Hoshin Kanri can be translated into English as “Policy Management.” The Japanese word for policy, hoshin, consists of two characters, which translate as “direction” and “needle.” This quickly brings to mind the image of an arrow, or the needle of a compass that points an organization down the right path. This is how Hoshin Kanri should be thought of. It isn’t the strict hand of authority policing an organization. It is more like a scientific instrument guiding everyone in the direction they need to go.
Hoshin Kanri is a goal and policy setting process between different levels and departments, that aligns the organization both vertically and horizontally. Every department is able to set its own specific Hoshin Kanri that is in line with the higher level Hoshin goals of the organization. This structure connects the vision, values, and philosophy of company leaders to the actual work at each level. It also provides opportunities for innovation and improvement.
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