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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1995

Christopher W.L. Hart

Traditionally, executives have assumed that trade‐offs – highquality or low cost, efficiency or customization – are inevitable.In defining their businesses, the choice has…

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8786

Abstract

Traditionally, executives have assumed that trade‐offs – high quality or low cost, efficiency or customization – are inevitable. In defining their businesses, the choice has always been seen in terms of mass production of inexpensive, commodity‐like products or services (the assembly line) on the one hand, and on the other hand, premium‐priced, individually‐tailored, highly differentiated offerings (the “job shop”). But the notion that such trade‐offs and choices are permanent, inevitable business realities is fading as a new management paradigm – mass customization – emerges. Mass customization consists of cutting‐edge management methods and tools that give companies the ability to produce customized, affordable, high‐quality goods and services, but with the shorter cycle times and lower costs historically associated with mass production and standardization. Proposes that much of the power of mass customization, like total quality management before it, lies in its visionary and strategic implications. Also delineates an exploratory diagnostic framework to help companies assess the potential for mass customization as an explicit strategy in their industries. The key dimensions of this framework are customer sensitivity, process amenability, competitive environment, and organizational readiness.

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International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Book part
Publication date: 6 May 2003

Mohamed E Bayou and Alan Reinstein

The traditional product-costing continuum is too limited to account for the new mass customization approach currently used by many corporations in many industries. Mass

Abstract

The traditional product-costing continuum is too limited to account for the new mass customization approach currently used by many corporations in many industries. Mass customization has changed the nature of many transactions, activities and, indeed, the very essence of many manufacturing companies, who have become more of assemblers than manufacturers. These new developments necessitate establishing new way of accounting for proper planning and control. After tracing the development of the mass customization approach from modular manufacturing into common platforms applied in one firm, and then shared by a group of firms, the paper explains the benefits of these approaches to both manufacturers and their suppliers. The central theme of this paper is to develop a product costing system for mass customization. It begins with the traditional product-process matrix in operations management literature and adds to it two elements: firm size and the modular manufacturing method. The rationale for this addition is that modular manufacturing is the best mass customization method; firm size and mass customization are inherently related as indicated by the typical evolutionary pattern of production processes. At this point, the operations management taxonomy is renamed the modular-process matrix; this matrix displays three groups of major activities: manufacturing, supplemental manufacturing, and assembling activities. These three activity groups provide the basis for developing a new set of accounts and a ledger system to account for specific customer orders developed by mass-customization processes.

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Advances in Management Accounting
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-207-8

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2006

Thorsten Blecker and Nizar Abdelkafi

To identify and examine the origins of complexity in a mass customization system and to propose an effective application sequence of variety management strategies in order…

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5156

Abstract

Purpose

To identify and examine the origins of complexity in a mass customization system and to propose an effective application sequence of variety management strategies in order to cope with this complexity.

Design/methodology/approach

Through the application of Suh's complexity theory an understanding of the causes of complexity in the specific context of a mass customization environment is developed. This facilitates the identification of the strategies that are adequate to tackle the problems induced by complexity.

Findings

The mass customization system is a coupled system that cannot be mastered simply. It is definitely impossible to transform it to an uncoupled system with a low complexity level. However, the effective and targeted implementation of variety management strategies at the product and process levels enables the management of this complexity by making the system more decoupled.

Practical implications

Complexity can be decreased if managers ensure less dependency between the satisfaction of customer requirements and position of the decoupling point. It is also advantageous to reduce the coupling level between fast delivery requirement in mass customization and the decoupling point placement. Furthermore, an effective variety management calls for the implementation of the identified strategies in an ascending order of complexity reduction potential.

Originality/value

The article relates the complexity theory of Suh to mass customization system, provides a framework for the classification of variety management strategies and derives managerial recommendations so as to reduce the complexity in a mass customization environment.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 44 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2001

Ann Marie Fiore, Seung‐Eun Lee, Grace Kunz and J.R. Campbell

Mass customisation, defined as the mass production of individually customised goods and services, aims at providing products and services that are more suited to the needs…

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1908

Abstract

Mass customisation, defined as the mass production of individually customised goods and services, aims at providing products and services that are more suited to the needs or desires of today’s fragmented consumer markets. Mass customisers should identify how needs or desires of the fragmented market shape the customisation of not just the product and service, but also the mass customisation experience. Towards this end, the authors examined whether an individual’s preferred level for environmental stimulation defined as optimum stimulation level (OSL) was associated with the types of products, services and experiences desired from mass customisation of apparel. As the authors hypothesised, OSL had significant positive correlations with willingness to use co‐design services to create a unique design, trying co‐design as an exciting experience, overall commitment to using co‐design, and trying body scanning as an exciting experience. OSL did not have significant correlations with the more banal willingness to use body scanning services for better fitting products or overall commitment to using body scanning. There was also a significant positive correlation between OSL and interest in customising experiential products, but not between OSL and interest in customising utilitarian products, as hypothesised. Results support research of the influence of OSL on consumer behaviour. Implications for the industry include considering experience aspects and environmental stimulation when developing a mass customisation programme.

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Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-2026

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2020

Jessica L. Pallant, Sean Sands and Ingo Oswald Karpen

Increasingly, customers are demanding products that fit their individual needs. Many firms respond by cultivating product individualization via mass customization, often…

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1933

Abstract

Purpose

Increasingly, customers are demanding products that fit their individual needs. Many firms respond by cultivating product individualization via mass customization, often integrating this capability via interactive platforms that connect them with customers. Despite such customization, research to date has lacked cohesion, often taking the organizational, rather than customer, view. The purpose of this paper is to provide inconclusive theorizing in regard to customization from the consumers’ perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

The review and synthesis of the literature revealed that co-configuration is an underexplored domain of mass customization. Consequently, an initial conceptualization of co-configuration is developed and compared with current customization strategies. Specifically, the definition and boundary conditions of co-configuration are compared with three domains of mass customization, namely, co-production, co-construction and co-design. This led to the development of research priority areas to establish an agenda for future research on mass customization and its role in customer’ firm relationships.

Findings

This paper provides the delineation of four distinct consumer customization strategies, conceptualized in a matrix, and proposes separate customer journey visualizations. In advancing the theoretical understanding by means of a unifying typology, this paper identifies three existing Cs of mass customization (co-production, co-construction and co-design) and focuses specifically on a fourth (co-configuration), identified as an understudied mass customization strategy.

Originality/value

This paper extends the previous conceptualizations of mass customization comprising co-production, co-design and co-construction. The proposed typology establishes a foundation for four research priority areas that can improve both academic rigor and practical application.

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2011

Gensheng (Jason) Liu and George D. Deitz

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of supply chain management in enabling manufacturers' mass customization capabilities.

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3265

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of supply chain management in enabling manufacturers' mass customization capabilities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based upon survey data from 262 manufacturing plants, spanning nine countries and three industries. Responses from multiple employees were aggregated for each item. Hypothesized relationships between variables were analyzed using structural equation modeling.

Findings

The results generally indicate that plant mass customization capabilities are driven by customer‐focused product design and reduced supplier lead times. In turn, these factors are driven by management's emphasis on supply chain planning. Post hoc tests show that the effects of supply chain planning on mass customization capabilities are fully mediated by customer‐focused product design and reduced supplier lead time.

Originality/value

While the literature suggests that mass customization depends upon a dynamic extended enterprise, extant empirical work has focused on internal firm characteristics. The paper is among the first to examine the significance of supply chain management upon the development of mass customization capabilities.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 41 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Laetitia Radder and Lynette Louw

Total quality management resulting from total customer satisfaction today can mean giving every customer a product tailored specifically to his or her needs. In the past…

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6448

Abstract

Total quality management resulting from total customer satisfaction today can mean giving every customer a product tailored specifically to his or her needs. In the past, manufacturing was usually characterized by keeping costs down with economies of scale. Mass customization can result in a challenging manufacturing environment typified by both high volume and an excellent product mix, where customers expect individualized products at the same price as they paid for mass‐produced items. Meeting this challenge requires profound changes in the manufacturing process and in organizational dynamics. Despite the potential offered by mass customization it is necessary that organizations ensure that such a strategy is the optimal route for their business before embarking on full scale mass customization.

Details

The TQM Magazine, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0954-478X

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Article
Publication date: 1 November 2004

Ahmet Bardakci and Jeryl Whitelock

This paper examines the concept of mass customisation from the point of view of the customer. Although the theory of mass customisation has received considerable attention…

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5945

Abstract

This paper examines the concept of mass customisation from the point of view of the customer. Although the theory of mass customisation has received considerable attention in recent years, the emphasis has been on identifying and classifying the ways in which mass customisation can be implemented efficiently and effectively. There appears to have been no empirical evidence to support the notion that customers are indeed ready for this approach. The aim of this study is to examine how far customers are “ready” for mass‐customised products, using the UK new car market as its basis for analysis. A framework is developed and results presented which suggest that a sizeable section of the market is ready to accept the “inconveniences” of mass‐customised products. However, the main inconvenience of mass customisation is identified as increased price, even for “ready” customers. It would seem, therefore, that both global standardisation and mass customisation strategies are appropriate in this market.

Details

European Journal of Marketing, vol. 38 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0566

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2005

Ahmet Bardakci and Jeryl Whitelock

To examine customers' readiness for mass‐customised products in two European countries, Turkey and the UK.

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1666

Abstract

Purpose

To examine customers' readiness for mass‐customised products in two European countries, Turkey and the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

Examines the demand side of the market and begins to explore whether masscustomisation can be implemented as an international product strategy. A questionnaire was developed, pre‐tested and administered in the UK and (after translation) in Turkey to potential new car buyers.

Findings

A large proportion of customers from both countries would be willing to pay extra to own a product which exactly meets their needs and preferences. However, more respondents in the Turkish sample were willing to do so than in the UK sample. Additionally, Turkish respondents were keen to update the features of their car over time, which favours masscustomisation.

Research limitations/implications

This study is exploratory and limited in terms of research sample. Consequently further research is needed to verify the findings. Second, how far the organisation is ready to adopt a mass‐customised approach is a further question to be answered requiring further research. Future research in contexts other than new cars should also be undertaken. Finally, we have focused on “readiness” for masscustomisation and do not attempt to provide any link between this “readiness” and behavioural intentions.

Practical implications

There may be a viable market of customers for mass‐customised cars, in both the UK and Turkey. Producers now need to examine the price that would be acceptable to both customers and themselves.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic research study to address the demand side of masscustomisation in two European countries.

Details

European Business Review, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-534X

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Article
Publication date: 11 May 2015

Stefan Koch and Duygu Inanc

This paper aims to report findings from an exploratory empirical study focusing on an application of mass customization in financial services. Based on the study of…

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1330

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report findings from an exploratory empirical study focusing on an application of mass customization in financial services. Based on the study of configurations and usage data, the authors evaluate a series of hypotheses relating to the interplay of adoption and usage by customers.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on quantitative analysis of data from a Turkish bank which offers customizable credit cards, encompassing both configurations as well as credit card usage.

Findings

The results confirm that trial-and-error learning will not end with product definition, but will continue afterwards and lead to changes in customization. Especially active usage length shows a significant positive effect on the number of changes. The effect of base category usage could only partly be confirmed for changes, but was significant for adoption. It was also found that a series of smaller changes in a limited number of attributes has a higher likelihood than a smaller number of changes in a large number of aspects.

Research limitations/implications

The study uses data from a single financial service provider, from a specific country. In addition, anonymized data on adoption and usage were used, thus demographic data as well as subjective measures from customers were not available.

Practical implications

The results highlight the importance of specifying the correct solution space, as the authors could at least partially confirm the negative effect of both a large number of options, as well as basing on alternatives rather than attributes on several levels. Although overall mass customization seems less interesting than traditional credit cards, the authors discuss several positive implications for financial sector companies from offering this option.

Originality/value

The paper extends current literature in focusing for the first time on mass customization for financial services. In addition, this is the first study using longitudinal data on adoption and modification of mass-customized solutions to analyze the long-term behavior of usage.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

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