Define ‘Planning’. Explain its importance.

All organizations whether it is the government, a private business or small businessman require planning. To turn their dreams of increase in sale, earning high profit and getting success in business all businessmen have to think about future; make predictions and achieve target. To decide what to do, how to do and when to do they do planning.

Meaning:

Planning can be defined as “thinking in advance what is to be done, when it is to be done, how it is to be done and by whom it should be done”. In simple words we can say, planning bridges the gap between where we are standing today and where we want to reach.
Planning involves setting objectives and deciding in advance the appropriate course of action to achieve these objectives so we can also define planning as setting up of objectives and targets and formulating an action plan to achieve them.
Another important ingredient of planning is time. Plans are always developed for a fixed time period as no business can go on planning endlessly.
Keeping in mind the time dimension we can define planning as “Setting objectives for a given time period, formulating various courses of action to achieve them and then selecting the best possible alternative from the different courses of actions”.

Importance/Significance of Planning:

1. Planning provides Direction:

Planning is concerned with predetermined course of action. It provides the directions to the efforts of employees. Planning makes clear what employees have to do, how to do, etc. By stating in advance how work has to be done, planning provides direction for action. Employees know in advance in which direction they have to work. This leads to Unity of Direction also. If there were no planning, employees would be working in different directions and organisation would not be able to achieve its desired goal.

2. Planning Reduces the risk of uncertainties:

Organisations have to face many uncertainties and unexpected situations every day. Planning helps the manager to face the uncertainty because planners try to foresee the future by making some assumptions regarding future keeping in mind their past experiences and scanning of business environments. The plans are made to overcome such uncertainties. The plans also include unexpected risks such as fire or some other calamities in the organisation. The resources are kept aside in the plan to meet such uncertainties.

3. Planning reduces over lapping and wasteful activities:

The organisational plans are made keeping in mind the requirements of all the departments. The departmental plans are derived from main organisational plan. As a result there will be co-ordination in different departments. On the other hand, if the managers, non-managers and all the employees are following course of action according to plan then there will be integration in the activities. Plans ensure clarity of thoughts and action and work can be carried out smoothly.

4. Planning Promotes innovative ideas:

Planning requires high thinking and it is an intellectual process. So, there is a great scope of finding better ideas, better methods and procedures to perform a particular job. Planning process forces managers to think differently and assume the future conditions. So, it makes the managers innovative and creative.

5. Planning Facilitates Decision Making:

Planning helps the managers to take various decisions. As in planning goals are set in advance and predictions are made for future. These predictions and goals help the manager to take fast decisions.

6. Planning establishes standard for controlling:

Controlling means comparison between planned and actual output and if there is variation between both then find out the reasons for such deviations and taking measures to match the actual output with the planned. But in case there is no planned output then controlling manager will have no base to compare whether the actual output is adequate or not.
For example, if the planned output for a week is 100 units and actual output produced by employee is 80 units then the controlling manager must take measures to bring the 80 unit production upto 100 units but if the planned output, i.e., 100 units is not given by the planners then finding out whether 80 unit production is sufficient or not will be difficult to know. So, the base for comparison in controlling is given by planning function only.

7. Focuses attention on objectives of the company:

Planning function begins with the setting up of the objectives, policies, procedures, methods and rules, etc. which are made in planning to achieve these objectives only. When employees follow the plan they are leading towards the achievement of objectives. Through planning, efforts of all the employees are directed towards the achievement of organisational goals and objectives.