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Customized products & configurability for mass production

Mass customization can offer considerable benefits to customers keeping the costs at a reasonable level at the same time.

Traditionally businesses with the ability to offer customized products and services have had a competitive advantage over mass producers. The individual needs can be taken into account in customization; therefore, the buyer is experiencing more possibilities to make choices than when buying something made in mass production. Many people are also ready to pay high prices for individually made products or services.

However, to make every product or service individually is expensive. This is often difficult to master and requires a lot of resources. Products and services made in mass production can be produced cost-effectively, but the problem with this is that production and offering possibilities are limited.

Nowadays it is possible to adjust the products and services according to the needs of different client groups yet produce them in standardized way. This is called mass customization which makes producing different variations cost-efficient.

Mass customization utilizes technologies, mass production processes and elements in such a way that end products are possible to edit into different options according to customer definitions. The prices stay on a reasonable level, as mass customization uses mutual starting points and components, which will be formed into end-products that are either individual or belong to a product family. The production is done modularly: compatible elements and features are being organized, combined and edited i.e., configured in order to produce different variations. The output can be either a physical product or a service.

If the possible variations are considered already in the design phase, and these features are added into the product model options, the end-product will be possible to configure according to the predefined compatible options in the sales and production phase. VariSuite-software supports the options suitable for mass customization, as the software utilizes customers’ own data model in all different process phases. This enables customization also in mass production. As a result, the business can ramp up profitably into mass-customization with no requirement for large-scale system renewal projects.

Practical examples about mass customization are clothes, cars, element houses – or even a hamburger. Some brands may have for example several length options for a certain trouser model. However, in this case the consumer may make the choosing only in the buying phase. In some web shops customer can order a t-shirt with options about model, color, size and possible text. When buying a new car, there are several models to choose from, and the customer can decide the car model, color, fabrics and additional equipment.

In business to business the office furniture may be a good example of the configurable product. The basic materials and features could be the same everywhere, but the measurements change according to the space available, and the materials and colors of the fabrics could change according to customers’ wishes.

Mass customization increases customer satisfaction, as this way the customer gets the output with the exact features the customer has wanted. There is no need for unpleasant fixing or returning processes when the product or service has been adjusted according to the customer wishes.

Mass customization is effective, and its purpose is to decrease unnecessary and overlapping costs. It aims to improvement, quality and creating numerous variation possibilities.

Mass customization is applicable to most businesses, and it can offer even a competitive edge for a manufacturing company. When its possibilities are utilized in the right way and it will be deployed in company processes correctly, it will bring considerable benefits to customers keeping the costs at a reasonable level at the same time.

 

Since 2005 Variantum has helped many companies to become more customer-centric with their offerings. Our experts can solve the problems and challenges related to the data management of configurable products and services.