Product Configurators: Key Enablers for Mass Customization

Market and technology forces that affect today's competitive environment are changing dramatically.  Mass production of identical products-the business model for industry in the past-is no longer viable for many sectors. Market niches continue to narrow. Customer preferences shift overnight.  Customers demand products with lower prices, higher quality and faster delivery, but they also want products customized to match their unique needs.  To cope with these demands, companies are racing to embrace mass customization, "the development, production, marketing, and delivery of customized products and services on a mass basis," according to a definition popularized by Joseph Pine, a leading spokesman for the concept.  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 ...

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