It may seem like a contradiction – MASS (made for ‘the masses’, with all associated optimisation of manufacturing costs to serve the production of identical products) and CUSTOMISATION (personalised, bespoke), and yet if we look around us at a growing number of products being manufactured today, this is exactly what is happening.
The automotive industry is one of the more obvious examples where the list of options on new vehicles has never been longer. Adidas are probably the most famous pioneers of this new era of mass customisation.
Mass customization is first and foremost a business strategy that focuses on customers needs and recognises the need to change and fine tune many of the processes and procedures which have served manufacturing well over a very long time. The strategy adopted by a manufacturer should make it possible to design a product that reflects the understood needs of an individual customer through a flexible process of modular manufacturing.