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Production Improvement with the Hoshin Method

Do you want to achieve progress objectives in order to gain a competitive advantage? The HOSHIN KANRI method allows you to do this by concentrating all your efforts and resources on achieving a set goal.

More concretely, this means that the company must define strategic objectives at the highest level and then translate them into operational objectives at all levels, with, of course, actions to be implemented and monitored within set deadlines.

Breakthrough Management 

HOSHIN KANRI is a Japanese term that suggests the metallic reflection of a compass needle, the one that must direct all units toward a common goal. "Ho" means "direction", "Shin" means "needles" and "Kanri", "management". Hoshin is a method that allows a company to focus all its efforts and resources on achieving ideal progress goals in order to ensure its survival or gain a competitive advantage.

Concretely, this means that the company has to define strategic objectives at the highest level and then translate them into "operational" objectives at all levels, with, of course, actions to be implemented and monitored within set deadlines. HOSHIN KANRI, is "translated" among others to mean POLICY DEPLOYMENT, POLICY MANAGEMENT, and GOAL DEPLOYMENT. The three key points of the HOSHIN are:

  • Vertical Diffusion

    Objectives are "seen" and acquired by all. Individual efforts contribute to achieving the common goal. Hence the image of a shared vision, or a compass needle indicating direction.

  • Horizontal Coordination

    Leading the progress process through interdisciplinary work with a planning and control tool. This approach empowers operational staff and transforms their hierarchy from leaders to facilitators and coaches.

  • Unit Optimization

    Objectives are defined and assigned to each unit, cascading down to the smallest, allowing all progress to be directed toward the goal.

Simplifying Flow

The clear deployment of objectives and the implementation of relevant indicators at team level brings consistency to production activities. In order to not create stock or inventory, it is necessary to determine the quantity of products to be manufactured that will exactly meet the needs of customers. It is important to define the time allocated to the manufacturing of a manufacturing unit, respecting customer requirements in terms of lead time and quantity. This time is called Takt Time. Takt Time is expressed in time units. Takt Time is therefore the characterization of customer demand either:
Takt Time = Working time / customer request

Take, for example, a manufacturing team that produces plastic parts on a press. A "watch" lasts 8 hours. Operators have 35 minutes rest. Shift catches cause crews to lose approximately an additional 10 minutes. The workshop rotates in 2 x 8. So the time devoted to production is 14h30 or 870 minutes. The customer requests that the workshop produce 250,000 pieces per month. The number of days worked for calculation facilities is reduced to 20. 250000 / 20 = 12500 per day. Knowing that the mold has eight prints.
The Takt Time is therefore 870 / (12500/8) or 0.53 minutes or 32 seconds.
This result should be compared to the cycle time, i.e. the time taken by the machine to manufacture a part.

The objective is to organize the work process with Takt Time and:

  • Reduce flow time
  • Eliminate work-in-progress
  • Work piece by piece
  • Work at a variable rate
  • Delete operations without added value
  • Reduce management time

Hoshin Objectives

With the analysis of the production flow, Hoshin allows a search in the field with all concerned simple and immediately applicable solutions to eliminate waste and optimize the level of productivity. From a practical point of view, this amounts to a:

The HOSHIN approach therefore provides all the tools to deploy step by step, level by level, the company's strategy in the spirit of continuous improvement and constantly manage the results obtained. This is a key point in moving towards total customer satisfaction.

  • Characteristics

    The Hoshin method involves little constraint and does not require a large budget. Since the approach is voluntary, it is more dynamic and becomes a challenge for everyone, because it is a sum of individual actions for a common project. This methodical deployment of an activity, product or process is limited in time.

  • Organize

    The first step consists of organizing the site by delimiting its perimeter. This step can be carried out by the department, sector or general management manager. The scope of the perimeter must enable the working group to achieve the desired results within the time allowed.

  • Select

    This step consists of taking into account the problems, identifying the environments and determining the objectives with a reflection on the past, in particular the past year, an examination of the environment, a focus on vital points and future needs. The objectives must be an improvement in current work (efficiency, quality, costs and more), problem solving, innovation or development.

  • Hierarchize

    The hierarchy step is the heart of the system. The groups meet to deploy the axes of breakthrough and:

    • Describe and analyze the situation (affinity diagrams, ISHIKAWA, Pareto)
    • Identify the sources of improvement and define the means to engage the effort
    • Define the strategy to achieve the objective
    • Animate the consultation
    • Analyze the results
  • Integrate

    This step consists of implementing the action plan in compliance with the defined provisions. The proposed solutions must respond to the problems by  validating them to have perfect control over the issue. It is then necessary to study the results in terms of quality, costs and deadlines. An initial assessment should therefore be made. This helps to ensure that the solution is effective, to assess any unanticipated effects, and to correct any remaining discrepancies.

  • Normalize

    Act for the future... Either we decide to embrace the change and apply the solutions or we decide to restart the cycle by changing certain initial conditions. This approach requires the results obtained to be monitored at regular intervals in order to compare them with the objectives, during meetings, or in the form of audits in order to have long-term benefits. If the expected progress is not in line with the action plan, problems should be identified and corrective actions taken.

Implementing Hoshin

In a traditional system, improvement plans are generally based on performance indicators. The principle of Hoshin Kanri is based on the multiplication of the political vision. This, defined at the highest level, must be shared by all, so that each, at his level, can contribute to the achievement of the defined objectives. Mobilizing all the company's resources and focusing on a few key points is vital. Breakthrough is necessary to adapt to a major change in the business. Each hierarchical level will therefore define its own objectives aligned with the company's vision and propose "its" strategy. The concept would be that if all the objectives of the lower levels are achieved, the higher objective is automatically achieved, and so on.


At regular and predetermined intervals, progress is monitored using indicators defined at the same time as the objectives. Each level reports progress to the next level. Progress is being assessed and abuses must be corrected. Performance parameters are measured, analyzed and improved step-by-step.


The action plan, based not only on performance indicators but also on the analysis of factual problems, is the subject of a planned review and obviously for each objective that will not be achieved, it will be necessary to study the causes and then implement appropriate corrective actions. This collaborative approach, by broadening the field of investigation, makes it possible to obtain better targeted improvement plans. Finally, it enables employees to better understand management's decision-making power and to actively engage employees in the company's progress approach.

Training Games for Hoshin

The participants reconstitute a production line to manufacture a product according to a specification. Participants propose solutions to improve performance by eliminating wasted time or other sources.
Don't wait any longer to train your employees in Hoshin training through games.