Agility is a term used to describe the configuration of supply chains designed to service unpredictable demand for a wide variety of variants. It can be contrasted with lean supply chains, which work well when demand is predictable, variety is low and volume is high. Good linkages to actual customer demand characterise agile supply chains, such as through point-of-sales systems, rather than through forecasts. Real-time data is shared with participants in the same supply chain, and the participants may integrate some key processes, such as sharing actual inventory and order/fulfilment processes. In practice many supply chains are hybrids of both lean and agile approaches. As an example, most paint manufacturers adopt a lean approach in manufacturing a small range of base colours. The base colours are then mixed on demand by the retail outlet to produce a wide variety of colours for the ultimate consumer; an example of an agile approach. See also Lean Thinking and Supply Chain.

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Discover the world’s largest Glossary of Procurement terms

With over 800 Procurement specific terms (and growing) you will find everything you need to know or thought you knew about the Procurement function. Our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive list collated from the Comprara Groups hub of training and consulting source materials.The Procurement Glossary has been compiled by industry expert Paul Rogers.