Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition

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Senteo Rating 4.5
04/27/23
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Author:Joseph Pine II
04/27/23
views 18076
comments0
Author:Joseph Pine II
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 4.5

Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition
Joseph Pine II, Harvard Business School Press, 1992
Senteo’s Review information

This book introduces the concept of “mass customization,” a model in which companies have evolved from mass production of standardized goods to produce products and services of greater variety and customization at competitive prices.

Following a historical perspective of the shift from mass production and how non-evolving companies have faltered, the author shows how to develop a strategy for mass customization and transformation of the organization. Concepts in this book include the paradigm of mass production as a dynamic system of reinforcing factors, secondary feedback loops within the paradigm of mass production, the new paradigm of mass customization as a dynamic system feedback loop, and an introduction to market turbulence mapping. In developing a strategy, the author traces how such organizations can immerse themselves in mass customization through each link of the value chain: development; production; marketing; and delivery. With this, we learn about the six types of modularity for the mass customization of products and services. In exploring this new frontier, Pine also highlights some of the limitations, including product and process technology shocks, customer consolidation shocks, information overload, development cycle limits and life cycle limits. 

The book offers both a historical perspective as well as applicable methodology for any company seeking to meet the challenges of surviving in an increasingly competitive world. The author presents the concept with great clarity through examples, illustrations, as well as historical dataHe also lays out a clear, 5-step methodology to achieving the low-cost production of individually customized products and services: customize services around standardized products and services;

  • create customizable products and services;
  • provide point-of-delivery customization;
  • provide quick response throughout the value chain;
  • modularize components to customize end products and services.

So much has been written on this subject that the historical perspective may be quite familiar or even obvious to many experienced readers or practitioners. Some have criticized the book for being out of date, but the core concept and its applicability even years after its introduction attest to its continued relevance for industry and consulting professionals, which would explain why several publications cited this as the best business book of the year at the time of its debut.

The mass production of standardized goods was the source of America’s economic strength for generations and became the model for successful industries. Today, that model is a major cause of the nation’s declining competitiveness. As Joe Pine makes clear, innovative companies are embracing a new paradigm of management – mass customization that allows them to create greater variety and customization in their products and services at competitive prices, or better. He explains mass customization in its historical context, demonstrates why mass production cannot work in turbulent industries, and outlines how new forms of competition have led to greater variety and customization. He details the strategies, methods, and organizational transformations required to develop, produce, market, and deliver individually customized goods and services, and shows managers how to analyze their own industries to determine if they should shift to mass customization.

This book is highly relevant both in theory and implementation. As the American and global economies have evolved at a rapid pace since the book’s introduction, many businesses will find that they are already using elements of mass customization – however, they may not truly understand how to incorporate it as a process in gaining and maintaining a leading edge in their respective industries. The opportunities to apply this methodology and its benefits are boundless – businesspeople will find it an eye-opening introduction for building competitiveness, while consulting professionals and business school students will find it to be essential reading for a theoretical understanding of this concept. For more on this subject, see The Long Tail (Senteo review).

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This book provides extensive insight into mass customization and framework for developing a strategy, implementing it, as well as transforming the organization. It also provides a framework for dynamic management within this strategy.

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    Mass Customization: The New Frontier in Business Competition
    Joseph Pine II, Harvard Business School Press, 1992
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