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CHAPTER 9 PLANNING TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES 1. INTRODUCTION. This chapter introduces a number of the basic planning tools and techniques that can assist managers in their activities. In addition, a very practical and personal planning tool, time management, is presented at the end of the chapter. 2. TECHNIQUES FOR ASSESSING THE ENVIRONMENT. Several techniques have been developed to assist managers in assessing the organization's environment. A. Environmental scanning involves the screening of much information to detect emerging trends and create scenarios. It is used by both large and small organizations. Two specific techniques are described next. 1. Competitor intelligence is an environmental scanning activity that seeks to identify who competitors are, what they're doing, and how their actions will affect the focus organization. 2. A scenario is a consistent view of what the future is likely to be. Developing scenarios allows management to see the impact of different assumptions on outcomes. B. Forecasting involves developing forecasts which are predictions of future outcomes. 1. There are two popular types of forecasts. a. Revenue forecasting is predicting future revenues. b. Technological forecasting is predicting changes in technology and when new technologies are likely to be economically feasible. 2. There are also two categories of forecasting techniques. a. Quantitative forecasting applies a set of mathematical rules to a series of past data to predict future outcomes.
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b. Qualitative forecasting involves judgment and opinions of knowledgeable individuals to predict future outcomes. 3. Forecasting effectiveness is affected by the following elements. a. Forecasting techniques are most accurate in a static environment. b. Some suggestions for improving forecasting effectiveness are as follows: 1. Use simple forecasting techniques. 2. Compare every forecast with "no change." 3. Don't rely on a single forecasting method. 4. Don't assume that you can accurately identify turning points in a trend. 5. Shorten the length of the forecasts. C. Benchmarking for TQM. Benchmarking is defined as the search for the best practice among competitors or noncompetitors that lead to their superior performance. The benchmarking process typically follows four steps. 1. The organization forms a benchmarking team whose initial task is to identify what is to be benchmarket, identify comparative organizations, and determine data collection methods. 2. The team collects internal and external data. 3.
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