What are the various steps involved in the process of planning? | Planning Process

To a great extent success of any organization depends upon planning. The business planning process involves the setting up of business goals and the allocation of resources for achieving them. Though there will be different plans to meet different situations in different types of business yet scientific Planning must go through the following stages:

1. Awareness of opportunity or problem: The first step in the planning process is the awareness of business opportunities. Is however there is some problem in the business it must be identified and recognized because plans are made to solve business problems, attain certain business objectives, or avail the benefits of any opportunity.

2. Collecting and analyzing necessary information: Before actual planning is initiated relevant facts and figures are collected in detail classified and analyzed. This analysis of the facts will provide a sound basis in the preparation of the plan.

3. Determining planning premises or limitations: plans are always based upon estimates and forecasts which may or may not be accurate. For example, the expectation of demand for the product may or may not come true. Therefore this limitation should also be taken note of while preparing a plan.

4. Determining objectives: plans should be goal-oriented definite and clear objectives of the plan should be established in verifiable terms. The tie between planning and objectives helps workers to understand their duties. Objectives are the guides to the workers. The objectives should be properly formulated and communicated to all the members of the enterprise.

5. Examining the alternate course of action and selecting the best course: Generally, there are a number of ways of doing a particular job for example goods can be produced manually, mechanically, buy automatic machines of advanced computerized technique. Depending upon the resources best results can be achieved only when the best way of doing the work is selected. Therefore all the merits and demerits should be studied before the final selection of the method is made.

6. Formulating secondary plans: once a main plan or master plan is prepared than a number of supportive plans are required. For example, once the production plan is finalized secondary plans regarding finance, raw material, acquisition of plant, equipment and tools training of worker, etc. are formulated. It should be ensured that the secondary plans are always in conformity with the main plan.

7. Implementation of plans: once the plans are formulated they need to be implemented. The implementation will require the establishment of policies, procedures, standards, and budgets.

8. Evaluation and follow-up: in order to ascertain that the plans are proceeding in the right direction and desired pace, it is necessary to devise a system of time to time evaluation and appraisal of the plan. If shortcomings are noticed they should be reported immediately so that remedial action is taken before it is too late.

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