Hoshin Kanri Matrix

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Hoshin Kanri Matrix: this article explains the Hoshin Kanri Matrix in a practical way. The article starts with the general definition of this method, followed by practical information about its use and an example. This article also contains a downloadable and editable hoshin kanri matrix excel template. Enjoy reading!

What is Hoshin Kanri?

Many companies struggle with translating strategic plans into actionable items on a daily process.

Hoshin Kanri Matrix is a tool that can be helpful in:

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  1. Creating SMART Goals: targets to improve and long term goals
  2. Determining Strategies
  3. Establishing Metrics
  4. Creating Action Plans
  5. Reviewing Progress on the strategy execution

It has been known by several names: policy deployment, X-matrix. Hoshin Kanri has its roots in the Toyota Production System and is a very powerful tool.

Based on a concept popularized in Japan in the late 1950s by Professor Yoji Akao. “Each person is the expert in his or her job, and Japanese TQC [Total Quality Control] is designed to use the collective thinking power of all employees to make their organization the best in its field.”

What is the Hoshin Kanri Matrix?

Properly used, Hoshin Kanri Matrix will help employees to focus on goal achievement (long term objectives and strategic goals). The process also fosters communication and participation in establishing the goals as well as serve as a tool to hold individuals accountable for achieving their assigned objectives.

How does the process work? Let us assume that an organization desires to expand international sales. Most likely, this goal was created at a strategic planning retreat; performed a SWOT analysis and through discussion arrives at an objective to expand sales over the next three years by 20%.

The Hoshin Kanri Table would look like the following image:

Hoshin kanri matrix model - Toolshero

Figure 1 – Hoshin Kanri Matrix

The three year breakthrough objective would be to achieve 20% growth in international sales. Note how this is the starting point of the table. Recall Stephen Covey’s “start with the end in mind” and you can see how this is the beginning of the hoshin planning matrix.

If the company desires to grow by 20% over the next three years, it will not achieve this growth in year 1. On the left hand side of the chart, note that the year one growth is expected to be 5%. If the organization desires to achieve the 20% by year 3, then achieving 5% in year one would put them on track to be successful.

To achieve the first year growth, the company identifies the improvement priorities to make the sales goals achievable. They decide that they need to identify five potential representative agencies. Once identified, the company plans to contract with 2 of the sales agencies.

Note that individuals are named and assigned to achieve the specific improvements. Each of the individuals would then have detailed action plans with time frames to achieve the goal of contracting with two sales representative agencies.


This Hoshin Kanri Matrix has been for only one “three year objective.” Ideally a company would have 4-6 objectives. Too many objectives can dilute the focus of the employees. The value of this approach is that everyone is aware of the overall strategic objectives, goals, and assignments.

This can be used to create alignment throughout the company. It also allows assignment and accountability for individual action steps. Any time an action step is behind schedule; the management can take corrective action to realign the organization and improve the chances of success.

Hoshin Kanri Matrix template

Visualize the actions between your strategic plans and the goals with the Hoshin Kanri Matrix excel template, useful for both managers and employees.

Download the Hoshin Kanri Matrix template

This template is exclusively for our paying Toolshero members. Click here to see if a membership is something for you!

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It’s Your Turn

What do you think? Is the Hoshin Kanri Table applicable in today’s modern organizations? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your success factors for the good Hoshin Kanri Table set up?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Kesterson, R. K. (2014). The Basics of Hoshin Kanri. CRC Press.
  2. Hutchins, M. D. (2012). Hoshin Kanri: the strategic approach to continuous improvement. Gower Publishing, Ltd.
  3. Casey, D. (2011). X Matrix: Strategy Deployment And Execution Process For Breakthrough Business Performance. Lulu.com.

How to cite this article:
Lindell, J. (2015). Hoshin Kanri Matrix. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/strategy/hoshin-kanri-matrix/

Published on: 08/25/2015 | Last update: 08/23/2023

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Jim Lindell
Article by:

Jim Lindell

Jim Lindell, CPA, CSP, CGMA is an award winning author and speaker at Thorsten Consulting. His latest book, “Controller as Business Manager” is available from the AICPA at CPA2biz.com


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