If you’re familiar with software development, you may have heard of the “agile” method of development. The agile approach embraces rapid movement from creating an idea to executing it while retaining what works and discarding what doesn’t. By applying agility to their processes, companies work within a rapid response timeframe to address customers’ needs in order to gain a competitive advantage over other businesses.
What you might not know is that the agile method can be applied to manufacturing. When done right, agile manufacturing allows suppliers to provide customers with what they want, when they want it and often for the price they want, faster than conventional manufacturing processes.
Implementing an agile manufacturing plan, however, doesn’t happen overnight. It will likely require a key shift in thinking amongst all members of the organization. Primarily, people must think in terms of fluidity and speed, not standard processes. Below we’ll examine the key tenets of agile manufacturing and review how to implement one in your organization.