helped the company come up with a quarterly balanced scorecard reflecting the top four initiatives and a daily dashboard to measure daily data collection and how that rolled up to the weekly, monthly and quarterly goals and objectives.

The CEO at this company is very open, shares leadership and empowers his management team. When I recommended that he hire a black belt to become his lean champion and coordinate efforts, he wasted no time in hiring this individual that has proved invaluable in sustaining the Continuous Improvement (CI) effort. This company has grown from $12 million to about $60 million in about 12 months, in spite of the recession.

Compare this to a very famous food manufacturing plant where I consulted recently, the CEO rules with an iron fist with fear and a HUGE ego. He calls all the shots. Human resources’ approach to bringing me in was that “we aren’t letting our CEO know that we are running the workforce through the training. We want to prove to him that lean works first, so that he will give us permission to roll it out company-wide.” About 4-5 weeks into the training the CEO got tired of people attending weekly class and “pulled the plug” just as we were getting ready to roll out about 10 improvement projects throughout the company. He used the excuse that “the company didn’t have time for this kind of nonsense.” Wouldn’t it have been nice to get everyone together on the same page at this plant from the beginning?

This is the reason every company needs Hoshin Kanri, a systematic centralized roll-out plan that controls activities for the achievement of mutual goals and objectives, through the various support structures, such as internal branding, reinforcement of the company’s motto and core values, management concepts, continual evaluating, studying and “tweaking” every improvement and keeping centralized metrics and a game plan.

Hoshin will take your organization to that quantum leap by continuously analyzing current problems and deploying a strategic response to environmental conditions, and optimizing Quality, Cost and Delivery of goods and services.

Hoshin is all about centralized and strategic daily controls and corrective measures, and this requires a more participative management style.

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