From business and industrial point of view, ‘Planning’ means that determination of objectives and goals, and work is to be accomplished. Determination of objectives and goals is the first step of the planning process.
Planning is a method or technique of looking ahead. A constructive reviewing of future needs so that present actions can be adjusted in view of the established goal.
Nature and Characteristics of Planning
Following are the nature and characteristics of planning in business management:
1. Primary Function
Planning is the primary function of business management.
Various other activities of Management, like, organization, direction, coordination, motivation, and control are carried out, only after this function.
Planning is the primary and important function of management.
If planning is not done, it will not be possible to start and successfully accomplish other activities also, the reason being that Planning builds the structure or outline for the execution of other functions of the management.
2. Intellectual and Mental Activity
Planning is an intellectual and mental activity since the best alternatives are selected in the process of planning.
Planning depends upon the imaginative power, foresightedness, well-considered thinking, knowledge, and ability, etc. of the persons.
Planning is an intellectual process, for which creative thinking and imagination are essential.
Hence, it is evident that planning is an intellectual and mental process.
3. Based on Objectives and Goals
The main objective of planning is to accomplish the objectives of the enterprise efficiently.
Every individual, group, department, and institution works with specific objectives and goals.
A business manager cannot determine the activities to be undertaken in the future, without a clear determination of the objectives. No activity may be efficiently implemented without the determination of objectives.
Hence, planning depends upon the objectives and a manager formulates his plans, in the context of the predetermined objectives.
4. Process of Looking Forward or Ahead
Planning is a process to look towards the future because it relates to future activities.
In Planning, decisions for the future are taken presently, considering future circumstances.
In other words, planning is the process of looking forward in the future, meaning thereby, what will be done in the future, and how it will be done, who will do it and when, answers to such questions are predetermined in Planning, so that the activities may be executed and operated in the future.
5. Basically, It is a Choosing Process
Planning is basically a choosing process because at the first stage various alternatives are selected and thereafter the best of them is chosen.
Planning is basically a choosing process and planning is Born with the finding of various alternatives.
If various alternatives are not available for the solution of any problem, planning will not be required.
So, the nature and characteristics of planning in management are very must.
6. Continuous and Dynamic Process
Planning is a continuous process because the planning of activities goes on continuously right from the Inception of the idea for the starting of the business to its accomplishment.
The second plan after the first and third plan after the second, and so on, goes on, irrespective of changes taken place in goals, policies, methods, sources of Enterprises and circumstances, etc.
Since no person can feel fully assured about the future course of events.
Hence, required adjustments (changes or revisions) to be made in the plan, with changes in the circumstances.
The element is of future planning more comprehensive and dynamic.
7. Pervasiveness Function
Planning is a pervasive function.
It is required for Business (trade, commerce, and industries), non-business (social, political, religious, cultural), management (organization, direction, coordination, motivation, and control) activities, at all levels of Management and in all department (production, finance, marketing, personnel).
The scope of planning will be as wide, as the height of the level of the organization.
Unity is also the main feature of planning. ‘Unity’ has meant the execution of only one plan at a time.
Otherwise, the apprehensions of misunderstandings, confusions, spreading of anarchy maybe remain.
9. Interdependent Process
Planning is an interdependent process. The programs of an enterprise are divided into various parts, like production, purchase, sales, personnel department, etc.
Although all these departments have their own plans, these are the constituents of the overall plan of the enterprise.
The departmental plans are interrelated, like products and will have to be increased on increase in sales and for increased production, the purchase by the purchasing department will also increase and it will have an effect on other departmental plans also.
10. Process Based on Forecastings
Planning is a process based on forecasts, because, under it, the works to be done in the future are forecasted in advance.
Planning is the synthesis of all types of forecasts, maybe short term or long term, or general or specific.”
For that, he has recommended yearly and ten-yearly forecasts. But, in ten yearly forecasts, necessary revisions should be made at least after five years.
So, These features of planning in management are very essential.
11. Planning is Basically, Decision Making
Planning is basically decision making because, in the form of decision making, the decision is taken for choosing the best possible modality from the alternative activities and modalities, in the process of planning.
Every activity performed by a manager is based on decisions.
But, planning and decision making have a difference.
The scope of planning is wider than that of decision making.
12. Integral Part of Organization
Planning is an integral part of the organization because building up an effective organization is possible only through planning, otherwise, the organization may be imagined even.
13. Other Characteristics and Nature
Following are some other nature and characteristics of planning:
- Planning is regarded as a measurement of the ability, efficiency, and skills of the managers.
- Planning is the flexible function of management because changes are made in it, according to circumstances.
- Functions of planning are that of a guide.
Thus, now you know the nature and characteristics of planning in business.