The Agile methodology has been developed for organizations that enter a dynamic market. Agile is focused on creating flexibility to be able to respond quickly to changes in the market. Quality and fast delivery time are essential in this.
Four points of attention can be distinguished within the Agile philosophy:
- Virtual partnerships;
- Valuing human knowledge and skills;
- Ready for change.
Value refers to 'customer value'. An Agile organization must first determine which problem the customer wants to have resolved. This is the customer question. By determining this customer demand, activities that lead to products or services that the customer does not request can be eliminated. By clearly agreeing with the customer what is expected, the product or service can be delivered at once. In order to determine what you have to deliver to your (internal) customers, it is necessary to think further than what the customer asks you.
- Solve my problem completely;
- Do not waste my time (minimize my total consumption costs: price, time & effort that I have to put into it);
- Deliver exactly what I want;
- Deliver value where I want it;
- Deliver value whenever I want and;
- Reduce the number of decisions that I have to take to solve my problem.
The 'value' point of attention is not only reserved for the Agile philosophy, but the Lean philosophy also begins with the interpretation of 'customer demand'.
Virtual partnerships are used to achieve two goals. The first goal is rapid information sharing in the supply chain. To do this, the information decoupling point is positioned as far away as possible from the customer. In this way, organizations in the entire chain know what the customer demand is and can be quickly responded to. The second goal of virtual partnerships is to create a portfolio of core competencies that are available at the right time. This could be a network of companies that each has a specialization, but that produces products in different combinations. Examples are freelancers who work together on a project basis or operating companies that work together under the umbrella of a holding company.
Valuing human knowledge and skills is an important characteristic of Agile managers. Agile managers recognize that staff must be continuously trained so that employees are ready when changes are desired. The smartest employees are also used in the right way. These employees are directly involved in the customer contact, for example the smartest employees in an Agile organization pick up the phone and you do not have to go through a choice menu first and then come to someone who does not know it either.
An Agile organization must always be ready for change. Here, the placement of the information decoupling point can help. By positioning this as far as possible from the customer, the entire supply chain is at the height of what and when the customer asks for something. In addition, the material decoupling point is positioned as close as possible to the customer. Products are modularly produced to be assembled in the last stage according to customer order. An example of this is United Colors of Benetton. Gray garments are produced throughout the year. However, depending on the season and the fashion, the garments are dyed in the correct color at the end of the process.