Mass customization, is it an effective production method?


Since the period of Henry Ford’s car industry until late 90’s, product efficiency requires mass production. Companies were using labor divisions, standarisation and automated processes to create products in large quantities. Economies of scale insists emphasising on mass production since it reduces cost massively. Industries rely on mass production to minimise costs. One example of mass production in car industry is Ford model T.

Ford model T – The first car that was mass produced.

However, new technologies such as CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) are damaging the economy of mass production. Since both allow mass customisation towards the needs of customer. Mass customisation includes flexible production process to create goods and services that are intertwined with each customer. The future of manufacturing was actually started with mass customisation.

Mass customisation offers advantages for both customers and factories. Customers can get the product they want, based with their tastes and needs. For the factory, they create more customer satisfaction, at the same time, improve production efficiency. In some industries, mass customisation method may result in little or no inventory of finished goods or semi-finished, no expired products are full of dust on a shelf or showroom; and require less working capital.

However, there are several weaknesses of mass customisation that I found:

  • The system creates increased demand on management coordination. These systems generally require employees to take retraining and thorough. Mass customisation process typically requires reengineering and reorganisation of the team-based work to increase flexibility.
  • It requires an elaborate system for eliciting customers’ wants and needs. To make something unique for someone requires unique information. Eliciting such information entails, for instance, asking the right questions and taking the right physical measurements.
  • It requires a strong direct-to-customer logistics system. Fulfillment is the weak link in much of e-commerce, and the same is true of mass customisation.
  • People are not willing to pay to have everything customised. In every case, companies must determine whether there is a potential mass market for custom features. Customers demand variety when they differ sharply in their preferences for certain attributes of a product. Under such circumstances, customisation may truly add value. Products that require matching different physical dimensions fall into that category.

323017bj – V.B. Arianto (Bobby)

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