Limits of Mass Customization Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Mass customization is really the best way to deliver a variety of consumers? Today, mass-customized products, seems to be everywhere. Levi-Strauss is selling custom-fitted jeans. Andersen Windows, you can create a window to fit any home. Consumers can get their names printed, stitched or embossed on almost everything. But managers be careful not to be seduced by bright banners of mass customization. There are several ways to deliver variety and weight settings may not always be the best. So says Paul Zipkin, Professor Fuqua Business School at Duke University in the business. Mass customization actually require unique operational capabilities. Some elements should work well - individually and together - to provide mass customization is a plausible business strategy. These key features are revealing (a mechanism to interact with customers and get specific information),) process flexibility (production technology, which makes products according to the information),) and logistics (subsequent stages of processing, and distribution, which are able to retain the identity of each element and put the right to the right of the customer). Not all companies - or sectors - will be able to master these opportunities. In addition, the demand for limited settings, and probably will remain so. Current technology can support large-scale settings for only a few attributes of a few products. For mass customization to deliver real value, people should have sharply different preferences for certain attributes. This signals the possibility for industries such as clothing, sports equipment, buildings and accessories. But it also means that mass customization is not for every company. Managers should look for opportunities to add value through diversity, Zipkin advises. But before committing their companies to mass customization strategy, they should carefully consider technology, demand, costs and benefits. "Hide
by Paul Zipkin Source: MIT Sloan Management Review 9 pages. Publication Date: April 1, 2001. Prod. #: SMR066-PDF-ENG

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