Agile Supply Chain

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Agility is a business-wide capability that embraces organizational structures, information systems, logistics processes and, in particular, mindsets. A key characteristic of an agile organization is flexibility.

Agility is an exceptional nimbleness and unparalleled ability to respond rapidly and appropriately to changing market conditions.

A supply chain strategy is defined, relative to its competitors?, the set of customer needs that it seeks
to satisfy through its products and services (Chopra and Meindl, 2007: 22). Strategy involves decisions relating to the selection of suppliers, the location of facilities and the choice of distribution-channels. These decisions are all driven by the goal of enabling the marketing objectives of the organization to be achieved. A typical supply chain strategy should be aimed at achieving a smooth flow at minimum cost. It is now increasingly accepted that ?one size does not fit all? when it comes to designing a supply chain strategy to support a wide range of products with different characteristics sold in a diversity of markets (Christopher, Peck and Towill, 2006:277).

Supply chain strategies should be tailored to match the required ?order winning criteria? in the market place. Aligning the
firm?s operations with market place requirements has not always been extended to the wider supply chain. An organisation?s sourcing strategy, operations strategy and route-to-market needs to be appropriate to specific product/market condition (Christopher 2005:117). The fundamental changes in the environment of global competition and trends such as outsourcing require organisations to develop supply chain strategies that are aligned to ?appropriate value propositions? and customer market segments. The major generic strategies in supply chain are lean and agility. Leanness means developing a value stream to eliminate all waste including time, and to enable a level schedule where as Agility means using market knowledge and a virtual corporation to exploit profitable opportunities in a volatile marketplace (Mason-Jones, Naylor and Towill, 2000:4064). The concepts of leanness
and agility, within the content of SCM have attracted the interest of many authors such as Christopher (2005); Simons and Zokaei (2005); Taj and Berro (2006); Ismail and Sharifi (2006); Gurumurthy and Kodali (2009).

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