Strategic planning is a method used by organizations to create priorities, set goals and empower the organization to ensure that organizational goals are achieved. Most successful organizations create their strategic plans as the organization begins its venture. Without a plan, it’s very difficult for organizations to achieve their visions. To come up with the plan, the organization has to lay down its goals, create specific actions that need to be performed to ensure that the goals are achieved and come up with specific techniques on how to ensure the goals are achieved .
One company that has successfully utilized strategic planning to its very best is the Branch- Smith Printing Division. This company was created by Aaron Smith and later expanded to include his close family members. It is a fourth generation printing company located in Fort- Worth, Texas with several customers and employees.
The strategic planning process used by this company mainly involved to begin with, the evaluation and improvement of the previous year’s strategic planning process. This step mainly takes up the previous year’s goals, determines whether these were achieved and evaluates what was not achieved. It then lays these down to ensure these are met in the subsequent year. This step also allows for the incorporation of the lessons learnt in the previous year. The second step involves the evaluation of the initial steps enabling the organization to come up with the defects that were presented so that to come up with a mechanism through which these are corrected in the subsequent steps .
The second step involves focusing on the organization at large. With the initial evaluation, the company then focuses on itself to determine what is needed urgently, those that need to be worked on and those that can wait. This process encompasses all the employees in the different departments so as to come up with a plan that can be followed by all the employees in the printing company. The third step involves the assessment of the previous year’s performance. This allows the organization to come up with plans on how to improve the printing company in the present year. It also allows for planning to ensure the gaps that were present in the prior year are not carried over to the present year. These steps also notes down the plans that the company is satisfied with that can then continue to be incorporated .
The fourth step is the most important step in the printing company. This is the business analysis step. The company analyses several issues that revolve around it such as the market conditions, the stakeholder requirements, the risks at hand, the available competition, the company capabilities. This is the followed by an update of the initial plans, both short and long term plans. This is done to correspond with the capabilities of the company as well as partner capabilities .
The sixth step involves cascaded deployment of the plans that are to be achieved. This brings about all the corrective measures in the initial plans that aid in the achievement of their goals. It enacts the plans that will ultimately lead to the satisfaction of the customers as well as maximizing the profits. This also brings about employee satisfaction therefore leading to better outcomes by the company .
The uniqueness of branch smith lies in their individual mastery of the entire process. Also they follow up their action plans to the very end to ensure they improve. As outlined in the six steps above, they personalize these as per departments within the company thus bringing it down to the employee level. This then brings about better outcomes in the company. They strive to improve business results continuously through maintaining a strong financial performance, creating perfect partnerships with their suppliers. This ensures that they are never out of stock of the raw materials they need. The partnership also ensures that a strong bond is created between them and the supplies making business transactions better .
In all their endeavors, they also strive to become the partner of choice through maintaining good relationships with all their business relations and ensuring all their customer needs are met. This is done within their strategic plan to ensure that the customer is always satisfied and happy with the end result seen. This makes them stand out among several other companies because in as much as most companies strive to improve customer relations, most printing companies are mainly concerned with maximizing their profits.Another amazing quality about Branch-Smith is their use of Baldrige program criteria. This uses a plan-do-check-act (PDCA). In this program, the organization goes through their strategic plan, do strategic management on the plan; they then review this to ensure that the plan goes as was initially meant. This is then followed up by action depending on what is found during the checking process .
I have previously worked at a healthcare facility where strategic planning was used in a very effective manner. Initially the facility used to see very few patients in a day and therefore achieved very low profits. What was noted to bring about this was the presence of a few employees and therefore very slow service delivery. The patients then opted to go to other facilities where they would get further attention. The action plan set was therefore to increase the number of service providers through the nursing staff and the doctors. In a record of four months, the facility realized a 58% increase in profits and increased customer base. It also became one of the most sought after medical facility in the region.
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