Planning is the first and foremost function of management, without planning it is difficult for any organization to survive because planning is the base on which other activities of the company are worked upon. In order to understand more about planning let’s look at some of the features of planning –
- The first and foremost feature of planning is that it helps in achieving the objectives of the company so for example if an automobile company has the objective of selling 10000 cars then in order to achieve that objective company has to first make plan about everything right from production of cars to sales of cars and hence without planning all objectives will remain on paper only.
- Another feature of planning is that planning is present everywhere right from top management to middle and lower management, however, top management plans are broader in nature as it involves the whole company whereas middle management plans are narrower as it involves their departments only and lower level management plans are routine in nature as it is about day to day activities of the workers. Hence one thing is present at every level of the organization and that is planning.
- Planning is the continuous process and not a onetime measure because a company cannot afford to make a plan and then sit back rather company has to be on its toes and keep modifying the plans according to changing situation so as to achieve success in achieving the objectives of the company.
- Planning is always future looking or in other words plan are always made keeping in mind future and it has nothing to do with current or the past. So a company cannot make the plan about what has already happened or happened but can certainly make plans about what could happen.
- Another feature of planning is that it involves decision regarding selection of the best possible alternative from among several alternatives and if a company makes a wrong decision in the selection of the alternative then it can be a disaster for the company. So, for example, a smartphone manufacturer has many alternatives like it can produce budget phone, or phone having great camera, or phone having great battery life and so on and out of these alternatives the smartphone manufacturer can select the best alternative and plan accordingly like how to produce the smartphone in an economical way and how to market that phone to consumers and so on. So if a smartphone manufacturer decides to produce phone having the good camera for people who travel a lot can be the disaster because people who travel need good battery rather than a good camera.
- Planning is a long process and it cannot be done or implemented overnight rather it requires extensive thinking and also analyzing the situation from all the aspects and then make a concrete plan so as to cover all aspects of the situation under consideration.
As one can see from the above that planning has many features which make it the most important function of management and that is the reason why most of the companies all over the world lay special emphasis on planning aspect of the management.