Achieving Success with Mass Customization: The Vital Contributions of Engineering

Market and technology forces affecting today's competitive environment are changing dramatically.  Mass production of identical products - the business model for the industrial complexes of the past - is no longer viable for many industry sectors.  Market niches continue to narrow. Customer preferences shift literally overnight.  Customers demand products with lower prices, higher quality, and faster delivery - but more customized to match their unique needs.  To cope with these demands, companies are vigorously racing to embrace the strategy of mass customization:  "The development, production, marketing, and delivery of customized products and services on a mass basis," a definition popularized by Joseph Pine, a leading spokesman.  Mass customization means that customers can select, order, and receive a specially configured product - often choosing from among hundreds of product options - to meet their specific needs.  Mass customization also means major shifts in operating methods throughout the organization - engineering, manufacturing, and marketing - including the supply chain ...

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