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Hoshin Kanri is the art of translating the vision of the company into action in the field.

Le Hoshin Kanri (方針管理, Ho = direction, Shin = compass, Kanri = planning, usually translated by “policy deployment“), is the art of deploying the vision of the company in concrete implementation in the field. As we know, the staff complains of unknown business objectives, which change … Without vision, a company is like a boat without rudder.

We find this tool in English under the term Balance Score Card.

Management at the Christophe Colomb

Hoshin Kanri management

When he left, he did not know where he was going.

When he arrived, he did not know where he was.

When he came back, he did not know where he had been.

All with borrowed money !

When we leave, we know where we are going.

Arrived we know where we are.

We know where we went.

All, spending the least amount possible !

« A vision without action is only a dream, an action without vision is just a hobby, but vision and action can change the world » – J. Barker

Hoshin Kanri’s challenge is to have better vertical alignment, while having better horizontal coordination.

1 – Create the vision

The vision is the description of the future state of the company. Defined in one sentence “ become the leader in the luxury market ” … it sets the course towards which the company is heading. The role of management will be to be able to focus the energies of the company towards this vision.

It should be noted that the vision is fixed for a horizon of 10 to 15 years.

2 – Cascading vision

The principle of cascading Hoshin Kanri based on the Hoshin Matrix. This 4-zone matrix allows you to “ cascade ” objectives down to the lowest level while ensuring that the lowest goal is correlated with the highest level of vision.

The walking board

The working table is a tool for monitoring production, focusing attention on the objectives to be achieved and, above all, involving staff in a proactive process of improvement.. Located closest to the line, its operation is as follows :

  1. At the change of team, the passage of instruction is carried out in support with the board.
  2. The next team erases data from the previous team.
  3. Hour after hour, the team filled by hand the quantity produced.
  4. At each change of series, the new rate is write.
  5. When a problem arises, I record it in the observations and take the necessary actions in compliance with the standards.
  6. At the end of the post I post on the graph the OEE of the team.

The marching board is used during the routines of the team leader and the area manager.

The principle

At the highest level, we will make a first division between the first why, the vision, and the « What » just below. Clearly, the vision is all cascaded to a division / service and turns into a first “How“. This is then translated into “what” of the division / service n-1. We carry out the diagram opposite.

2.1 Use the Hoshin matrix to deploy the vision and create the strategic plan

The Hoshin Kanri relies on the Hoshin Matrix. This one allows to build the previous diagram with precision and to structure the reflection around the development of the axes of work and the deployment of the vision. The Hoshin matrix is in the form opposite.

Because of its design, it will cascade objectives to the lowest level, each level having its own Hoshin matrix.

Example :

  • Matrix 1 : The company’s vision is to become a benchmark for operational excellence. One of the goals is to reduce overhead costs, resulting in a reduction in the company’s real estate assets. We are here in the first Hoshin matrix.
  • Matrix 2 : The management of each plant therefore aims to reduce real estate assets. This translates for them in action plan of reduction of useful surfaces.
  • Matrix 3 : Each sector manager therefore aims to reduce the useable area under his responsibility. It follows that in the process of continuous improvement and in particular, to set up Lean projects on the theme of 5S.

2.2 Associate actions with indicators and create the operational plan

The cascade of vision in action strategy made, we will associate each of them with indicators. These indicators must be representative of the expected results and be defined in accordance with the SMART methodology.

Following our example, we will indicate that the projects 5S will have for indicators the reduction of the useful surface of the workstation.

Set Gemba boundaries and not cognitive

The Penrose Staircase

The geneticist Lionel Penrose created in 1958 a series of impossible objects. We use it here to illustrate the fact that the objectives must reflect the reality on the ground.

2.3 Correlate indicators and vision

Then, we will ensure the correlation between the expected results of the actions with the vision of the company. We close the loop, ensuring that what will be measured corresponds to the overall expectations of the company.

Using the previous example, we will correlate the surface reduction indicator with the desire to become a benchmark in terms of operational excellence..

2.4 Coordinate activities horizontally

At this point, we were able to vertically deploy the vision and translate it into projects. We will now verify that horizontally, there are no duplicates or contradictions in the deployment.

For this, we will build a table with the set of what “and” how “of each division / service. We will compare them 2 to 2 to know if strategies, objectives or indicators are in contradiction between them.

Example :

The purchasing department’s main focus is to develop sourcing. Logistics, meanwhile, aims to reduce costs and reduce transportation distances. The 2 strategies are contradictory and yet respond to the global vision to improve efficiency.

The matrix of contradiction highlights these contradictions to rework them and bring coherence. In our example, we can transform strategies in this way :

  • For the purchase service : develop supplier hubs.
  • For logistics : develop the milkrun within the suppliers hubs.

2.5 Prioritize actions

From now on, it remains to be seen how we will begin. The prioritization will be done in 2 steps :

  1. We will define priorities based on the level of correlation we have between indicators / vision / strategy.
  2. Then, all the elements of the vision do not have the same importance, we do not have the resources to carry out certain strategies, or it is possible that the management wishes to prioritize certain strategies. We will have to weight them to adjust the previously defined priorities.

2.6 Conclusion

Deploying an effective policy remains a sensitive and complex subject. Some keys to success below :

  • Confirm ACTIONS / RESULTS.
  • Zero tolerance for non-compliance.
  • Participate in Working Group meetings.
  • Define KPIs with teams.
  • KPIs are complete and up-to-date.
  • Confirm Kaizen implementation during the GO-LOOK-SEE-DO.
  • RECOGNIZE successes.
  • Check employee knowledge through regular dialogue.

Le Mushroom Management

To illustrate the necessary behavior of the good manager, describe the bad manager . A good image that we find in the literature: Mushroom Management.

This management mode is often not described in the following sentence :

Leave your staff in the dark and feed them with fertilizer“.

It is the opposite of a leader manager putting in place collective intelligence, sharing, development, recognition … This “ practice ” consists in considering its collaborators as mushrooms1 :

  • leaving them in the shadows.
  • by nourishing them with molds.
  • by cutting their heads as soon as they grow up too fast.
  • by eliminating them when they become invasive.

3 – The process confirmation system

Process confirmation is a regular review of the implementation of the company’s vision, goals and strategies. It differs from the audit in that the process confirmation is a system that has the challenge of performing substantive work on the behavior of staff and therefore participates in the change management.

The principle

It is based on the fact that a process evolves throughout one’s life. To follow these developments and adapt to them, the challenge is to help define the standard and validate its use as time goes by..

3.1 Create the « standard »

The first step of a process-confirmation is to set a standard. In view of the results obtained during the development of the Hoshin matrix, actions have been defined and prioritized. It is from these actions that we will build the process confirmation.

3.2 Develop process confirmation

For each of the elements we want to confirm (standard, strategy …), we will develop a document indicating :

  • The time interval between 2 checks: depending on the complexity and the stake, the time interval goes from 1 month to 1 year.
  • Validation criteria: we will define a whole range of criteria (SQCDPL: Security, Quality, Cost, Time, Personnel and Leadership) to say whether or not the element is still functional or if it requires adaptations.

Some tips :

  • Avoid middle notes
  • Think about setting up coefficients
  • Make the listeners different: operators, masters, executives, managers…
  • Also think about “ surprise ” audits to avoid the “ broom” effect »
  • Display results visually (red / green)

3.3 Confirm and set up the action plan

During a process confirmation, we will be in front of 4 cases of figures with for each of the different reactions.



The process is not followed and this generates variability.

It is necessary to sensitize the personnel, reform and prevent so that the element is followed.

The process is followed and its performance sufficient.

We can confirm the process and recognize the teams for the respect of this one.

The process is followed but its performance is unsatisfactory.

We need to redesign the process to adapt to the new situation, by working with the teams to understand and analyze the points of progress.

The process is not followed and is no longer adapted to the situation.

It must be updated and adapted to the situation.

Process confirmation and staff development

Understandably, process confirmation is a key tool to accompany change. It is during these “ audits “, that the manager will have to inform, train and repeat the good messages vis-à-vis the directives of companies and the necessity to respect the processes, projects and standards put in place. We can gradually change the behavior and get them into habits. It is also a moment when the manager must value the staff who have followed the standards and processes.

4 – Change management

The implementation of Hoshin Kanri is based on the best practices of change management. In addition to mastering the different concepts and tools of change (paradigm, motivating …), the manager must also adapt his behavior.

The manager Leader

More than a manager, change management requires Leadership. He needs to implement an attitude and behavior that allows him to “ embody change” . Having a natural charisma, he will have to be courageous, know how to share and adhere to his ideas.

Le coaching

The manager must evolve into a coach. The French coaching company defines the term as “the accompaniment of people and teams for the development of their potentials and their know-how within the framework of professional objectives”. Originally, the term Coach comes from the Hungarian Kocs, a village that was once famous for the quality of its carriages. The term evolved to become in the Anglo-Saxon world the term Coach, which meant different modes of transport. Towards the end of18th Century, the English high society practiced the coaching sport under the term of Coaching. This etymology illuminates the term: accompany, direct, guide, drive and the idea of keeping the balance between the movement and turbulence of travel.

Coaching develops and strengthens people to be more effective and achieve goals. The coach helps to catalyze energies on a common goal. On a day-to-day basis, the coach manager will have to :

  • Develop the potential of each person and defuse it to implement it (the teacher coach).
  • Develop the autonomy of people by leading them to think for themselves and take initiatives (the coach facilitator).
  • Encourage and share his experience on a daily basis (the coach guide).


1 – D. Eppling, L. Magnien (2011) – Quel manager êtes-vous ?

D. Hutchins (2008) – The strategic approach to continuous improvement

N. J. Sayer, B. Williams (2012) – Lean for dummies

T. L. Jackson (2006) – Hoshin Kanri for the Lean enterprise

R. K. Kesterson (2014) – Hoshin Kanri

M. Thevenet (1993) – La culture d’entreprise

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