HOW TO PLAN, ORGANISE AND CONTROL
INTRODUCTION TO SUPERVISION
When we speak of the management of a company, we are referring to a specific group
of people who are responsible for carrying out the objectives of that company.
They set the targets, make the plans, provide the resources, and ensure that the results are achieved.
It follows that everyone from the managing director down to the foreman is included,
for the difference between the two is only one of degree.
The managing director is responsible for planning and carrying out long-range objectives.
The supervisor is concerned with immediate objectives and results,
and it is the cumulative results on the supervisory level which finally achieve
the objectives of the company as a whole.
So the supervisor is part of management and, as such, is involved in exactly the same type of responsibility.
- Define the objectives for his part of the organisation.
- Decide the operations necessary to achieve these objectives.
- Divide and allocate the work to be carried out.
- Institute procedures for doing the work.
- Keep his staff informed about the objectives achievements of his group.
- Instruct and motivate them to carry out their tasks.
- Co-ordinate activities and integrate them with those of other groups.
- Establish standards by which performance is to be assessed.
- Check results and take corrective action where necessary.
- Activities and Responsibilities
These are his supervisory responsibilities, and they are additional to the specific 'technical'
duties which the day-to-day job requires him to carry out.
Examples of such duties might be:
These are his functional activities.
It can be seen that the same supervisory responsibilities apply equally well to production, stores, and office supervision.
- Producing products in accordance with the requirements of production schedules.
- Ensuring that products meet quality standards.
- Maintaining discipline.
- Ensuring the observance of approved safety measures, and so on.
Whether a supervisor is in charge of a machine shop, a supermarket, or an office,
his supervisory responsibilities are the same, although his specific functional activities will obviously
differ with the nature of the job.
- Managerial Processes
We will now go further and consider the processes by which any manager discharges this supervisory responsibility.
In other words, what does he actually do?
He must PLAN
He must ORGANISE
He must MOTIVATE and CO-ORDINATE
He must CONTROL
By planning, he lays out a course of action to achieve a specific result.
By organising, he distributes planned work among his people and sets up the proper work relationships.
By co-ordinating, he brings together people, equipment, and material with correct timing so as to focus the work of his unit on common objectives.
By motivating, he stimulates men to produce results, and to work together toward the objectives he has established.
By controlling, he guides the work of his unit in the direction it is intended to go.
These management processes are the things which constitute the whole working day of every manager and every supervisor.
At any moment of time they will be doing one or other of them,
regardless of the functions in which they are employed or the activities for which they are held responsible.
It is the purpose of this text to consider three of these in detail:
The other two, motivating and coordinating, are dealt with elsewhere.
- what is involved in PLANNING.
- what is involved in ORGANISING.
- what is involved in CONTROLLING.
- The Importance of Planning
The ability to make and carry out good plans is one of the most valuable assets a manager can have.
It is the first step toward easy, smooth, and certain completion of work.
It makes work easier, since the people detailed to do the jobs know in advance where they are going,
how they can get there, and when they should arrive.
Good planning, when properly communicated to subordinates, improves working relationships and employee morale
because subordinates know the overall plan as well as their place in it.
Good planning helps in the accomplishment of tasks by enabling subordinates to go ahead with the minimum of direction.
Having a knowledge of the total plan enables them to go from one stage to the next as a matter of course.
In summary, by good planning:
And, above all else, sound and competent planning gets the best out of people.
- purposeful action is more readily achieved;
- crises are anticipated and delays avoided;
- delegation is made-easier, with less need for direction.
Brilliant people may well obtain fair results without much planning,
but with it average people can be made to produce infinitely better results.
- Approach to Planning
There is no mystery about planning. It involves turning ideas into actua1ities by a series of logical THINKING steps.
- By defining the major objective.
The major objective is the total job, the final result.
There can be only one major objective, and this must be clearly visualised before any planning can be attempted.
It may be of any magnitude, that is, creating a sales organisation or winning a war,
but no matter what it is it must be determined exactly before appropriate plans can be made.
- By breaking down into minor objectives.
People fail because they try to achieve major objectives in one swoop.
The task should be broken down into contributory minor objectives,
each clearly defined and each capable of detailed planning.
In this way, success in each small stage will add up to successful achievement of the whole plan.
- By allocating priorities for minor objectives.
The establishment of priorities is merely a matter of determining the sequence in which minor objectives
are to be accomplished.
But this sequence is important.
It is quite possible to do all the right things at the wrong time.
For instance, if the major objective is to launch a new product,
people have to be recruited before they can be trained,
samples may have to be available before the product can be sold, and so on.
The plan may require several minor objectives to be completed at the same moment.
Each may take differing amounts of time, and they must therefore have different starting priorities
to allow them all to be completed simultaneously.
Timing and scheduling is therefore a vital part of planning.
- By working out detailed plans for minor objectives.
With the overall plan broken down and correctly phased, it becomes possible to work out details
for the accomplishment of each minor objective.
At this stage the decisions which are necessary are:
What is to be done?
How is it to be done - resources, methods and means?
Who is going to do the job?
When is the job to be done - starting and finishing times
Where is the job to be done?
- By allowing for flexibility.
All the facts may not be known when plans are first made.
Later on, new data may become available.
For this reason, minor plans should be flexible enough to cater for unforeseen events or emergencies.
The necessary changes, however, should be made with the major obje0ctive 6tili clearly in view.
Sticking to detailed plans regardless of the events that take place
(even when these clearly make it advisable to change or modify the plan)
practically invites failure to reach overall objectives.
- The Application of Planning
Having considered the steps involved in planning,
we now turn our attention to the way in which they should be applied.
Planning must be applied downward in any organisation, but with the active co-operation of subordinate staff
all down the line.
Once minor objectives have been decided at the top, they become in effect major objectives for subordinates,
which they in turn will sub-divide for their own subordinates.
It follows that every level should understand the planning approach outlined
and should be able to allocate priorities and work out precise details.
Only in this way can a really major objective be broken down into the mass of detailed activities
which become necessary for its accomplishment.
In the end, only a proper job of planning by the entire supervisory staff of an organisation will ensure unified
and successful action.
PLANNING THE USE OF YOUR TIME
- Planning can be seen to involve time and effort
It is therefore hardly surprising that a great deal of work goes unplanned
because managers and supervisors, particularly in the lower echelons,
simply do not leave themselves sufficient time to do it properly.
Planning the use of time is to an important a factor to leave to chance.
Some effort devoted to finding ways of controlling its use will pay dividends.
This, then, in the important aspect of supervision which we shall next discuss.
- How Time Is Spent
Managers and supervisors can divide their work into four categories:
Routine work is that which occurs repetitively and requires little or no skill;
such as making out requisitions, duty rosters, time sheets, etc.
The major portion of every day is spent doing things which can be classed as regular work.
- routine work
- regular work
- special work
- creative work
This includes such activities as assigning jobs, carrying out inspections, writing reports, attending meetings, etc.
the daily activities that are necessary to keep departments going.
Then there is the special work which occurs in every department, perhaps involving some new project
or some 'rush' problem.
These special jobs are generally of an urgent nature, and demand the flexibility to push aside routine and regular work.
Finally, there is creative work, which includes any time devoted to planning.
There can be no denying that this is the most important part of supervision,
because it is time spent on planning which leads to lowering costs, increasing quality,
improving customer service, reducing scrap, reducing waste or the frequency of accidents,
or improving some aspect of the business to make it more efficient.
Yet most supervisors are so pre-occupied with routine, regular, and special work that they are unable
to find time to do creative work.
Doing creative work takes time.
To find this time, the supervisor or manager must learn how to get all his assigned work done in less
than a full working day.
- Establishing Priorities
What is needed to find this extra time is really no more than good work habits, self-discipline,
and organised commonsense.
There are no mysteries about the scheduling of time.
Three simple steps are needed:
- Record all the items and in orderly sequence.
If they do not go down on paper, they will eventually be forgotten.
If there is no orderly sequence something important will be ignored when it should have received attention.
As each new or additional item develops, add it immediately to the written list.
Doing so will soon become a habit, and the unnecessary strain of trying to keep track of too many things
can be avoided.
- Establish a priority for each item.
Obviously, the relative importance of the items on the list will vary.
The reasons for their importance will also differ: some may be urgent, others way involve
heavy responsibility, and so on.
Similarly, an item which may be important at eight o'clock in the morning may not be important twenty minutes later.
Because of this wide variation in the relative importance of items,
it is necessary to continually adjust priorities so that the most important matters remain at the top of the list,
to be dealt with first.
- Plan for the accomplishment of each item.
Part of the job has already been done by listing the items to be accomplished.
This spells out WHAT has to be done.
It only remains, in each case, to decide WHO is the best person to do the job,
HOW it should be done, WHERE it should be done, and WHEN it should start.
- Planned Timesaving
Further time can be saved by orderly work habits.
A time saver of first importance is the practice of grouping all the items of one type of work,
and accomplishing them at one time. These may include activities such as telephone calls, correspondence,
personal contacts, appointments, inspections, reports, and records.
Making ten telephone calls at one sitting uses a lot less time than making ten calls at different times during the day.
Similarly, grouping interplant travel into single trips saves a lot of time.
The aim should be to anticipate related items and, by grouping them together for attention,
extend the working day through planned timesaving.
- Establishing a Time Budget
Unless the supervisor established a time budget into which he schedules the time necessary for routine,
regular, special, and creative work, he will never get round to any creative work. He will never have time for it.
He will tend to postpone even regular and routine work in order to handle the special rush jobs.
A useful approach is to keep a record of daily activities in order to get some idea of the time normally
devoted to routine matters, to necessary regular work, and to special jobs.
After a while, this shou1d settle down into a pattern sufficiently accurate for rough planning purposes.
Based on this information, a time budget can be calculated in which the supervisor:
Planning in this way makes all the difference between the supervisor running a job and his letting the job run him.
It starts by planning the day in writing and using time to best advantage.
It helps to find the time needed for creative work, in the end, which really makes
the biggest contribution to the successful running of a company.
- schedules routine work
- schedules regular work
- estimates for rush jobs and urgent special work
- leaves a margin for planning and creative work
- What Organising Means
If planning is important, so too is organisation.
In order to manage, a manager must develop the kind of organisation which will carry out his plans
and enable him to reach his objectives
To do this:
Organisation is thus concerned with the total configuration of duties responsibilities and
relationships needed to get work done in an orderly fashion.
We shall consider some of the more important principles involved.
- He must divide the work of his unit so that the work of one person does not duplicate
or overlap the work done by others.
He must first spell 5out everything that needs to be done, and then divide it into manageable parcels
which can be handled by individuals.
Each such 'work package' must be made up of closely-related activities which suit
the knowledge, skills, and ability of those who will do the work.
- He must see that each person knows exactly what he is expected to do, and to whom he should turn for direction.
This means that each worker must know what he can do and what he cannot do, who is his boss and who is not.
- He must establish orderly working relationships which result in a minimum of human friction
and a maximum of human effectiveness.
- The Need For Clarity
If an employee has to take orders and directions from more than one superior, this results in:
Work should therefore be organised so that each employee reports to,
takes orders from, and is responsible to, only one superior
This important principle is known as UNITY OF COMMAND
To ensure the effectiveness of unity of command,
the following steps should be taken by every manager or supervisor:
- conflicting orders and directions.
- confused employees.
- increased errors.
- less effective and productive work.
- Draw up a chart of the organisation and explain it to everybody concerned.
This will make the proper channels clear.
- Train subordinates to accept orders only from their immediate superiors, but not to withhold co-operation.
- Carefully define the content of all jobs, preferably in writing and for everyone to see.
These documents should clearly show who is in overall charge of the work described.
- Grouping Similar Activities
We introduce the next principle by reminding ourselves that the most important resource at the disposal of managers
is the available manpower.
This is not simply a group of men and women but a collection of individuals with different talents,
background, age, and experience; and with different motivations.
Each must be set a task suitable to his ability.
The problem is how best to do this in the interests of efficiency.
At first sight, efficiency might suggest that all similar activities
should be grouped together to be performed by an individual employee or a single department.
This principle is called SIMILARITY OF ASSJGNMENT.
An excellent example of this is the practice common in the car industry.
In assembly-line production each man has only one small job to do:
one might place a nut on a bolt, another run it down, and yet a third tighten it.
The theory is that this breaking down of a task assures efficiency and speed,
but it is possible to have too rigid an approach to this.
What might happen in practice is that the work would become so monotonous that men,
accustomed to doing the job mechanically, would allow their attention to wander.
The result could be an injured hand or a ruined product,
but would almost certainly be a drop in efficiency.
The opposite extreme is to assign a multiplicity of functions to one job.
Here, situations arise where it is difficult for one person to have all the skills
needed to do the work, and equally poor results are likely to be obtained.
A typical case is the man employed by a small, privately-owned firm and expected to
perform all the functions of the business.
For instance, a clerk in a small furniture store might be expected to do everything
connected with the operation of the store. His job might cover everything from purchase to sales,
including receipt, storage, display, selling, recording, packing, and dispatching the product.
The result could only be inefficiency.
In organising work, therefore, the manager must stream-line it as far as possible,
bearing in mind the principle of similarity of assignment but also catering to his best advantage
for the varied skills and talents of his subordinates.
- Span of Control
Similarly, he will need to think carefully how many employees can be directed and
controlled effectively by one man this number is known as the SPAN OF CONTROL.
In practice, the number is very much influenced by the degree of skill involved in the work.
The more routine the job, the more persons one man can supervise, because there are less decisions
to be made and standards are easier to set and check.
As work becomes more skilled more decisions have to be made the work is more likely to be
subject to close standards and checks, and conditions and results become increasingly varied
Consequently, one supervisor can direct only a few skilled persons.
Similarly, span of control will be affected by the remoteness of the work force.
The closer subordinates are, the easier it is to direct them and supervise their work.
If a supervisor has, men scattered about the plant he can give only limited time to each.
He can only see and check a portion of the output;
while he is dealing with a problem in one place, his other workers will get no direction.
In such circumstances he must reduce the numbers reporting to him for supervision.
Again, short-term jobs are easier to supervise than long-term projects,
because less direction and control are involved.
In organising work, therefore, these factors must be borne in mind and steps taken to ensure
that no one is given more sub-ordinates than he can properly handle.
It will probably be a matter of trial and error, but the following danger symptoms must
constantly be looked for:
- flagging output
- increased scrap
- poor morale
- repeated requests for instructions
DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY
- Working Through People
It is clear from what has been said so far that the manager or supervisor is always working
By dividing up work and entrusting it to an appropriate number of subordinates,
he has started the process of delegation
The ability to delegate is probably the most important of all the skills a manager must
Unless he can delegate properly and well, he can only end up attempting to do all the work
Yet all too often there is a reluctance to 'give sub-ordinates their heads' and to delegate
work freely and completely.
This reluctance arises from human weaknesses which a manager cannot really afford to have,
But whether he likes it or not, the manager, by the very nature of his job, has no alternative
except to work through people.
He must develop the capacity to do two things:
- an over developed sense of perfection
- lack of confidence in the ability of others to do the job
- reluctance to admit that someone else might know wore than he does
- fear of being shown up or undermined
- fear of not getting credit
- fear of subordinates advancing too quickly
- jealousy, pettiness, and narrow-mindedness
- Believe in people.
Too many managers in industry regard their subordinates with doubt and suspicion,
but a man should be considered innocent until events prove him well and truly guilty.
From time to time we may be let down (perhaps badly) by this attitude,
but in the end its advantages will far outweigh its disadvantages.
- Keep failings in proportion.
Again, some managers judge their subordinates on the basis of their obvious failings.
It is important not only to recognise these, but to note positive characteristics as well.
In most cases, we will be well advised to put to one side the weaknesses (though not forgetting them),
and to develop and play on people's strengths. Only by this attitude is delegation possible.
- What to Delegate
The key question in delegation is:
What work can a manager safely entrust to others and what must he perform himself?
Broadly speaking, the manager should always keep responsibility for initiating plans
and for final decisions, but he could safely delegate intermediate detail, and the
routine operating work he would otherwise have to perform himself.
He certainly should delegate:
There are always many occasions when a manager or supervisor could safely get a junior
subordinate to stand in for him, to give him experience - e.g., meetings, committees, etc.
- Anything in his own job which subordinates can do better than himself, perhaps because of more direct knowledge of the detailed phases involved.
- Anything which subordinates can do at less expense. They may take longer but, salary wise, the total may still be cheaper.
- Anything which they can do quicker or with better timing. (Perfect handling of a situation may 1ose its value if delayed because of other priorities.)
- Anything which might make an unusually valuable contribution to the training and development of subordinates.
- 'Rules' for Delegation
Whatever is delegated; the following 'rules' should be borne in mind:
(a) Nobody should be instructed to perform a task which is beyond his capabilities,
in terms either of skill or time.
(b) Delegation does not absolve the superior from his personal responsibility.
If he delegates a job to a subordinate who fails to do it properly, the blame for failure
must be accepted by the superior.
The final responsibility remains with him and not with the subordinate.
In practice these 'rules' are less difficult than they might appear at first sight.
By careful selection of work, careful selection of subordinates and thorough briefing,
it is possible to delegate a great deal in complete safety, and with marked increase in
The right approach can be summarised as follows:
- Tell the subordinate what he is to do. Be specific, thorough, and clear
- Tell him what specific results he is expected to accomplish and give him an exact description of what will be considered acceptable and satisfactory
- Tell him with whom he should work, and what those others will be expected to do
- Tell him what kind of progress reports are wanted, when, and how often
- Tell him under what conditions he should call for assistance
- Give him the assignment and let him do it
- The Importance of Giving Authority
Responsibilities assigned to an individual must carry with them the necessary authority for
This authority should be clearly defined and the sub-ordinate concerned should be informed
of its extent.
He should also be told the limitations of his delegated authority.
This information should also be made available to any others who may be concerned in any way.
It should state quite clearly:
Without this authority, the subordinate is powerless to act on his own initiative.
He will either tackle the work in a hesitant and indecisive manner or, not knowing the
limitations, will do things it was never intended he should do - sometimes with disastrous results -
but in neither case can he be held accountable for the success or failure of his efforts.
Very little purpose, in terms of results, will be achieved by such 'delegation'.
- what he can do on his own initiative without any reference to his superior
- what he has to report after taking action
- what areas require prior sanction before action
- Control as the Key to Good Management
We come finally to the last of the supervisory processes by which work entrusted to
subordinates is made to produce the results originally planned for -
this is the process of control.
The results of a business enterprise are largely achieved through the control exercised by
managers and supervisors all down the line.
If each one effectively controls the activities for which he is responsible, the firm will
function according to plan.
But if adequate control is not achieved, plans will go 'off course', targets will be missed,
and results will not be obtained.
In summary, therefore, controls are necessary to ensure:
The important thing to note is that we are talking about control procedures all down the line.
Just as important as central budgets and financial control are the steps taken by the
supervisor on the shop floor to ensure that some minor job goes exactly according to plan,
that each operator has produced what he should have done by the time required, etc.
Control is the key to good management.
The basis of control lies in setting exact performance requirements before embarking upon a
plan of work, then arranging for a continual feedback of information which will enable
progress to be checked and corrective action to be taken in good time.
- Concerted effort toward objectives
- Coordinated direction
- Efficient achievement of results
- Knowing What to Aim At
First and foremost, the supervisor must obviously control the quantity of work because costs
are directly influenced by the amount of useful work produced per man-hour.
Standards of output can be set for most types of work in which the tasks can be broken down
and suitable time measurements taken. The ideal standard is one set a little above what
the average worker can do easily, day after day.
The responsibility of the supervisor, therefore, is to know exactly what the standards are
and what each of his operators is (a) producing, and (b) capable of producing.
In a similar way, he should be in a position to control the quality of work by means of
quality standards - set only as high as is necessary.
He will also be responsible for:
Whatever it is he is controlling, the supervisor (and the manager at any level) should be
quite clear in his own mind about what standards he is aiming to meet
- output, time, cost, or any other factor in performance.
When allocating work to his sub-ordinates, he must be in a position to set them precise
objectives which can be measured in some way or another.
And he must make quite sure that they understand and accept these objectives before the
- Meeting time standard
- Meeting cost standards
- Procedures for doing the work
- Steps in Achieving Results
With this background, we are now in a position to see the whole of the control process summarised
as a series of steps for achieving results:
- Set objectives
Use standards which can be measured.
- Check progress
Measure the work progress against the objectives set.
- Interpret results
Find out the reasons for variations from the objectives.
Variations may be good or bad:
if they are bad, the supervisor will have to correct them;
if they are good, he will want to plan for more such variations.
- Take corrective action
Unwanted variations from standard - correct the situation that caused them.
Good variations from standard - change plans to get these results regularly instead of accidentally.
But quite apart from putting matters right, remember to discuss the corrective action
with every subordinate whom it affects. No individual can develop into a better worker
unless he is continuously increasing his skill, gaining knowledge, changing his habits,
and assuming more constructive attitudes.
A time should be set aside in advance for supplying help and information wherever needed.
If this is not planned in advance, the necessary time can be found only by disrupting the
functioning of the organisation. It is of little use going to all the trouble of deciding
what should be done, analysing what has been done, and determining what action is needed,
if no action is taken.
If such situations arise, we obviously have not learned: 'How to Plan, Organise and Control'.