Impacts of information technology on mass customization capability of manufacturing plants

David Xiaosong Peng (Department of Information and Operations Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Gensheng (Jason) Liu (Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA)
Gregory R. Heim (Department of Information and Operations Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Publication date: 20 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The impact of information technology (IT) on mass customization (MC) capability has been implied in the literature but seldom subjected to empirical examination. This study seeks to theoretically relate four types of IT applications with MC capability and empirically examines these relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

This study identifies four types of IT that potentially support MC capability, including product configurator IT, new product development IT, manufacturing IT, and supplier collaboration IT. Drawing on organizational information processing theory, this study associates the four IT types with a manufacturer's MC capability. A structural equation model is tested using survey data collected from a sample of manufacturing plants that focus on product customization.

Findings

The empirical results indicate that two of the four IT types strongly support a manufacturer's MC capability.

Research limitations/implications

No strong relationship between configurator IT and MC was observed, which calls for further investigation. Data used are cross‐sectional in nature. A set of refined IT measures should be developed in future studies. In addition, future studies could control for the effects of more variables that may impact IT use by mass customizers.

Practical implications

The paper identifies managerial opportunities for investing in IT to support or enhance MC capability.

Originality/value

This study provides a theoretical foundation for the IT‐MC relationship and develops a classification framework of IT applications in manufacturing plants. The study is one of the first efforts that empirically examines the impact of multiple types of IT applications on MC.

Keywords

Citation

Xiaosong Peng, D., Liu, G. and Heim, G. (2011), "Impacts of information technology on mass customization capability of manufacturing plants", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1022-1047. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111182173

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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