Competitive advantage increasingly rests upon a dynamic capability to compete successfully in an environment of frequent, challenging and, often, unpredictable change. Sustaining competitive advantage through price alone is no longer a viable strategy for most firms. Firms need to succeed in markets where a range of non-price advantages are expected by customers. Order-winning criteria include rate of innovation, fitness for purpose, volume flexibility, variety, extreme customisation and, above all, rapid responsiveness. Increasing global and local competition mean that companies unable to respond to these customer demands are unlikely to survive. Deployment of the principles and practices of agile enterprise appears to offer a solution. This paper, based upon preliminary findings of the Agile Manufacturing Research Group (AMRG), discusses these issues and, through the introduction of the agile wheel reference model (AWRM), identifies the specific policies and practices that support agility.
The TQM Magazine – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2000
Keywords: Agile production; Manufacturing; Competitiveness; Strategy; Learning; Flexibility
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