Case Study about Mass Production to Mass Customization: National Indust:rial Bicycle Company of Japan
Introduction: Mass customization as a viable approach to competitive strategy is capturing the imagination of both managers and business academics. The term ‘mass customization’ has been described as ‘a world of paradox with very practical implications’ (Davis, I987).
The concept is based on the notion of ‘economies of scope’ where advances in manufacturing and information technology, as well as new management methods, enable firms to provide product variety and customization through flexibility and quick respon- siveness in many industries. Employing mass customization, firms can produce enough variety in products and/or services so that nearly everyone finds exactly what he or she wants at a reasonable price (Pine, 1993).
Case Study about Environmental Impacts of Utilizing Mass Customization: Energy and Material Use of Mass Customization vs. Mass Production
Abstract: In 2005 Sanders Consulting published its ground-breaking research, “Why Mass Customization is the Ultimate Lean Manufacturing System.” Using the textile industry as their primary example, Sanders’ research showed that, when framed from the entire product lifecycle—from raw material production to point of purchase, the standard best practice of mass production was actually very inefficient and indeed wasteful in terms of money, time and natural resources. Beginning from this lifecycle framework provided by Sanders, this paper answers the question: What are the environmental impacts of utilizing mass customization compared to the impacts of utilizing mass production?
Introduction & Hypothesis: In order to go about proving (or disproving) this theory we examined the product life-cycle of a men’s dress shirt within both a MC system and a MP system. While there are many levels on which to analyze the embodied energy of a dress shirt, including pre-production processes such as raw material (cotton) extraction and harvesting, yarn spinning and weaving, or even examining the embodied energy in product design processes, this paper will focus its analysis within Sanders’ framework, as provided in their 2005 study, “Why Mass Customization is the Ultimate Lean Manufacturing System,” and examine the production, distribution and customer experience cycles. Specifically, our analysis includes the embodied energy analysis of manufacturing—cutting, sewing, packaging; distribution—warehousing, distributing and retailing; and lastly, the customer purchasing experience.
This article presents an overview of the academic debate about mass customization (MC). The objective is to describe how the MC strategy was introduced in a Brazilian company and the results obtained, relating them to theoretical considerations. This is illustrated through a case study in an industry of the Brazilian household appliances sector. The context was the launch of a totally customized product, to be sold on the Internet to consumers with high purchasing power, with the strategic use of IT.
The aim was to create value for these customers by reinforcing the brand’s own values using a clear differentiation strategy. MC is already used alongside conventional strategies in a growing number of worldwide organizations, but in Brazil the use of this tool is still in its infancy, hence the importance of this study. Its qualities have transformed it into a valuable marketing device in the search for consumer loyalty. Click here to read more…
Some gurus in manufacturing strategy advocate that a manufacturing operation should both be Focused Factory and a Flexible Manufacturing System. The focused factory movement claims benefit from simplicity and repetition to gain economies of scale; A flexible manufacturing system exploits the gain from product proliferation and mass customization for economies of scope. However, it seems that these two approaches lead to opposing directions in understanding. Like many paradoxical issues in operations management, researchers can only offer a list of general strategies – most of which oppose each other and change from time to time. What is right for your business?