Launching your mass customization quest
Whether it’s a new business model or the transformation of a traditional model, getting started on the mass customization journey requires a few key capabilities.
First, it’s important to define customization opportunities that create value for the customer. “An outside-in mindset is essential to define the right value proposition,” Koen explains. “Ask yourself: ‘what does the customer want customized? How fast? At which quality and convenience level? At what price?’”
The second capability is to create a profitable operating model made up of robust processes, systems, organizations and people that supports customer empowerment across the value chain. This challenge is about defining a manageable cost structure and a manufacturing environment able to fulfill customization levels.
“Lean thinking and quick response manufacturing (QRM) are highly relevant to mass customization, as creating added value for customers is at the core of lean thinking,” continues Koen. “Techniques such as value stream mapping are valuable in redesigning processes. Lean also favors flexible ‘pull’ production systems, which are appropriate for flexible value chain and manufacturing models vs. batch production systems.”
The third capability is an understanding of how best to help the customer make the right choices during the navigation process. “Too much choice can lead to indecision and paralysis, a phenomenon known as the paradox of choice,” Koen explains. “New technologies like AI-based variation matching or predictive choice anticipation with intelligent presets and intelligent configurators can help avoid this effect.”