The problem of oversophistication in planning systems - Strategic Management

The planning system should not be too sophisticated for the company it is serving. A company which lacks elementary basic management tools, such as market research, management information systems, or adequate budgetary control, is not ready for a planning process that is too complex. Many planners try to use advanced planning techniques immediately and design systems which depend on these. This list of problem areas, when read in relation to the rest of this book, has a parallel with the type of instruction book which frequently comes with cars, washing machines, or other complex domestic appliances. Each part of the car is described in some detail, and the buyer is shown what it is, what it does, and what he should do. Nevertheless, at the end of the booklet there is a checklist of faults.

If the engine does not start check (a) the ignition is switched on, (b) there is petrol in the car, (c) the plug leads are connected – and so it goes on. Often the checklist enables the driver to take swift corrective action. It prevents him from calling a mechanic when all that is wrong is that he has not turned on the ignition.

Testing an Existing plan process

This list of failure areas is presented with something of the same purpose in mind. It is needed because we live in a real world where opinions are often in twilight shades of grey rather than the jet black and brilliant white of the textbooks.

The checklist provides an opportunity for a reconsideration to be made of the importance of the issue. Often what goes wrong with the introduction of planning is just one of these very simple areas discussed in this chapter – as simple as turning the ignition key, and as stultifying on all progression if the action is omitted. If it prevents him from calling in an expert to correct it, the list will have had as much value as the handbook which avoids finding a mechanic for such simple problems.

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