Sometimes referred to as business agility, business flexibility has to do with the ability of a company to adapt to changing circumstances and thus remain a profitable enterprise. A business that is able to anticipate changes in consumer preferences and alter production to meet those new expectations has a much better possibility of continuing over the long term. For this reason, including a measurement of flexibility within the company operation is often considered key to assessing the strength of the business, and thus arriving at an accurate understanding of the potential for business endurance.
When evaluating business flexibility, the idea is to look closely at all the activities involved in the business operation. This usually begins with the ordering of raw materials for the production of various products. Quality standards are set for those materials, thus providing the basis for the quality of the finished goods that the company eventually sells. Many companies make it a point to always be aware of other sources for raw materials that meet those standards, thus minimizing the possibility of an interruption in production due to a lack of the materials needed.
Business flexibility also requires looking closely at the production line itself. The equipment is routinely evaluated for efficiency. When any of the machines or other equipment that is crucial to the process wears out or becomes obsolete, it is usually replaced as soon as possible. Depending on the type of goods produced, the business may require that the production line be able to adapt to meet short-runs of customized products in order to meet a demand by one or more large customers.
The use of business resources in general is also important to assessing the degree of business flexibility that is current present. Along with materials and production equipment, the use of labor and the investment of profits also have an impact on the ability of the business to remain viable in the face of change. By periodically evaluating these and other factors, a company can more accurately project how to operate in the future, when to make changes, and how to make them so that the operation as a whole receives the greatest degree of benefit.
Companies of all sizes engage in the evaluation of business flexibility. While some feel that small businesses have an easier time of assessing the degree of flexibility present, that is not always the case. Large corporations are just as capable of determining what they need to do in order to accurately predict changes in the marketplace, and how to go about preparing for those changes.