Being Agile and flexible are the essence of good warehouses.


Being agile and responsive, implies that your store rooms or warehouse can handle unpredictability and a constant stream of new requests and demands - with speed and accuracy.

Agility in the warehouse
Agility & Flexibility in Healthcare

What is an Agile Warehouse?


The integration of various inventory requirements into a single system, meaning store rooms and distribution centers must now be able to simultaneously fulfil large and small orders with the:


  • ability to move quickly and easily
  • ability to think and understand quickly
  • adaptive and able to move quickly for an effective customer service strategy.
  • each order can be handled differently
  • each customer or patient has their own set of instructions and requirements to satisfy.

What is a Flexible Warehouse?

Flexible, adaptable storage and warehouse solutions need to meet all your needs, whatever your situation and type of goods.

  • capable of bending easily without breaking
  • able to be easily modified to respond to altered circumstances
  • ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances.

In addition, warehouse processes need to be Lean.  Do more with less.


Time and predictability are the biggest drivers and enemy of agility.

  • time drives customer satisfaction, responsiveness and cost.  It is important to gain a competitive advantage in store room and warehouse management
  • faster. faster. faster. Orders change, demand changes
  • delivery requirements shorten
  • inventory requirements change
  • regulatory and compliance needs are always in the background.
  • customer expectations continue to increase.



Visibility is very important to agile and flexible warehousing.


  • Visibility require system capabilities to see customer orders, inventory and priorities in real time in the warehouse.
  • E-mail, faxes and phone calls do not give visibility to a warehouse or store room. They are emergency measures and do not provide transparency.
  • Warehouses cannot manage using e-mail, especially with multiple suppliers, locations, customers and transport providers.

Technology is not the complete answer


Technology is one part of three parts to success.  Process, and people are two other parts.


Some make the mistake of assuming that technology will solve all problems, be a silver bullet, and are disappointed when it does not happen.


"It" does not happen because of other issues with processes and or people.

Technology is necessary


Visibility into multiple orders from multiple storage solutions is vital to manage inventory and requires technology to provide real-time information.


Revising, reprioritising and amending open orders is needed to be agile and flexible to changes to requirements.


Accurate and visible inventory levels and locations are needed to keep your promises to customers.


E-mail and faxes replaced by scanners and mobile devices to manage purchase orders, inventory, locations, expiry dates, batches, sales orders, returns and transport.



Collaboration often centres on working with another company to better utilise transport or warehouse assets. This is a narrow view of collaboration missing the bigger issues of being agile and the sheer complexity of a global supply chain with its many participants.


Collaboration really means working with trading parties to improve the exchange of information, the management of orders, both purchase orders and sales orders, and the delivery of goods.


If visibility is a problem, gaining the assistance of others in the supply chain makes good sense and good use of limited resources.


Collaboration can be difficult because of the trust issue with sharing information and the differing roles of buyer versus seller.  With that in mind businesses in supply chains cannot collaborate with every participant in the value chain.

Being agile and flexible is a fact-of-life in today's healthcare world - constant change and short lead times are a day to day event.