10 December 2009

How flexible is your organization?

About Hugo Messer

Hugo Messer is a Dutch entrepreneur, distributed agile team specialist, and author. He is the founder and owner of Bridge Global, a software services provider, and ekipa.co., an agile coaching agency. He has been building and managing teams around the world for the past several years. His passion is to enable people that are spread across cultures, geography and time zones to cooperate. Whether it’s offshoring or nearshoring, he knows what it takes to make global cooperation work.

One thought on “How flexible is your organization?
  1. Flexibility and agility are hallmarks of great organizations and they are not achieved in a day. In the current context, flexibility and agility would mean the following abilities in an organization –
    1) Ability to continuously assess the shift in consumer demand and stay ahead with organization and supply strategy
    2) Ability to deliver supply just in time for consumer demand
    3) Have a supply ecosystem friendly to an environment of flexible demand
    While item 1 is a matter of agility, item 2 and 3 are matters of flexibility and the supply ecosystem is the most critical item that delivers this flexibility (or the lack of it) to an organization. In the classical business management theorem, supply has 5 components – (i) man (ii) machine (iii) materials (iv) methods and (v) measures. Companies traditionally keep methods and measures in-house and source man, machine and materials from their supply ecosystems in varying degrees.
    There is a new paradigm to this whole mathematics as the world emerges out of the second great depression (if it is fair to call it so). The only sustainable asset in today’s times for a corporation is its competitive advantage. Competitive advantages, on the other hand. are short lived and one has to continuously find and acquire a new one. While that stress tests the corporation’s agility, the ability to fulfill that demand measures the corporation’s flexibility.
    This new paradigm has also changed the whole story about what is “core” and what is “non-core”. The new “Core” is only the ability to sustain and grow competitive advantage and everything else is the new “non-core”. The sustenance of competitive advantage again is all about the ability to harness the knowledge about demand, future and competition into a strategy and the ability to program manage the execution of the same. Strategic thinking and strategic program management, in all aspects of the organization, is the new “core” really. That leaves a whole gamut of organizations and activities as “non-core” which can be sourced from the supply ecosystem. Some aspects of this new non-core is horizontal or function specific and others are vertical or industry specific. People, capabilities, materials, technology, methods, machinery and measurement systems are all part of the new supply ecosystem which delivers the new “non-core”.
    Organizations that follow this not so new code of sustainable competitive advantage will be the true flexible, agile organizations of tomorrow. Many already do, some are starting and others will remain the organizations of today and very soon become those of yesterday.
    This phenomenon, at the same time, is the next big leap for the supply ecosystem. The supply ecosystem is no longer just individual corporations – it is also nations, societies and institutions. And “specialists” are emerging in providing supply of people, capabilities, materials, methods, technology, machinery and measurement systems each of which are sourced globally. People and capabilities for one are intricately bonded and are available in finite numbers across a global map segmented as near shore and offshore. Both near shoring and off shoring is increasing as the labour gap in the west widens and corporations are in dire need of a clear nearshore-offshore deployment strategy which will vary by the industry and geography. “Any shoring”, if we can put that as the new global sourcing mantra, is emerging as the new hallmark for supply ecosystem maturity or supply flexibility.
    To sum it all, agility has got a new strategic dimension and flexibility a new global mandate.
    Hugo, hope the above is a reasonable attempt to answer your question a bit comprehensively! Or did I confuse more than I conveyed?

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