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Could mass customization work for your business?
The idea of mass customization — cost-effectively manufacturing products that nonetheless have enough variety that customers can get products tailored to their needs — may sound like an ideal only a few companies, such as Dell, have obtained. But a new article in MIT Sloan Management Review argues that, in fact, mass customization could make sense for most businesses.
Fabrizio Salvador, Pablo Martin de Holan and Frank Piller report that their research suggests that “mass customization is not some exotic approach with limited application. Instead, it is a strategic mechanism that is applicable to most businesses, provided that it is appropriately understood and deployed.” One key: Seeing mass customization as a process rather than as some “ideal state” that sounds impossible to obtain.
In their article in the Spring 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, the authors discuss the capabilities needed to make mass customization work –and they describe a variety of tactics that can be used to make mass customization practical. For example, in some cases “innovation tool kits” can allow customers to use a software design tool to express their product preferences.