Lot size one doesn’t mean you have to manufacture all products to order. To a great extent, it’s about the customer perception you create. Think of Dell, for example; the processes to produce its computers are highly standardized, but customers perceive Dell’s service as extremely individualized – even though it amounts to little more than basic components which are assembled at the end of the supply chain for each specific customer.
What many companies struggle to cope with today is the expectation of fast or even same-day delivery, often also for highly individualized products. This increases the pressure on the supply chain. However, new technologies can offer a solution. Footwear manufacturers, for example, can opt to 3D-print the soles. It’s fast and it’s customized, plus it only requires a limited investment at the end of the supply chain.
Today, a lot of organizations continue to adhere to standardized products, just because they want to be able to deliver quickly and are afraid of big investments and major repercussions for their supply chain. I advise all companies to keep an open mind: experiment with lot size one and don't be too quick to dismiss new product ideas as being impossible in the current supply chain set-up.