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.


Mass Customization Strategic Management Journal Unique Product Customer Involvement Planning Review 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barney, J. (1991). “Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage.” Journal of Management, 19 (1).Google Scholar
  2. Davis, S.M. (1987). Future Perfect. Reading, Massachusetts, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  3. Donlon, J.P. (1993). “The Six Sigma Encore; Quality Standards at Motorola.” Chief Executive, November, 90.Google Scholar
  4. Duray, R. (1997). Mass Customization Configurations, Ph.D. Thesis, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.Google Scholar
  5. Garud, R. and A. Kumaraswamy (1993). “Technological and Organizational Designs for Realizing Economies of Substitution.” Strategic Management Journal, 16, 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kotha, S. (1995). “Mass Customization: Implementing the Emerging Paradigm for Competitive Advantage.” Strategic Management Journal.Google Scholar
  7. Kubiak, J. (1993). “A Joint Venture in Mass Customization.” Planning Review, July, 21 (4), 25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Mintzberg, H. (1988). “Generic Strategies: Toward a Comprehensive Framework.” Advances In Strategic Management, 5, 1–67.Google Scholar
  9. Pine II B.J., (1993). “Mass Customizing Products and Services.” Planning Review, July, 21 (4), 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Pine II B.J., and T. W. Pietrocini (1993). “Standard Modules Allow Mass Customization at Bally Engineered Structures.” Planning Review, July, 21 (4), 20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Pine II B.J., D. Peppers, and M. Rogers (1995). “Do You Want to Keep Your Customers Forever?” Harvard Business Review, 103–114.Google Scholar
  12. Pine II B.J., B. Victor, and A.C. Boyton (1993). “Making Mass Customization Work.” Harvard Business Review, 71, 108–119.Google Scholar
  13. Spira, J.S. and B.J. Pine II (1993). “Mass Customization.” Chief Executive, March, 83, 26.Google Scholar
  14. Ulrich, K. and K. Tung (1991). “Fundamentals of Product Modularity.” Proceedings of the 1991 ASME Winter Annual Meeting Symposium on Issues in Design /Manufacturing Integration. Atlanta.Google Scholar
  15. Wernerfeit, B. (1984). “A Resource-based View of the Firm.” Strategic Management Journal, 5, 171–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Duray
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Colorado at Colorado SpringsUSA

Personalised recommendations