Hoshi Kanri as a business management technique has its origins in combat tactics displayed by samurai warriors such as the 12th century’s Benkei. This makes it a Japanese Total Quality Management System that has been instrumental in the building of marketing strategies that focus on the competitors’ weaknesses to gain the market lead. For example, Toyota dethroned General Motors as the number one global car manufacturer in 1997 by focusing on what the car markets demanded most – fuel efficient cars to beat the escalating crude oil prices.
The Hoshin Kanri management style comprises of four elements depicted by the phrase itself: “Ho” stands for direction as “Shin” refers to focus while “Kan” means alignment and “Ri” signifies Reason. These components are integrated into a single tool aimed at achieving a goal derived from a vision conceived by the organization. The vision may include aspects such as the company’s products’ quality and supply benchmarks and a reasonable plan through which specified sales target can be met.
Hoshin Kanri strategies are on the other hand also significant in helping leading companies retain their position as market leaders. The companies may achieve this by responding to the immediate psychological, quality and supply demands existing in the market. For instance, in cases where environmental degradation is a major public concern, a soft drinks producing company may adopt ecology friendly practices to win customers’ assurance and loyalty. This could be planting two trees, as a corporate social responsibility plan, for every one fruit tree the company owns. The public then assumes that buying the juice brand is a personal contribution towards environmental conservation.
The Hoshin Kanri strategy can be deployed at any level in any industry using innovative skills such as quality packaging. Selling goods in recycled packages with appealing outlooks creates a positive perception within the consumer cycle translating into better sales and rapid growth.