What Is Mass Customization?

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A lady holding a sign that reads customization

Imagine how boring life would be if we all looked, acted and felt exactly the same. Sure, differences of opinion have often led to extreme conflict. But, when you consider how fascinating all of our differences are, it truly helps to make this world a wonderful place to live. Each and every day, we have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to our meals, our clothing, our entertainment and even the people we decide to invite into our lives.

Thanks to all of these amazing options, we all have the ability to customize our lives. We choose what we eat and wear every day. We decide who we spend our time with. We determine where we want to work. And, we most certainly get to decide which products we wish to purchase. Thanks to mass customization, we are all lucky enough to be able to purchase products that are uniquely designed to meet our specific needs.

How does mass customization work to meet everyone’s individual needs?

Also known as “made-to-order” or “built-to-order”, mass customization is a marketing and manufacturing technique that delivers products and services which are specially customized to meet specific customer needs. The process combines the low unit costs that are associated with mass production with the flexibility and personalization of custom-made products.

An everyday example of mass customization can be found in ordering a pizza. Imagine pizza restaurants only offered one type of pizza. It’s unimaginable, right? Every single pizza order is customized. Today, you can decide on all of the different toppings you want as well as the sauce and type of crust you want your pizza to be made with.

Mass customization puts power in the hands of the customer.

This flexible technique enables customers to design the features of the products they wish to purchase without having to worry about overspending. For the most part, the various components needed to make the product (think pizza toppings) are readily available and easy to mix and match.

What are the four faces of mass customization?

According to James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II of the Harvard Business Review, there are four distinct approaches to customization: collaborative, adaptive, cosmetic, and transparent.

Collaborative customization is described, by the duo, as the type that involves discussions or studies with various customers to help them determine their specific needs. From this information, businesses are able to fulfill customer needs by making customized products for them.

Adaptive customization involves the manufacturing of products that offer only one standard, but are customizable. That way, the products can be altered directly by their users. Gilmore and Pine use the example of a lighting system that can be programmed by its user to offer a uniquely desired lighting effect.

Cosmetic customization presents a standard product differently to different customers. As explained by Gilmore and Pine, “the cosmetic approach is appropriate when customers use a product the same way and differ only in how they want it presented. Rather than being customized or customizable, the standard offering is packaged specially for each customer.”

Transparent customization provides individual customers with unique products and services without letting them know that those products and services have been customized for them. It involves the observation of customer behavior to determine their needs and then customizing offerings for them that appear to be standard.

For more information about mass customization, please don’t hesitate to give Flux Connectivity a call at 1-800-557-FLUX. You may also email us at connect@fluxconnectivity.com.


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