The Planning Function of Management

The Planning Function of Management

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The Planning Function of Management


Management Planning
The planning function of management provides goals, strategies, direction, and it defines responsibilities in any organization. The types of plans include strategic, operational, tactical, and contingency. Each one of these types allows an organization to have multiple plans to play different roles to achieve an overall common goal. According to Fortune 500, “Entergy has been in their top rankings for the past several years. Entergy constantly exceeds the 10 billion dollar mark in annual revenues.” (Cable News Network, 2008). With revenue of that magnitude, and having an employee base of over 14,000 employees, it is apparent that Entergy’s planning function is one of success.
Entergy’s foundation for strategic planning was created in 1913 by one of the company’s founders, Harvey Couch, during his endeavor into the electrical industry. “Couch’s ultimate goal was to have an integrated electric system with numerous sources of power at a reasonable price. Service reliability was foremost on his mind.” (Entergy Corporation, 2008). Couch’s original philosophy for strategic planning is still implemented by Entergy to this day. The company continues to grow into new markets to increase its sources of power to distribute to its existing and potential customers. With this growth, the strategic plan remains one of the most successful functions of Entergy’s management plan.
Operational planning occurs in the trenches, so to speak. It is the work of lower-to-middle management and all subsequent field workers who perform the tasks that help accomplish the overall corporate goals set forth by the strategic plan. Entergy prides itself in the teamwork and dedication its employees put forth as a productive unit of the company. The operations division experiences all physical attributes of the company’s missions and goals. Some of these attributes include installing new equipment and services in new customer areas, as well as troubleshooting and repairing existing areas of service. Entergy’s operations span across Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana; and many efforts are volunteered to help other regions in times of crisis. It is during those times that operational planning shines because of critical time constraints and levels of severity involved with those crises. Without operational planning, Entergy’s strategic goals would never be met.
Once strategic and operational planning have been established, tactical planning must take place within a company to secure strategic, (not the same as the planning function), targets to provide a successful business presence. Entergy has used this function of planning to place its business operations in markets that could create symbiotic relationships with other businesses that have already had infrastructure in place.

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This tactical business move allowed Entergy to move in and utilize this infrastructure so they would not have to use capital funding to create the environment from scratch. By implementing this type of strategy, Entergy saved many millions of dollars that they could then use to focus on new technologies and services.
With all of Entergy’s planning functions in place, they then had to work on a contingency plan. This plan provides a backup solution that would be implemented in the event of the company not being able to provide its customers with the services that are delivered. Scenarios that could cause service deprivation include the effects from major storm systems, fallen trees, automobile accidents that break telephone poles, and companies cutting power lines by digging in the wrong location. In the event of any of these scenarios, Entergy has a plan in place that will re-route the electricity to continue to provide service to the customers that they are able to reach with alternative paths. If a power plant is disabled and cannot provide the normal source of electricity to customers, large generators are initialized that can supplement the energy.
There are many factors that contribute to a business’s functional planning, and Entergy is an example of a company that leaves no “r” unrolled and no “t” uncrossed. Their philosophy, created by Harvey Couch, has been followed and improved upon over the years. Entergy has positioned itself as the primary energy provider for Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana by putting all of its functional planning into effect after considering all of the possible factors that are involved. Some of these factors include technology, diversity, and competition.
Entergy is on the forefront of technology in the realm of companies that provide energy services. They continue to seek out and implement the latest technological solutions that can allow themselves to provide its services more consistently and with less possibilities of failure.
The Entergy Corporation (2008) diversity mission statement reads as follows:
The mission of Entergy is to create a winning culture that can only be achieved in an environment that fosters creativity, productivity and mutual respect of all people. This culture is supported from the office of the CEO and down throughout the organization.
This philosophy allows the company to not only keep a diversified personnel roster because of legal issues, but because they believe that it is the culture of the people in the locations that they geographically exist. The belief is the groups of people that are employed by Entergy create an atmosphere of diverse thinking which provides the creativity that keeps the company rounded in all aspects.
Through its years of existence, Entergy’s implementation of planning as a management function has proven to be one of success. If their planning continues along the previous and current paths, failure is not an option. The growth and stability that the company has achieved since its inception, propels itself into a profitable and secure future.

References
Cable News Network. (2008). Industry: Utilities: Gas & Electric. Fortune 500. Retrieved
April 21, 2008, from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2007/snapshots/479.html
Entergy Corporation. (2008). Diversity Mission Statement. Diversity and Inclusion. Retrieved
April 21, 2008, from http://www.entergy.com/about_entergy/diversity_and_inclusion.aspx
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