I asked Anthony Manos is a Catalyst with Profero, Inc. to give me a quick overview of Hoshin Kanri and his comments are below.
Related Podcast and Transcription: Using Hoshin Kanri
Anthony Manos: Absolutely. I mentioned a couple of things like doing the pre-work, priming the pump of understanding what’s going on in the environmental stand, checking the different things out. Environmental scan, things like the economy, what’s going on socially?cultural, what’s going on with suppliers, competition. We just get the teams to go, “What do you think is going to happen over the next few years that might have an impact on you?” I’ll admit it, and this is one of those things that, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Obviously, when you’re trying to predict things, you’re never going to be perfect. But Joe, I remember, this is a few years ago, and when we were going through our planning session, someone mentioned, “Well, what happens if oil goes above $50 a barrel?” Of course, we had a laugh. It’s a good laugh now, but back then, we were wondering what would happen.
I think it’s very interesting, because from people’s different points of view of where they’re at, when you make a statement like that, “Well, what would happen when oil goes above $50 a barrel?” Back then, by the way, one of my initial thoughts was, “Wow, plastics costs might go up because of the oil.” But it’s very interesting.
Another team or group, when they were talking about what happens to things like gas prices, they mentioned, “Well, fewer people are going to drive.”
So, it’s very funny how, by putting these concepts out there, you can have different points of view and try to determine how it would affect your organization. Getting that stuff out in the beginning really helps. Of course, doing the standard things like a SWOT analysis, what I notice is a lot of people use SWOT, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, but I don’t think they really know about how to go about to do it.
A couple of the tricks of the trade that we picked up over the years is, when you’re doing your strengths and weaknesses, which are supposed to be internal to the organization, one of the tools we’d use to help a company, especially if they’re new at this, is we used the Baldridge Award criteria categories. There’s leadership, planning, customer focus. There’s the measurement, analysis, knowledge management, human resource focus, process management, and results. So we do ask them, “What are your strengths and weaknesses in each of those areas?”
This just makes it easier for them to put something in a bucket. “Give us some strengths and weaknesses of your leadership. Give us strengths and weaknesses of your customer focus.” Companies don’t have to do it this way, but we’ve found that when you can give them a little structure to start out with, that really helps out a lot.
Then what we do is, with opportunities and threats, which should be external to the organization, we use a model like the Porter’s Five Forces, where they can look at things like suppliers, strengths and weaknesses of their suppliers, of substitutes that can people can replace your product or service with someone else’s, new entrants, buyers, and rivalries. Once again, it’s just a little bucket that they can put their opportunities and threats.
Joe, at this point, I want to mention that a lot of times, people just think the opposite of an opportunity is a threat, or a threat just flipped around becomes an opportunity. We really try to make sure that they understand that it’s not always that way. There are certain things that threats are a threat, an opportunity might be an opportunity. Once we get to that point, I think their brains are full, and they’re ready to go to the brainstorming portion of it.
Typically, we’ll start out with just a little statement like, “It’s five years in the future. You guys are tremendously successful. What does it look like, and how did you get there?” Then we just let them go to town, just let them brainstorm and come up with ideas. We just use a little Post-it Note method. They can write them up there, we throw them up on the wall. We get the team to go up there and make an Affinity diagram, start to group these things so they can see.
It’s like, “Wow! You see all these wild and crazy ideas. These are great ideas. This has really liberated us from doing the day?to?day things so that we can really think, ‘What’s that quantum leap? What’s that thing that’s really going to give us that breakthrough to move us forward?'”
Then from there, we do some other things, like a Gap analysis. Where are you guys at today in this category? Then, maybe, where would you like to be? Then another little tool that we use is drivers, means, and outcomes, so we just try to look at the categories.
Does A cause B, or does B cause A? Or does A drive B and B drive A? We try to determine if things are drivers, which means these are the things that will make things happen. The means, which is these are things that are the way to get it done, and then outcomes, like, these things are going to happen.
That really opens up people’s eyes to like, “Wow! What should we really start to focus on?” From there, we can start to put together their high-level plan. If companies want to use an X?Matrix or tree diagram, whatever it’s going to be, we help them put that together.
Then from there, they go into that term called “catch ball.” Catch ball is when they actually just pass it down to the other levels of the organization, to communicate, get buy-ins, get their plan set. They throw it back up, and there’s usually communication to it. “Yes. This is looking good,” or, “No. We’d like for you to take a look at this portion of it again.”
Based on the size of the organization, it might go down another level, and et cetera, et cetera. This is one of those ways that you get alignment within the organization. Anyone that’s a value?adder would actually see what their day-to-day task or job is, how it actually…
Lean Sales and Marketing: Learn about using CAP-Do
Marketing with Lean Book Series