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Paul T Kidd's Mass Customisation Pages

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Introduction to Mass Customisation

Introduction to Mass Customisation


Mass Customisation is defined as the mass production of individually customized products and services. In its more sophisticated form this means meeting each customer's individual wants and needs exactly, but at prices comparable to those of standard mass produced goods.

The dominant system of production for large volume manufacturers during the first half of the 20th century was mass production - an approach based on producing and selling standard mass produced items, exploiting economies of scale to achieve prices that everybody could afford. The major assumption being that markets were homogeneous - everybody had basically the same wants and needs that could be satisfied by a few standard products.

Over the past 40 years significant changes have occurred in the business environment - increased pace of technological change, more fashion consciousness, globalisation of the economy, imbalances between supply and demand, fragmentation of markets, to name but a few. These changes have made it impossible for most manufacturing companies to adhere to strict mass production principles, and many now seek to differentiate themselves from competitors on the basis of customer choice and customisation capabilities.

Faced with this breakdown in the conditions that enabled mass production, a realisation is growing among companies that a fundamental change is occurring in the basis of competition. The technologies, organisational structures, human resource practices and the values that were appropriate to mass production have now become a competitive liability. Mass Customisation demands radical internal changes.

The purpose of this web site and other Cheshire Henbury publications is to explore the emerging paradigm of Mass Customisation and the nature of the radical internal changes that companies need to make in order to prosper in this new era. The publications will focus on:

Defining and understanding the social and market factors driving the development of Mass Customisation;

Outlining the techniques that are being developed to support Mass Customisation;

Exploring the technological, organizational, human resource and cultural implications of Mass Customisation;

Examining the real business benefits that companies are achieving through Mass Customisation and the problems that they have to deal with.


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