Businesses stores receive enough, but not excess, inventory.

Businesses can have a good strategy, but will fail if they don’t execute.

In this lesson, you will learn how tactical plans help turn a strategy into specific, action-oriented steps.

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Strategic vs. Tactical Plans

All successful businesses have goals, whether the business is a Fortune 500 industry leader or the subject of a business plan that only exists in someone’s mind. While these goals are necessary to succeed, many great companies have failed because their managers weren’t able to translate their strategic objectives and goals into tactical plans.

Goals and strategies focus on long-term, big-picture outcomes and reflect a general approach to conducting business. For example, a local restaurateur might have a strategy to offer the freshest food in town. Simply saying they are the freshest doesn’t give anyone information about how they will be the freshest. That’s when tactical planning occurs.

Tactical planning is focused on specific outcomes, a shorter time-frame, and stated steps. For the local restaurant owner that wants to serve fresh food, tactical plans may include entering into contracts with local growers to ensure adequate supplies of ingredients, modifying the menu as seasons change to reflect the fresh food available, and developing policies that specify when ingredients are too old to use.

Making Good Tactical Plans

Just like a strategic plan, tactical plans need to reflect the priorities of management and utilize the strengths of the organization and the employees. Tactical plans must also have a clear and logical link to the strategic plan.

If management sets a strategic plan focused on increasing sales through new customer acquisitions, but the sales team sets tactical plans focused on increasing customer service on existing accounts, there is a disconnect between the tactical plans and the strategic goal.

Everyone Can Have Tactical Plans

The most successful companies are made up of people who are able to take the strategic plan of the company and turn them into tactical plans that they can execute. If a large retailer sets the strategic goal of gaining 10% market share in a key region, everyone in the company needs to translate that goal into tactical plans and then execute.Staff in the physical stores might set tactical plans that ensure customers are happy and inventory is adequately stocked. The accounting team at headquarters might have tactical plans that focus on optimizing the use of capital and efficiently getting information to store managers that will help them make decisions.

The supply-chain team might have tactical plans related to making sure the stores receive enough, but not excess, inventory. The marketing and advertising department will have tactical goals related to attracting new customers and sales. The degree to which these departments successfully execute their tactical plans will determine if the strategic plan is achieved.Tactical plans can also be used by individuals. If your strategic goal is to better prepare yourself for a new career, you might have a goal of getting a college degree. That is your strategic goal, and your tactical goals include what school you attend, what classes you take, and even the topics you write about.

Lesson Summary

Tactical planning is focused on specific outcomes, a shorter time-frame, and stated steps. Tactical plans need to reflect the priorities of management and utilize the strengths of the organization and the employees and have a clear and logical link to the strategic plan.

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