Tactical planning is the bridge between strategic ideas and reality. Only stating what will be done without a detailed definition of how it will be accomplished will very rarely result in success. Laying out plans for the achievement of strategic objectives provides a clear picture of requirements. Even when there are no direct financial outlays the accomplishment of objectives always requires resource allocation at some level. Developing tactical plans allows accurate projection and budgeting. Following are guidelines to employ when formulating tactics to support annual planning:
- Set Goals for the Customer Base – The customer base is impacted by acquisition, retention and attrition rates. Developing plans to address these areas should focus on growing a loyal customer base. Tactics for achieving results in this area should be based on improvements that are measurable and achievable. For instance a 5 % increase in customer acquisition would be a measurable goal. Resource availability and market conditions will determine achievability. Turning strategies into tactical plans involves developing detailed steps that will result in successfully accomplished objectives.
- Define Sales Tactics – Improvements in the sales process can often be accomplished more readily than implementation of marketing strategies as sales are for the most part handled internally with no outside involvement. In auto repair the bulk of sales activity is generated as a result of quotes, inspection results and diagnosis findings and recommendations. Implementing strategies to improve in these areas should be measurable and achievable. Growth rates from previous periods should be used to support establishment of goals in this area.
- Plan Changes to Operational Processes – Altering operational processes can impact sales, costs and profit margins. As in any other type of business change care should be taken to identify the effect on related processes. Enacting changes in part of an organization may require changes in other areas as well. These should be taken into consideration when developing tactical plans.