PLANNING TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES
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NATURE OF PLANNING
• Judgement made by a manager in various activities.
• Minimizes mistakes during decision-making.
• Provides a methodological way of achieving desired results.
• Serves as a useful guide.
DEFINITION OF PLANNING
It refers to the management function that involves anticipating future trends and determining the best strategies and tactics to achieve organizational objectives.
Relates the future on what could be decided in the present.
• Aldag and Stearns:
The selection and sequential ordering of tasks required to achieve an organizational goal.
Centers on the activity required to accomplish the goals.
• Cole and Hamiltion:
Deciding what will be done, who will do it, where, when and how it will be done and the standards to which it will be done.
Guide on how to effectively perform vital activity.
• Top Management requires Strategic planning
• Middle Management requires Intermediate planning
• Lower Management requires Operational planning
STRATEGIC PLANNING (Top Management)
Refers to the process of determining the major goals of the organization and the policies and strategies for obtaining and using resources to achieve those goals.
Strategic plan is the output of strategic planning which is defined as the decision about long- range goals and the course of action to achieve these goals.
INTERMEDIATE PLANNING (Middle Management)
Refers to the process of determining the contributions that subunits can make with allocated resources. Under it, the goals of a subunit are determined and intermediate plan is prepared to provide a guide to the realization of the goals.
Intermediate plan is designed to support strategic plan.
OPERATIONAL PLANNING (Lower Management)
Refers to the process of determining how specific task can best be accomplished on time with available resources.
Operational plan is designed to support both strategic and intermediate plan.
The process of planning depends on the management level that performs planning task, but in general, planning involves the following:
• Setting organizational, divisional, or unit goals.
• Developing strategies or tactics to reach those goals.
• Determining resources needed.
• Setting standards.
SETTING ORGANIZATIONAL, DIVISIONAL OR UNIT GOALS
The first task of an engineer manager is to provide a sense of direction to his firm, this sense of direction is called goals. Goal is defined as the precise statement of results sought quantified in time and magnitude, where possible. If everybody in the firm is aware of the goals, there is a big chance that everybody will contribute his share in the realization of such goals.
DEVELOPING STRATEGIES OR TACTICS TO REACH GOALS
The next task is to devise some means to realize the goals. The ways of realizing the goals is called strategy. A strategy is defines as the course of action aimed at ensuring that the organization will achieve its objective.
A tactic is a short-term action taken by management to adjust to negative internal or external influences. The decision about short-term goal and the courses of action are indicated in the tactical plan.
DETERMINING RESOURCES NEEDED
The next thing that an engineer manager will do is to determine the human and nonhuman resources required by such strategies or tactics. These resources must be specified despite of its availability.
The quality and quantity of resources needed must be correctly determined. Too much resource will result to waste and too little resources means loss of opportunities for maximizing the goal.
To satisfy strategic requirements, a general statement of needed requirements must be stated and specific requirements will be determined by different units of company.
A standard is defined as a quantitative or qualitative measuring device designed to help monitor the performances of people, capital goods, or processes. This standards for measuring performances are set during planning stage and so when the actual performance does not match the standard performance, immediate action, correction and reinforcement maybe made.
TYPES OF PLANS
Plans are classified in terms of functional areas, time horizon and frequency used.
FUNCTIONAL AREA PLANS
This type of plan is according to the needs of the different functional area.
• Marketing plan is the written document or blueprint for implementing and controlling an organization’s marketing activities related to a particular marketing strategy.
• Production plan is the written document that states the quantity of output a company must produce in broad terms and by product family.
• Financial plan is a document that summarizes the current financial situation of the firm, analyzes financial needs and recommends a direction for financial activities.
• Human Resource Management plan is a document that indicates the human resource needs of a company detailed in terms of quantity and quality and based on the requirements of the company’s strategic plan.
PLANS WITH TIME HORIZON
• Short-range plans are plans intended to cover a period of less than one year.
• Long-range plans are plans covering a time span of more than one year.
PLANS ACCORDING TO FREQUENCY USED
• Standing plans are plans that are used again and again, and focus on managerial situations that recur repeatedly.
Policies are broad guidelines to aid managers at every level in making decision about recurring situations or functions.
Procedures are plans that describe the exact series of actions to be taken in a given situation.
Rules are statements that either require or forbid a certain action.
• Single-Use plans are specifically developed to implement courses of action that are relatively unique and are unlikely to be repeated.
Budget is a plan which sets forth the projected expenditures for a certain activity and explains where the required funds will come from.
Program is designed to coordinate a large set of activities.
Project is usually more limited in scope than a program and is sometime prepared to support program.
CONTENTS OF PLANS
• Executive Summary
• Table of Contents
• Situational Analysis and Target Market
• Marketing Objectives and Goals
• Marketing Strategies
• Marketing Tactics
• Schedules and Budgets
• Financial Data and Control
• The amount of capacity the company must have
• The number of employees required
• The number of materials to be purchased
• An analysis of the firm’s current financial condition as indicated by an analysis of the most recent statement
• A sales forecast
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLAN
• Personnel requirement of the company
• Plans for recruitment and selection
• Training plan
• Retirement plan
• Company or corporate mission
• Objectives or goals
Company or corporate mission refers to the strategic statement that identifies why an organization exists, its philosophy of management, and its purpose as distinguished from other similar organizations in terms of products, services and markets.
MAKING PLANS EFFECTIVE
Planning may be made successful if the following are observed:
• Recognize the planning barriers
• Use of aids to planning
Planning barriers according to Plunkett and Attner:
• Manager’s inability to plan
• Improper planning process
• Lack of commitment to the planning process
• Improper information
• Focusing on the present at the expense of the future
• Too much reliance on the planning department
• Concentrating on only the controllable variables
Aid of planning:
• Gather as much information as possible
• Develop multiple sources of information
• Involve others in the planning process