Companies are constantly looking for strategic advantages when it comes to their products, how they are manufactured, delivery times and the consequence that all of this has on their revenue. One of the ways that many companies are doing this is by implementing mass customization. One of the principles behind mass customization is being able to recognize the target audience for your brand or business. Mass customization may seem like something your company may want to put into practice, but it is important to first take the time to analyze and recognize if this is the right step for your organization.
Sometimes within your organization, you’ll begin to identify that target audiences may have distinct preferences, despite the fact that you are manufacturing only one product. Variations may consist in the color, flavor or other characteristics that could be personalized based on their tastes. It may become evident why customizing is the best possible solution when you can simply modify an existing product, rather than start from scratch and develop a new product. It really has turned out to be the perfect balance between personalizing and mass production. This has transformed the concept that customization will come down to what each customer wants, instead companies are starting to customize for target groups, which allows them to manufacture a lot of products with the same customization. Mass customization has been a way that many companies have been able to make its way into many different industries, like technology, software, Macbooks among other examples in the market.
As part of your analysis, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons to changing your supply chain strategies. Initially, there are tons of benefits to mass customization, starting with the fact that you can produce a large amount of products, normally associated with high product sales, as well as high customer satisfaction. This can apply to many different industries like clothing, cars in a variety of colors, or even a small flower shop’s options when making a flower arrangement. At the end of the day, this change will most likely lead to improved company reputation and sales.
There are different ways to approach the mass production of customizable products: Transparent, Collaborative, Adaptive, and Cosmetic.
Transparent customization will require a big change in the product itself, but the representation will not have any change. This basically means that the company will customize the product, but they what they will not tell the client is that this was customized specifically for the client. These kinds of businesses will analyze closely their clients with the purpose of understanding their needs to customize their product in a very discrete way.
Cosmetic customization is more focused on a change in representation rather than product change. In this case, a company sells the same product, but the way it is packaged will vary depending on their customer. The way the product is sold will also vary, reflecting these characteristics, and generate an extra value for their customers. The key in this type of company will be the brand, not the product itself. It will have a flexibility that will create loyalty with the brand.
Adaptive customization will offer a standardized product, but at the same time will offer specific alternatives to customize their product. This will give the client control of how he or she wants to customize the product, giving them the freedom to adapt the product depending on their needs in different situations or occasions.
Finally, the collaborative customization will take both the client and the company to personalize the product, since the company will help the client identify what they need. Once this has been identified they can begin to recognize the different factors required to fill those needs and create the customized product. This will generate a set of guidelines that will be followed for all of the target clients that fill those requirements. This is great for clients that are not sure how they need the product but know they want to product. This will reduce the stress of having to choose from a great variety of possible customizations, and instead guide them towards the personalization that they need. By decreasing the options and guiding them towards a specific customization, your clients will be able to cut through the hassle and focus on getting the product that they need.
The mass production of customized goods is not only a good option for big companies but also small ones and even entrepreneurs. For entrepreneurs starting off their ventures will find that mass customization will allow them to have creativity, which will help them find ways to satisfy customers in the best ways. This method has been around since the 20th century, but it only continues to evolve and from the look of the success in the different industries it will not slow down anytime soon.
* Featured Image courtesy of KnitSpirit at Flickr.com