Increasing market volatility and uncertainty force manufacturing companies to adapt their operating model to a substantially changing environment. For this reason, it is necessary to anticipate uncertainty and deal with its effects on operations proactively. The agility concept can be seen as a key to thrive in such a challenging environment.

The principal idea is to mitigate risk in market downturns and
to take advantage of opportunities in upturns to achieve
superior long-term corporate performance.

Agile manufacturing enables companies to prepare proactively for uncertainties and to react quickly to changes in order to optimize the economic situation by leveraging the whole value chain. It is essential to consider the organization holistically to assure that agile operations come to life in industrial practice. Besides implementing operational agility levers, a culture open to change has to be established and organizational structures and behavioral patterns in management need to be addressed.

Cross-Industry Conference on Agile Operations

On the occasion of the publication of the new book “Erfolgsfaktor Agilität: Chancen für Unternehmen in einem volatilen Umfeld”, the Institute for Innovation and Industrial Management and McKinsey & Company invited scholars and practitioners to join the “Cross-Industry Conference on Agile Operations” in the Aula of Graz University of Technology on February 3, 2017. In addition to keynote speeches by renowned industry representatives, interested participants also had the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on the topic of agility in practiceoriented workshops.
More volatile markets and the increasing uncertainty regarding economic and technological developments pose new challenges to companies worldwide. To enable fast and efficient adaptation to continuously changing competitive conditions, companies have to become more agile. The goal is to systematically prepare for potential uncertainties and to simulate their impact on the operations using concrete scenarios.
The Institute for Innovation and Industrial Management, together with McKinsey & Company, has devoted several years to extensive research about the agility of industrial companies and the results of this cooperation were presented at the conference. More than 100 international participants from various industries and countries accepted the invitation and made the conference a complete success. Both industry representatives and researchers agreed: In addition to the topic of digitalization, agility has become a critical success factor and rightly enjoys the highest priority on today’s top management agendas.

“For us, it is extremely important to increase our competitiveness in the future – to operate profitably in a growing market, but also in a flattening market. We are pleased to have an institute here at TU Graz that will take care of this issue in the future.”

explained Karl-Friedrich Stracke (President, Magna Steyr), who addressed the special challenges in the automotive industry in his presentation. In addition to Magna Steyr, representatives from Daimler, Lufthansa, Zalando and McKinsey talked about what agility means for their companies in daily business and why it is important to devote attention to the topic today particularly.
Another highlight was the book presentation by two of the editors. Prof. Christian Ramsauer and Dr. Christoph Schmitz (Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company) explained the central building blocks of an agile enterprise system and outlined the financial benefits of agility with results of quantitative studies.
The subsequent afternoon program offered interested parties the opportunity to participate in workshops held in small groups by external experts and IIM staff. The participants were able to deepen their knowledge of important aspects of agility and received state-of-the-art insights as well as tips for concrete implementation possibilities in industrial practice.

“The authors present a publication that has the potential to become the new standard reference.”

Harvard Business Manager,

Ongoing PhD theses on this topic
  • Heimo Preising
  • Nils-Christian Böhnke
Completed PhD theses on this topic
  • Dr. Wolfgang Unzeitig
  • Dr. Matthias Schurig
  • Dr. Christian Rabitsch
  • Dr. Alexander Pointner
  • Dr. Martin Kremsmayr
  • Dr. Hugo Karre
  • Dr. Elias Auberger

Erfolgsfaktor Agilität: Chancen für Unternehmen in einem volatilen Marktumfeld