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Lean versus Agile Business

Agility is the ability to move between different forms of production or service delivery - allowing you to change your business outputs in a dynamic marketplace. Lean is the approach of removing wasteful actities from your business operations to allow your workforce (both office and production) to spend more time on work that the customer will pay for (aka value adding activity).

As they are two separate approaches you can be both agile and lean at the same time. A lot of companies in industry are in positions that are more polar in this respect - i.e. very lean but with low levels of flexibility (and not agile) or highly agile with large amounts of spare resource (so not very lean). Developing agile systems and driving out the waste in the system is one way to become agile and lean.

Consideration of supply chains that allow resources to be turned on and off may allow a company to create different products that vary greatly - allowing the output to be both lean and agile, and then the supply chain can be collapsed and re-built to form a new product offering when the market demands it.

Smartspeed Consulting Limited
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