As the product-release cycle in the tech industry speeds up, there is more pressure on manufacturers to bring new products to market faster than ever. This puts a great deal of pressure on the suppliers of capital equipment used to manufacture these tech products. The supply chain agility of these suppliers is increasingly important. The purpose of this study is three-fold (1) to develop a methodology that can be used by any firm for measuring and ranking the agility of suppliers and finding the root causes of supplier agility, (2) to develop the first-ever fully quantitative measure of supply chain agility, and (3) to test if the supply chain management practices that are associated with agility in the academic literature are truly correlated with supply chain agility. Using the outlined methodology in this paper, the data suggest that the customer's current system and processes adequately met the need for short-notice, expedited build times. However, many processes and communications between the suppliers and customer have a lot of room for improvement that may positively impact the supply chain agility of suppliers. Since most every firm captures this same data, such as PO create dates and supplier ship dates, any firm can and should replicate this analysis to discover their suppliers' unique drivers of supply chain agility. Each supplier's historical agility was measured and ranked using historical order performance data. This agility score is the first of its kind to measure agility without the use of qualitative factors or self-reported measures of agility. Only three of the supply chain survey questions developed from or borrowed from the academic literature were correlated with supply chain agility in this study. Survey responses regarding the frequency of communication and information sharing are two examples of variables that were not associated with supplier supply chain agility. The only survey question response that was found to be positively correlated with supply chain agility involves the agile practice of delayed product differentiation. Contrary to the literature, two questions involving supplier-customer communication and the linking of order management system were found to be negatively correlated with supply chain agility. In regards to the non-survey, historical data, the independent variables that were correlated with agility highlighted the need for improved systems and processes between the suppliers and customer. Two examples of processes and systems that need improvement are expedited build time requests and PO swaps.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





agility, supply chain, agile manufacturing, supply chain management, agility assessment, build time



Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)