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Utilizing the Hoshin Planning Six Sigma Tool

published on January 17, 2012

Hoshin Planning is a strategic planning tool used to create strategic goals and a concrete strategy to implement them. The beauty of this method is that it treats everyone as an expert in their respective areas and everyone has the opportunity to provide improvement input. What I love about Hoshin Planning is that it tackles some of the most criticized element of 6Sigma- the lack of people focus.  In Hoshin Planning everyone is aware of how it works because everyone contributes.

What does Hoshin Planning do?

In addition to providing a concrete strategic plan, a Hoshin Plan provide some definite benefits to organizations that chose to use it. A few common benefits are:

  • The ability to create a common goal, particularly useful in large organizations.
  • Creates a common language to articulate expectations and goals within the organization.
  • Involves all stages of leadership.
  • Creates accountability.

What does it look like?

Hoshin planning spreadsheet data

There are a million ways to complete a Hoshin Plan, you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. The illustration above is my interpretation of the plan at its simplest for general use. Hoshin Plans generally have six main areas: your current business situation, your recommendations/solutions, your strategies, your metrics and your timeframe for completion. The current business situation should describe the challenge or situation you are trying to solve.  The recommendations/solutions section should be the place where your solution brainstorming happens. This is where the employee involvement takes a concrete form and this is the place to be creative.

The strategies section is where you assign accountability for the accepted strategies. Remember that this is a cooperative area as well; you want to be sure that your staff participated in the selection and assignment of strategies.

The metrics section is where you will decide what constitutes a success and how that success will be measured. As with all things 6Sigma, the clearer these metrics are the more likely they are to succeed. The final section will be the time frame for these strategies to be implemented and the time frame can and will vary according to your organizations needs.

When to use it

Although Hoshin is one of my favorite tools it is only useful when you already have daily measures and controls in place. The accuracy of your plan assumes that you already do, so if you are creating a strategy that needs everything create those measurements and controls first, then employ Hoshin.


As always this is a very simplistic introduction to Hoshin Planning, individual plans will be more complicated so please see your 6Sigma professional before you get started.

published on January 17, 2012


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