Volume 5, Issue 4

Organizing for Mass Customization: Literature Review and Research Agenda (pp. 159-167)

Enrico Sandrin, Alessio Trentin, Cipriano Forza
Due to the increase in sophisticated customer needs and intense competition, mass customisation has increasingly drawn the attention of companies and scholars. The importance of transforming organisations by building mass customisation capability has long been acknowledged. However, the discussion is generally scattered and disorganised in the literature. This paper reviews the mass customisation literature with the twofold purpose of providing a comprehensive and structured overview of prior research on mass customisation organisational antecedents and highlighting future opportunities to research this topic. By using an established framework in the organisation design theory, the paper provides comprehensive coverage of organisation-related issues and a reference for future research opportunities.

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A Contribution toward a Research Agenda: Identifying Impact Factors of Mass Customization on Environmental Sustainability (pp. 169-178)

Golboo Pourabdollahian, Frank Steiner, Ole Horn Rasmussen, Stephan Hankammer
Mass customization (MC) has been broadly discussed as a potential business model for heterogeneous markets in the management literature. In market settings that are characterized by high levels of customer need heterogeneity, MC has to be considered as an economically viable strategy. However, it might not be sufficient to assess business models solely on the basis of economic indicators. Environmental problems and the exacerbating climate change have sparked a global debate about ecological thinking and sustainability. In this context, existing literature describes the need for strategies that are sustainable in terms of economic, social and environmental aspects. In accordance with this aspect, more and more authors claim that MC – besides being an economically attractive business approach – also carries the potential to be an environmentally and socially beneficial business model. This paper aims to identify potential impact factors of MC

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Flow Customizer: An algorithm to Design Lean-Flow Production Systems for Mass Customization (pp. 179-194)

Christos Chatzopoulos
The design of a production system in Mass Customization contexts is difficult due to product variability. This variability creates a complicated situation to engineers and Mass Customizers. This situation needs to be decoded, analysed and simplified. The present paper proposes an algorithmic procedure for designing a Lean-Flow Production System in Mass Customization contexts, named as Flow Customizer. The Flow Customizer adopts Continuous Flow Manufacturing and Demand Flow Technology approaches. They provide the fundamentals for designing demand driven continuous and mixed-model production flow. The outcome of the Flow Customizer is to create Production Modules that are connected to each other through Kanban system. The application of the algorithmic procedure is illustrated by an example that simplifies data taken from an actual context.

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Managing Variety in Configure-to-Order Products - An Operational Method - (pp. 195-206)

Anna Myrodia, Lars Hvam
Companies producing customized products tend to increase the variety of their product portfolio, in order to fulfill the demand of their customers and align their strategies with those of competitors. However, the profitability of product families may vary greatly. The purpose of this paper is to develop an operational method to analyze profitability of Configure-To-Order (CTO) products. The operational method consists of a four-step: analysis of product assortment, profitability analysis on configured products, market and competitor analysis and, product assortment scenarios analysis. The proposed operational method is firstly developed based on both available literature and practitioners experience and subsequently tested on a company that produces CTO products. The results from this application are further discussed and opportunities for further research identified.

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Scoping a Product Configuration Project for Engineer-to-Order Companies (pp. 207-220)

Sara Shafiee, Lars Hvam, Martin Bonev
When implementing a product configuration system in a company making complex and highly engineered products, many decisions need to be made in the early phases of the project. This article presents a framework for supporting the initial scoping process and discusses experiences from applying the framework in an engineering company. The framework covers a number of topics, such as identifying the users of the configuration system, prioritizing the user requirements, defining the input and output and considering the overall functionality of the configuration system. Furthermore, the scoping process considers the availability of product knowledge to model into the configuration system, the level of detail and which particular product parts and aspects to include in the system.

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The Emergence of Creativity, Innovation and Leadership in Micro-level Social Interactions and How to Research it (pp. 221-232)

Hans Lundberg, Ian Sutherland, Paul Blazek, Birgit Penzenstadler, Hagen Habicht
The moment-to-moment unfolding of innovation, creativity and leadership is complex, non-linear, recursive, largely tacit and influenced by micro-level social interactions. The methodology InnoTracing supported by the software InnoTrace enables insights into the black box of such emergent, situated processes by visualizing what participants regard as their particular ‘moments of significance’ (MOS) as they (according to participants subjective opinion) relate to creativity, leadership, and innovation unfolding in real time. By gathering, aggregating, and analyzing real-time data with a software tool InnoTrace, previously invisible micro-level social interactions are observed. The InnoTracing methodology, a complement to the software InnoTrace, is a further development of ethnomethodological methods, aiming to deal with such user-generated data. This provides a way to study creativity, innovation and leadership processes as they unfold in real time among various actors. This paper explains the InnoTrace software and InnoTracing methodology and presents first data results from one empirical study.

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Personalised Virtual Fitting for Fashion (pp. 233-240)

Fanke Peng, Mouhannad Al-Sayegh
The aim of this research is to develop and test the garment size recommendation app, ShapeMate, embedded within a fashion e-commerce site. Not finding the correct garment size causes the high return rate of 30%-40% (According to interviews commissioned by the research project with leading fashion e-commerce and retailers in the UK), in fashion e-commerce. The app captures a single image with minimal user input, to estimate and classify the 3D body shape, in order to generate body measurements and using this information, to match with garment data for size recommendation. An extensive user-experience study was conducted. The developed app was empirically tested through semi-structured focus group interview and questionnaires, to validate results and obtain further insight. This research offers a major innovation for low-cost size recommendation generated from a single image for fashion e-commerce. It enhances the online apparel shopping experience, by matching body measurements with a personalised recommendation for garments.

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