What is planning? What is the process and importance of planning?

The planning process is the steps to takes to develop and guide the future activities. The documents developed may include:

  • Strategic plans (long-range, high-level company goals)
  • Tactical plans (shorter-term, specific plans to work toward goals in the strategic plan)
  • Operating plans (detailed plans for a specific department to implement)
  • Project plans (plans to implement projects such as launching new products or building a new plant)

How Does the Process Work?

Although the specific steps differ slightly from company to company and depend on which type of plan you’re developing, there are general steps that should be taken in order to ensure a good result. The steps in the planning process are:

  • Develop objectives
  • Develop tasks to meet those objectives
  • Determine resources needed to implement tasks
  • Create a timeline
  • Determine tracking and assessment method
  • Finalize plan
  • Distribute to all involved in the process.

Importance of planning

Increases efficiency: Planning makes optimum utilization of all available resources. It helps to reduce the wastage of valuable resources and avoids their duplication. It aims to give the highest returns at the lowest possible cost. It thus increases the overall efficiency.

Reduces business-related risks: There are many risks involved in any modern business. Planning helps to forecast these business-related risks. It also helps to take the necessary precautions to avoid these risks and prepare for future uncertainties in advance. Thus, it reduces business risks.

Facilitates proper coordination: Often, the plans of all departments of an organization are well coordinated with each other. Similarly, the short-term, medium-term and long-term plans of an organization are also coordinated with each other. Such proper coordination is possible only because of efficient planning.

Aids in Organizing: Organizing means to bring together all available resources, i.e. Organizing is not possible without planning. It is so, since, planning tells us the number of resources required and when are they needed. It means that planning aids in organizing in an efficient way.

Gives right direction: Direction means to give proper information, accurate instructions and useful guidance to the subordinates. It is impossible without planning. It is because planning tells us what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Therefore, planning helps to give the right direction.

Keeps good control: With control, the actual performance of an employee is compared with the plans, and deviations (if any) are found out and corrected. It is impossible to achieve such control without the right planning. Therefore, planning becomes necessary to keep good control.

Helps to achieve objectives: Every organization has certain objectives or targets. It keeps working hard to fulfill these goals. Planning helps an organization to achieve these aims, but with some ease and promptness. Planning also helps an organization to avoid doing some random (done by chance) activities.

Motivates personnel: A good plan provides various financial and non-financial incentives to both managers and employees. These incentives motivate them to work hard and achieve the objectives of the organization. Thus, planning through various incentives helps to motivate the personnel of an organization.

Encourages creativity and innovation: Planning helps managers to express their creativity and innovation. It brings satisfaction to the managers and eventually a success to the organization.

Helps in decision-making: A manager makes many different plans. Then the manager selects or chooses the best of all available strategies. Making a selection or choosing something means to take a decision. So, decision-making is facilitated by planning.