Supply Chain and Agility: How the two connect

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Some people who know me know that I have a background in Supply Chain and Operations consulting with a large consulting firm.  The question then is, “Why is the Supply Chain guy always yapping about Agile?”  Because Agile is based on lean, and lean transformed manufacturing and supply chain management.  These same lean principles will transform how information is transmitted through an organization.

Its because I hold a few beliefs:

1.  Even when Agile is supposed to be ‘an IT thing’, it quickly gets into larger issues of operations, strategy, and change management.

In other words, the most agile software development division in the world will be absolutely hamstrung if they are cocooned by an ‘un-Agile’ organization.  Organizational agility has a direct effect on operational effectiveness.

2.  A lot of strategic initiatives in larger organizations these days revolve around ‘becoming more lean, becoming more agile’.

So what that means is that we, from an organizational management standpoint, will need to start challenging our own assumptions about how to manage teams, divisions, and organizations.  In short, command and control wont always work.  A sound understanding of what Agility is and is not is at the heart of an organization becoming more Agile.

3.  As agile starts to move beyond the immediate circles of IT, it will very quickly need to evolve a significant change management aspect.

Change management is at the heart of any transformational strategy (such as the move to more agility)

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