The Time for Mass Customization Has Arrived Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas Edison There&8217;s an allegory that many inventors have used to define their moment of inspiration when diligence, a strong work ethic and imagination met at the intersection of unmet needs &8211; and a paradigm shift in technology happened. Thomas Edison once said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. That&8217;s the case with mass customization, make-to-order, configure-to-order and engineer-to-order product strategies globally, across manufacturers and service organizations today. In the work of mass customization are significant rewards to customer responsiveness, service, and financial performance of any organization. Aiming at the goal of driving lean manufacturing, companies are finding that the strategies that looked like the hardest work, dressed in overalls as Edison would say, are delivering the biggest impact on the financial statements of the companies that boldly take on serving customers in entirely new ways. Driving costs of organizations through more accuracy in orders, assuring that highly configured products are actually what a customer has ordered, and making the many product attributes in complex products accessible for the creation of entirely new production workflows and products, is real and is delivering costs savings while driving up margins.
Charlie Carson, Milan Kratochvil
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