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Grade A- Mass Customization is the custom tailoring of products or services to individual customers specifications It attempts to achieve the economies of scale seen in mass production while at the same time achieving the scope generally restricted to craftsmen Mass customization promises to provide customers with all of the features and benefits that they value at close to the same price that they can buy generic mass produced products One of the key features of the value proposition is that the product will be delivered with only a minor delay This is revolutionary to a mass market that has grown accustomed to having to make-do with what was being offered Historically custom-made suggested a lengthly lead-time and a significant premium In fact it has become so in-grained that National Bicycle had to build a 2 week delay into the delivery of its customized bicycles because the perception was that a quality customized product could not possibly be built in the 3 day delivery that the company was promoting Any mass customization system has three fundamental features First it has a system for interfacing with customers to capture their specific needs Second it has a high degree of process flexibility And finally it must have a downstream logistics system that allows it to correctly route a customers specific product to its destination One of the critical features of the mass customization process is the ability of the vendor to gather information related to the customers preferences and integrate these into his process In order for this to work the vendor must have fully integrated information technology that allows information to flow through each step of the process In manufacturing processes the information must be translated into language that can be used to drive the process For example digitized measurements captured by a Levi Strauss retailer are converted into a cutting pattern that controls automated material cutters Similarly Marriott Hotels use the information captured and written
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