Hoshin Planning, Lean & Six Sigma

We work with clients using operational excellence and effectiveness tools:
1. Hoshin Planning - procoess of consensus building strategic or project planning
2. Lean - concepts include streamlining processes and eliminating waste, can be used in a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, energy and many others
3. Six Sigma - used to control a process and for identifying and preventing defects or deviations from acceptable standards
Hoshin Planning is used for is a method for processing a wide variety of factual and perceptual data through a diverse set of perspectives and judgments to reach a conclusion that is well supported by everyone involved and is easily explainable to those who did not participate in that particular session. It also helps resolve conflicts by focusing on achieving a common desired future/goal and allowing for open communications.
Hoshin Planning tools can be used in a strategic planning process and can also be used in project planning and redirection. Hoshin Planning identifies one or more key areas to be addressed for breakthrough improvement AND it simultaneously helps a group develop a common understanding that points out “low hanging fruit” opportunities as well. Hoshin Planning usually takes two 8 hour sessions. There is pre-reading for the participants and there can be a modest amount of work between sessions. Following the Hoshin Planning sessions, detailed problem solving and/or project planning is applied to the themes identified. There is follow up verification that the improvement is being achieved.
Hoshin Planning Steps:  (planning may or may not be linear, but still uses these tools)
Step 1 includes gathering all reasonable relevant information and disseminating it to the group for reading before the meeting. This provides the factual input to the process. Each person, given their unique perspectives, will remember and value the facts differently.
Step 2 is a SWOT analysis – a brainstorming discussion that brings everyone to a common understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the topic.
Step 3 is gaining agreement on a Vision statement that helps focus everyone on the goal.
Step 4 is a brainstorming of any and every action that could contribute to the achievement of the goal. Multi-picking out is used to reduce the brainstormed list to a manageable size.
Step 5 involves affinitizing the reduced set of items. The top-level headers become the themes for the remainder of the affinity.
The next 3 steps look at these themes from 3 different perspectives. The theme that is among the top in all the perspectives is the best candidate for breakthrough improvements.
Step 6 is the creation of an interrelationship digraph showing driving or causal relationships.
Step 7 uses a radar chart to assess the room for improvements in each of the themes.
Step 8 arrays the themes against several criteria.
Step 9 is to choose the one Hoshin from among the themes that are high in all 3 perspectives.
Step 10 is optional. People brainstorm actions to carry out the Hoshin, putting them along a timeline in the order that makes the most sense to them, moving ideas around as they wish.
In some ways, picking the Hoshin is the easy part. Making the improvements is where the work is, where “the rubber meets the road.” The real work begins after the Hoshin process is complete.