How Agile Thinking and Logistics Go Hand In Hand

Agile ThinkingFace of business logistics is changing all the time in today’s fast paced, highly connected world. Because of this, product and delivery logistics providers need to adapt to a host of new techniques and thinking processes if they want to keep pace and stay competitive in a way that keeps their business or clients’ ventures profitable.

This is where the fundamentally important mechanism of Agile Thinking fits into the picture. What agile thinking revolves around is giving an innovative, more efficient edge to the process of handling product deliveries across different segments of a market supply chain. It is through agile thinking that logistics can be made into a more streamlined, context specific process than it often is in many businesses and supply chains.

Turning Process Thinking into Process Management

One of the fundamental steps that can lead a logistics planner towards effective agile thinking is becoming good at turning process thinking into effective process management. Once this skill is refined, it’s then possible to move into real time agile thinking strategies.

What do we mean by turning process thinking into process management? Simply this: Process thinking means clearly defining and organizing the processes that go or need to go into a well-organized logistics chain by asking questions such as what to change, how to change it, why a change might be needed and importantly, how to maintain a process of continuous improvement?

By then installing these components of process thinking and others (the possible options are broad and often context specific) into a system of process management that uses tools, knowledge and specific techniques, logistics pros can begin improving their company’s supply chain management and customer needs more profitably.

This is a crucial if somewhat dry requisite of an overall agile thinking strategy, though agile thinking goes even further into other effective fundamentals.

Innovation and Extreme Flexibility

Another key part of effective agile thinking is the development of hyper alert and extreme flexibility in how your logistics responds to solving problems with logistics. This flexibility is then coupled with the key ingredient of constant innovative thinking

This means learning to ruthlessly cut back on pointless or unneeded expenses and supply processes, forget about stock solutions and try to wash out ingrained assumptions about how you can deliver products to end customers or sales outlets.

Pulling this off successfully means being bold about responding to changes in the business landscape, keeping an eye constantly open for new techniques and technologies that could reshape your company’s logistics and looking out all the time for new strategic partnerships with supply chain related enterprises that could help your own business in some fundamentally efficient new way.

An excellent example of a company that pulled off these very things in an explosive and truly (at the time) creative way that led to numerous others adopting the same policies in their own product logistics was Dell Computer. In the 1990’s they innovated at the time game changing policies for cutting out the middle men that were typical to retail PC sales and as a result deeply economized how they delivered to customers in an on-demand and extremely quick way.

As an interesting aside, from Dell we can also learn a lesson on what not to do once your company has started to use agile thinking as part of its business strategy: Don’t abandon the process and go back to static procedure! This is something Dell made the mistake of doing too, though more in the field of product development, even after it had lost its innovative edge in supplying computers to customers. The result was a major computer manufacturer that fell into increasing obscurity behind numerous more creative competitors.

Remember New Technology and New Supply Channels

The modern procurement and manufacturing is far more varied, technologically developed and international than it has ever been before. For many company logistics officers, this can sometimes be difficult to realize from the POV of working and supplying customers in a single narrow region. In order to fight this potential limitation on thinking, immersion in changing technologies and new supply chain options is a crucial part of agile thinking in modern logistics.

This means keeping your eyes open to just what kind of new product and manufacturing sources you can locate, even if they seem unorthodox at first, and keeping your eyes open to what new technologies you could possibly utilize to make your manufacturing simpler or faster.

What do we mean by really keeping your eyes open for new methods and technologies? Things like this, to name just a single but powerful example.

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By Stephan Jukic @ Neovia Logistics | January 28, 2014

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