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By Drive, Inc. on Thursday 15 April 2010.

Hoshin what? Many organizations who are years into their Lean Journey have never heard the term, yet it is the heart of the Toyota Production System. Hoshin Kanri helps ensure that an organization works on the right things in order to get the expected results. That sounds attractive until I mention that an organization usually needs to turn their entire approach to managing manufacturing upside down; product development, back-office business processes… indeed, the entire enterprise needs to be managed differently. Can you get results without it? Sure, albeit limited results. As an example, SMED will work as a stand-alone process. A mass manufacturer can use SMED to reduce changeover time and therefore make more parts on the same equipment, amortizing the capital cost of the equipment over more parts, thus reducing cost per piece. However, with Hoshin Kanri, it might become evident that it is more important to use the changeover time reduction to reduce batch size and change over more often, leading to greater flexibility to meet customer demand and lower inventory carrying cost. So the tool without the holistic approach of Hoshin Kanri can get some results, but likely won’t lead to the best result and the greatest return on investment.

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