Mass customization is the process of delivering market goods and services that are modified to satisfy a specific customer’s needs. Mass customization is a marketing and manufacturing technique that combines the flexibility and personalization of custom-made products with the low unit costs associated with mass production. Other names for mass customization include made-to-order or built-to-order.
Mass customization, in marketing, manufacturing, call centres, and management, is the use of flexible computer-aided manufacturing systems to produce custom output. Such systems combine the low unit costs of mass production processes with the flexibility of individual customization.
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”. 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.
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.
The process of mass customization entails an interlinked set of activities to capture individual requirements and translate them into a physical product to be produced and delivered to the client. Companies provide their customers with a toolkit for product innovation during the process.
Mass customization attains its goals if the product is developed and tailored to the user requirements at a reduced cost. The development of sub-processes helps transform the various customer requirements into generic product architecture from which several customized products can be derived.
Modularity facilitates the creation of customized-product variety. Other than minimizing the development lead times considerably, modularity enables companies to realize economies of scope, economies of substitution, and economies of scale.
Companies use additional concepts to increase the re-usability of customized products, such as platform and commonality approaches. Under the commonality approach, end users can use multiple comments on a product for various purposes.
Similarly, a product platform strategy can help companies customize products into several end variants of the product family. The originator of the innovation gives customers the ability to develop new product concepts on their own.