Planning is an important part of doing business. At the outset it may seem time consuming and not entirely useful. Good planning often leads to effective management of resources since everything is taken thought of ahead.
Plans can change from time to time, with changing business environment. They help us navigate, when the business starts growing. This all helps all members of the team like the CEO, managers see if they are on the same page. Planning as an important business activity helps bring clarity to future action. It also helps give everyone an idea where they are headed in terms of individual goals. In addition to short-term targets plans give businesses the long-range vision that helps them aspire for more.
Plans can be strategic or operational. Strategic plans list the statement of goals .It helps guide the broad direction of the company, and the strategies it hopes to use to achieve this. This is final goal and first step the company needs to achieve and take. It is small on details and big on broad objectives such as the mission statement. Strategic goals are the course setter, which the ship uses to travel. Here the market is marked, goals set and key objectives laid down.
Short-term goals are set in the Operating Plan. Long term goals or strategic goals are achieved through smaller more implement driven plans. These plans are usually a year old. They are arrived at with the inputs of multiple departments (finance/manufacturing/sales/marketing). These plans by departments usually have goals, facilities, budget and challenges.
The Production plan will include monthly production targets based on sales forecasts. It will include possible downtimes; materials required and inventory level maintenance. The team will assess challenges it may have. For example supplier related issues. The plan must include such challenges to arrive at a realistic plan.
Sales and Marketing Plan will aim at maximising sales through its direct and indirect sales efforts. Sales team management with targets, key customer management targets all form part of this team‘s planning efforts.
Financial Plan will look at budget outlays for each department. It will also show goals and revenue targets.
Research and Development Department will usually focus on new product development. This is true of companies that deal with proprietary products. In other cases, they look at improving existing products or handle product related queries. The associated costs will be listed in the plan. New product developments for the coming year will also be outlined in the plan.
All goals need to achievable, measurable, relevant and trackable. This will help the company achieve its strategic goals.