Mass customization has become popular in the nineties. Companies are striving to provide customized products and services to their customers at low costs. No industry is immune from the desire to produce low cost customized products. Mass customizers can be found in both consumer and industrial markets. As the concept of mass customization gains popularity, more companies may venture into the uncharted territory of mass customization without a clear idea about the nature of mass customization and without the appropriate manufacturing system to support this new marketing concept. Looking at companies that have successfully implemented mass customization provides little guidance. The diversity of the products and production system for mass customization does not lead to easily generalizable concepts.
Although mass customization is usually thought of in terms of marketing or competitive strategy, mass customization should be viewed as a competitive capability that resides in marketing, manufacturing, and engineering functions. The integration of these functional areas through product design is the key to breaking the paradox of mass customization. A mass customizer must identify a market for low-cost customization, determine the customizable features required of that market, design a product that can provide customization with mass production, and manufacture the product in a cost effective manner. This view of mass customization fits the resource-based view of business strategy (Wernerfelt, 1984; Barney, 1991) and suggests that the resources needed to provide a mass customization strategy reside in the integration of marketing, manufacturing, and engineering strategies.
Several types of mass customization are explained in this article. Further, mass customization in the following companies are discussed here: Bally Engineered Structure; Dell; General Motors; Levi-Strauss; Ross Controls and many more in Table 1.
KeywordsMass Customization Strategic Management Journal Unique Product Customer Involvement Planning Review
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