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Mass customization is the new frontier in business for both manufacturing and service industries. At its core is a tremendous increase in variety and customization without a corresponding increase in costs. At its limit, it is the mass production of individually customized goods and services. At its best, it provides strategic advantage and economic value.
In reference to technological products, the following statement of Piyush Mathur (2017) is illuminating here:
Mass customization...is not merely about tailoring a technology to the needs of the idiosyncratic user (which is the case with customization); rather, it is about pretailoring the technology to the idiosyncrasies of every user. 
Mass customization is the method of "effectively postponing the task of differentiating a product for a specific customer until the latest possible point in the supply network". Kamis, Koufaris and Stern (2008) conducted experiments to test the impacts of mass customization when postponed to the stage of retail, online shopping. They found that users perceive greater usefulness and enjoyment with a mass customization interface vs. a more typical shopping interface, particularly in a task of moderate complexity. From collaborative engineering perspective, mass customization can be viewed as collaborative efforts between customers and manufacturers, who have different sets of priorities and need to jointly search for solutions that best match customers' individual specific needs with manufacturers' customization capabilities.
The concept of mass customization is attributed to Stan Davis in Future Perfect and was defined by Tseng & Jiao (2001, p. 685) as "producing goods and services to meet individual customer's needs with near mass production efficiency". Kaplan & Haenlein (2006) concurred, calling it "a strategy that creates value by some form of company-customer interaction at the fabrication and assembly stage of the operations level to create customized products with production cost and monetary price similar to those of mass-produced products". Similarly, McCarthy (2004, p. 348) highlights that mass customization involves balancing operational drivers by defining it as "the capability to manufacture a relatively high volume of product options for a relatively large market (or collection of niche markets) that demands customization, without tradeoffs in cost, delivery and quality".
Many implementations of mass customization are operational today, such as software-based product configurators that make it possible to add and/or change functionalities of a core product or to build fully custom enclosures from scratch. This degree of mass customization, however, has only seen limited adoption. If an enterprise's marketing department offers individual products (atomic market fragmentation) it doesn't often mean that a product is produced individually, but rather that similar variants of the same mass-produced item are available. Additionally, in a fashion context, existing technologies to predict clothing size from user input data have been shown to be not yet of high enough suitability for mass customisation purposes.
Companies that have succeeded with mass-customization business models tend to supply purely electronic products. However, these are not true "mass customizers" in the original sense, since they do not offer an alternative to mass production of material goods.
Collaborative customization (also considered co-creation) - Firms talk to individual customers to determine the precise product offering that best serves the customer's needs (see personalized marketing and personal marketing orientation). This information is then used to specify and manufacture a product that suits that specific customer. For example, some clothing companies will manufacture pants or jackets to fit an individual customer. This is also being taken into deeper customization via 3D printing with companies like Shapeways. Examples: Tailored suits; Converse lets consumers chose the color or pattern of every element of certain types of shoes, either in-store or online.
Adaptive customization - Firms produce a standardized product, but this product is customizable in the hands of the end-user (the customers alter the product themselves). Example: Lutron lights, which are programmable so that customers can easily customize the aesthetic effect.
Transparent customization - Firms provide individual customers with unique products, without explicitly telling them that the products are customized. In this case there is a need to accurately assess customer needs. Example: Google AdWords and AdSense
Cosmetic customization - Firms produce a standardized physical product, but market it to different customers in unique ways. Example: Soft Drink served in: A can, 1.25L bottle, 2L bottle.[clarification needed]
He suggested a business model, "the 8.5-figure-path", a process going from invention to mass production to continuous improvement to mass customization and back to invention.
This thorough 512 page book shows how to: Build any product, standard or mass-customized, on-demand without forecasts or inventory; Simplify supply chains to resupply spontaneously, rather than trying to manage complex supply chains that order and wait for parts. Achieve substantial cost advantages from eliminating inventory and many overhead costs. Revolutionize company business models with evolutionary self-supporting steps for dramatic growth of revenue and profits.
This book will be extremely valuable for manufacturers that have any of these challenges:
Customization. Craft customizing is slow, expensive, and hard to maintain quality. Customizing by mass production is inefficient and compromises the other production.
Product Variety. Mass producers who try to build-to-forecast a wide variety of products will always wrestle with the classic dilemma: too many different products to sell from inventory, but trying to build them to order in a batch-and-queue environment is too slow and costly in addition to raising resource demands and lowering equipment capacity.
Unreliable Forecasts. Forecast accuracy decreases dramatically as variety and market volatility increase, which are both rising.
Inventory Problems. Selling products from inventory creates many problems: out-of-stocks, obsolescence, write-offs, inventory carrying costs, warehousing, and discounting to sell obsolete inventory. The inherent inventory dilemma is that trying to reduce out-of-stocks increases all the other inventory problems and vice versa.
Response Time Manufacturers of products or industrial parts may try to build products "to-order" but will not be able to deliver them quickly if they have to wait for parts, setup changes, and equipment availability.
At 512 pages, the book is the most thorough book written on the subject, but is summarized in Chapter 1, The Management Overview. The book has hundreds of sidebars and section headings.
Manufacturers with highly-configurable products face daunting challenges to create the flexibility, transparency, and customer experience that delights customers without undermining profits. If a company continually experiences the pain of not being able to seamlessly connect the customer to the enterprise and efficiently drive order demand across the enterprise, the business is not set up properly. There is a misalignment between the company's infrastructure and the actual business requirements. This book explains how to bring a company into alignment.
While much has been written about mass customization as a high-level strategy, much less has been offered about implementing mass customization as a business strategy. Manufacturers that thrive in the 21st century will treat customers as "insiders." Under mass customization, a customer is an "insider." The customer can select from an array of choices to purchase products that match their individualized needs.
This book explains mass customization (also known as build to order, assemble to order, configure to order, make to order and engineer to order) from the standpoint of discrete manufacturers and reviews why mass customization must be viewed as an enterprise-wide business strategy, not merely a departmental initiative. Companies with highly-configurable products need to combine the technical superiority of their products with operational excellence. A manufacturer needs to be able to seamlessly connect the customer to the enterprise so the hand-offs from organization to organization are efficient and keep the process moving forward to a timely completion and delivery.
'Mass Customization' is for anyone whose company faces a constant, uphill challenge with respect to quoting, configuring, and producing high-configured products; any company that has made an investment in product configurator software and wants to understand why operational efficiencies and profits haven't improved, and anyone who would like to get a better understanding of what is required to implement mass customization as well as the power mass customization has to transform certain businesses and industries.
Mass Customization examines the business opportunities, considerations, and challenges manufacturers in various industries must weigh before committing to the significant investment in machinery and software needed to go to mass customization. For manufacturers who decide that itâs time to take the plunge, the author describes the proven methods and latest technologies for making mass customization work seamlessly and profitably on the factory floor.
Mass customizationâthe automated manufacturing bespoke products, profitably combining the low unit costs of mass production with the flexibility of building custom products to orderâhas been touted as the next big thing for more than a quarter of a century. Until recently, however, mass customization made only modest inroads in a few industries. Now, the convergence of new ICT and manufacturing technologies with traditional CNC technologies means that mass customizationâs moment has arrived for breaking out into a wide range of industries.
Hans Kull is an engineer and mathematician who applies his expertise in combinatorial optimization, programming, and engineering to devising end-to-end automated solutions for mass customization, automating and optimizing all processesâfrom bespoke parts supply, order processing, production, and waste minimization to packing and delivery. He shares with his readers practical lessons for making mass customization succeed, case studies from various industries, and an insiderâs vision of the business implications of mass customizationâs coming of age.
Smart brands such as Chipotle, Zazzle, Nike, and Pandora are ditching the outdated 20th century model of a one-size-fits-all approach to providing products and services. From a Netflix movie night to a marriage courtesy of eHarmony, customization is changing every corner of American life and business.
The New York Times bestseller Custom Nation is a practical how-to guide by someone who has built his business on the power of customization. YouBar founder Anthony Flynn and business journalist Emily Flynn Vencat explain how marketers, brand managers, and entrepreneurs across all industries can reinvigorate their businesses and increase profits.
In Custom Nation, learn: Â Why customization is key to todayâs businesses and what does and doesnât work Â How to incorporate customization in new and established businesses to make your products stand out and sell Â What strategies work for the most successful and profitable custom brands
Drawing on firsthand interviews with the CEOs and founders of dozens of companies specializing in customization, Custom Nation reveals how customization can make any business stand apart and generate market share, increase profit margins, and develop customer loyalty.
Far-reaching changes in attitudes and family structures have been redefining the workforce for more than two decadesÂyet the workplace has remained much the same. During this time, many companies have learned that personalizing the customer experience is good for business. In Mass Career Customization, the authors argue convincingly to extend this popular and profitable concept to the workplace.
This book is centered on the powerful insight that career options in todayâs economy need to accommodate the rising and falling phases of employee engagement as it changes over time. The remarkable process unveiled in this book offers choices involving four important dimensions of career progression: role; pace; location and schedule; and workload.
As the working population shrinks, maintaining industry advantage will depend largely on keeping employees engaged and connected. Mass career customization provides a framework for organizational adaptability that will do just that.
Mass Customization today is seen as a core strategy for successful enterprises. The term denotes an offering that meets the demands of each individual customer. but that can still be produced with mass production efficiency. Current developments such as 3D-printing, smart data or digital production are strengthening this trend. Strategies and examples of mass customization have been widely published in recent years. This publication comprises interviews with 24 selected MC-experts, practitioners and researchers, giving a comprehensive report on success factors.
In Agile Product Development for Mass Customization, Dr. Anderson shows how you can cost-effectively offer useful variety to customers and customize quality products quickly and easily. Through unique methodologies you'll have the ability to produce customized products at mass production speed and efficiency. Through these leading-edge techniques, Agile Product Development for Mass Customization will allow your company to enhance agility, improve variety, reduce costs, develop products more quickly, speed delivery, and satisfy unique customer needs.
Mass Customization and Footwear: Myth, Salvation or Reality is the only book dedicated to the application of mass customization in a particular industry. By showing examples of how a "mature" manufacturing sector like shoe making can be thoroughly renovated in business and mentality by applying this paradigm; Mass Customization and Footwear: Myth, Salvation or Reality will be bought by practitioners in the footwear sector and postgraduates, researchers and lecturers in the area of mass customization.