Executive SummaryThe term "mass customization", while seemingly an oxymoron to anyone who has lived through the past century, is becoming a reality. Despite the fact that since manufacturing began customization was a luxury reserved for the most wealthy, today's markets are demanding more and more from today's producers. A new found buying power enables customers to ask for the apparently impossible and with such variety in all forms of industry, manufacturers have no choice but to comply. "The term refers to a new way of conducting business to gain the ultimate competitive edge" (Teresko, 1994, p. 45). Never the less, one of the problems with mass customization is the possibility of internal complexity, which can develop when the offered products are beyond the company's ability to produce cost-effectively. Despite the understandable dangers of mass customization, if executed properly does result in lower manufacturing cost, higher customer satisfaction, a better customer relationship and higher profits.
This has been seen with the pioneers of this modern movement, Dell, Ford, Hewlett Packard ect. Mass customization is quickly becoming the standard for most industries, including automobiles, and thus it would be an excellent shift into the future for Shockwave.
IntroductionUp until very recently the concept of mass customization was left to the businesses of the future. However, as single leaders of commerce venture out into this relatively uncharted territory, it is apparent that the future is now. As managerial methods improve and technology advances it is obvious that mass customization is well on its way to being the worldwide standard.
Previously, simplistic mass production was the commonly accepted practice. A system of intense supervision along with painfully repetitive tasks resulted in a high quality, low cost, standardized product which was thought to be the be all and end all of production.