Strategic Planning as a Batch and Queue Process

Article Revised: March 26, 2019

Anyone familiar with lean six sigma knows that batch and queue is a wasteful approach to production. Batch and queue begins with a long term forecast. The forecast is used to create production schedules, which are used in turn to place orders for materials that won’t be used until a date far in the future. The production processes are fragmented, with inventory collecting between the steps. Even if the forecast is accurate, the result is waste, waste, and more waste. If the forecast isn’t accurate, which is common, it’s even worse.

Now, think about strategic planning. It is an attempt to forecast the future. The forecast, combined with insights about competitors, customers, and one’s own organization, is used to develop plans. Resources are allocated to the plans and projects and actions taken to implement them. Frequently the forecasts are wrong, or competitors do something unexpected, or something else makes the plans obsolete. In short, batch-and-queue planning produces results similar to batch-and-queue production.

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