Tactical Planning is the process of taking the strategic plan and breaking it down into specific, short-term actions and plans. The relative length of the planning horizon will vary from one market to another but typically the strategic plan will cover a period greater than three years while the tactical plan covers the period from today through to the end of year three.
The content of any business plan will depend on why the plan is being produced. Some plans are for internal use only and act as a common reference during the preparation of budgets and appraisals. Some plans are basically sales documents aimed at persuading banks to provide loans and investors to provide equity.
The process of producing a useable tactical plan is not easy as some flexibility is required to allow response to unplanned events. There are a large variety of strategic planning models and organisations that provide strategic planning consulting. Some of these are useful and can be used a check lists to ensure completeness and as facilitators to ask the awkward questions that people would prefer to leave unanswered.
It is important that the tactical plan should be checked to ensure it is aligned with the strategic plan and that all activities are aimed at moving closer to the goals defined in the strategic plan. It is very easy for the tactical plan to diverge at a tangent because of someone’s interests or disagreement with the strategic plan.
Tactical decisions and plans as already mentioned above are made at the middle level management. Some examples of strategic decisions are pricing a product, product improvement through value analysis, maintenance crew size determination, preventive maintenance policy, budget analysis, short-term forecasting, make or buy analysis, credit evaluation, plant layout, project scheduling, reward system design, negotiating, buying equipments etc. The type of decision taken at this level is mostly semi-structured in nature.