Mass Customization…


Now that we have accomplished our presentation (on Monday’s 16th lecture)…it is time to share with you our worthwhile experience to get there!

To begin with, we would like to share with you the most important points that we gained from studying the relevant articles and searching through different sources!

Mass customization refers to a customer co-design process of products and services which meet the needs of each individual customer with regard to certain product features.

Based on the problems that can occur when applying mass customization and the principles that should be followed in order to avoid them, we found two real-life examples of mass customization from two specific companies from different industries. We chose these totally different examples to show that mass customization can be implemented everywhere. Both Mini Cooper and m&m’s apply mass customization giving customers the opportunity to design the overall product based on their individual needs and preferences.

  • MINI COOPER EXAMPLE:

http://www.miniusa.com/

Mini Cooper’s web site has 5 steps to be followed for consumers who want to be part of the designing of the car. In step 1 consumers can choose the color they like the most. In the following steps they choose the features of the car. For example, in step 2 packaging, in step 3 performance, in step 4 instruments and finally in step 5 accessories. After all these steps,  a consumer can have an overview of the car that he create himself.

After analyzing thoroughly the web-site of mini cooper we came across certain strengths and weaknesses:

  • Strengths
  • Provides user with handy options of saving and sharing their creations – trough saving their work in the virtual garage of the web site (to use it later for further refinements or sharing it on facebook) and having customized brochure – like PDF containing not only the specs but a lot of pictures for the designed model plus technical schemes and proposals for upgrades or switching to other models.
  • The user product design interface allows the transfer of parts and colors a user had selected on previous model to a new one. This automation saves time and effort for the user to configure again the same attributes on the new model. So a user is provided with a starting point – pre-defined product design and he is allowed to transfer further refinements to another pre-defined product template.
  • Excellent 3D simulations at different stages of the customization process.
  • Educational videos about firm history and testing the crucial feature of Mini Coopers – “winter driving”, “Mini Racing” video series.
  • Weaknesses
  • Compares no more than two pre-defined car designs and cannot compare a default option with customized one unless you print them as customized PDF – an option available through the user’s interface.
  • In several occasions the help provided by the interface, regarding design specs, was too technical or abstract to be useful for novice users.
  • A little more info about how certain levels of performance or design specs relate to product attributes and own satisfaction would be crucial for novice users.
  • M&Ms EXAMPLE:

http://www.m-ms.com/us/

An outstanding example of mass customization is “Personalize M&Ms”. In this website consumers have the chance to create their m&ms by choosing words or even photos to put on m&ms candies. They have the ability to choose a logo, a phrase or even put their pictures on the candies. They also have the opportunity to choose blends of m&ms for their wedding or create a personalized packaging with their names. In other words, consumers become part of the company by designing their personalized m&m.

After analyzing thoroughly the web-site of m&m’s we also came across certain strengths and weaknesses:

  • Strengths
  • A Great idea combined with simplicity of execution
    •  Strict following of the 5 principles for successful building of a user design interface
  • Weaknesses
  • Provide the option to use already configured text, clip art and pictures to be previewed on different customized packages without needing to start the configuration from scratch for each new packaging option.
  • We would like to see the customized candies and packaging option chosen at the same time on the preview picture.
  • Size and weight of the final product should be visualized

To sum up, the concept of mass customization is a hotly debated issue and as it becomes top of the agenda for many firms nowadays, it was of major interest to gather information about it.

We hope you enjoyed it as we did!!!

TEAM 7:

Panagopoulou Fay

Panev Stoyan

Markopoulou Natali

One thought on “Mass Customization…”

  1. Fay, Stoyan & Natali, Thank you for the post and the presentation in class (and for the second example).

    I like the way you differentiated the two approaches and linked them to the principles introduced in the paper!

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