We report some conceptual and numerical results for a single-column chromatographic process analogous to a simulated moving bed (SMB) with asynchronous port switching. It is shown that the periodic state of the multi-column SMB unit is reproduced by a one-column chromatograph in which the part of its outlet stream that is not recovered as product is recycled back to the column with a lag of (N - 1)tau time units, where N and tau are, respectively, the number of columns and the switching interval of the equivalent SMB unit. This requirement holds true regardless of the port configuration or operational scheme of the analogous multi-column unit. The proposed one-column chromatographic process is a more compact, less expensive and simpler-to-operate alternative to the SMB. By changing the operation of the single-column chromatograph from the classical synchronous port switching to an optimized asynchronous Varicol mode, it is shown that one can easily compensate for a less perfect operation of the plug-flow device that implements the recycle lag.