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This proceedings volume presents the latest research from the worldwide mass customization & personalization (MCP) community bringing together new thoughts and results from various disciplines within the field. The chapters are based on papers from the MCPC 2017. The book showcases research and practice from authors that see MCP as an opportunity to extend or even revolutionize current business models. The current trends of Industrie 4.0, digital manufacturing, and the rise of smart products allow for a fresh perspective on MCP: Customization 4.0. The book places a new set of values in the centre of the debate: a world with finite resources, global population growth, and exacerbating climate change needs smart thinking to engage the most effective capabilities and resources. It discusses how Customization 4.0 fosters sustainable development and creates shared value for companies, customers, consumers, and the society as a whole. The chapters of this book are contributed by a wide range of specialists, offering cutting-edge research, as well as insightful advances in industrial practice in key areas.

The MCPC 2017 has a strong focus on real life MCP applications, and this proceedings volume reflects this. MCP strategies aim to profit from the fact that people are different. Their objective is to turn customer heterogeneities into opportunities, hence addressing “long tail” business models. The objective of MCP is to provide goods and services that best serve individual customers’ needs with near mass production efficiency. This proceedings volume highlights the interdisciplinary work of thought leaders, technology developers, and researchers with corporate entrepreneurs putting these strategies into practice.

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Erratum to: Customization 4.0: Proceedings of the 9thWorld Mass Customization & Personalization Conference (MCPC 2017), Aachen, Germany, November 20th-21st, 2017

Erratum to: S. Hankammer et al. (eds.), Customization 4.0, Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics,

Stephan Hankammer, Kjeld Nielsen, Frank T. Piller, Günther Schuh, Ning Wang

Customization and Personalization via Smart Products and Smart Services


User-Centered Service Innovation for Commercial Vehicles: Plugging in the Handyman Market

There is no vehicle segment where personalisation is as common, as for Light Commercial Vehicles. These vehicles are used for a large variety of tasks, supported by an ever-increasing number of new services. For Light Commercial Vehicles, one of the most interesting market segments from the perspective of service innovation and product personalisation is the handymen market. Handymen have a very strong relationship with their vehicle, highly specific mobility needs depending on their specialisation, and spend a lot of time personalising their vehicle.This paper presents the Plugs concept. The Plugs concept is a new open-source approach to deliver personalised services for Commercial Vehicles to the handyman market. The concept was created based on user research and service innovation done by the TU Delft Design School in collaboration with Ford stakeholders from the Research and Innovation Center in Aachen. To deliver a broad variety of personalised hardware- and software-based services, called Plugs, to small handyman businesses in a cost-efficient way, Ford should build a strong open-source platform strategy around the core Ford Transit product, involving third-party developers and handyman lead users in the creation of these Plugs.

Kate Spierings, Nicole Eikelenberg, Dirk Snelders, Froukje Sleeswijk Visser

Design for Mass Individualisation: Introducing Networked Innovation Approach

This paper outlines a nascent field of product innovation, which we believe will become significantly more relevant in the near future. Product design for mass individualisation is a new product design paradigm that comprises an open hardware platform and multiple modules that are integrated with the platform. It gives freedom to end users to integrate different modules into the platform as per their choice. Large manufacturers will produce the platform and some specific modules. Other modules will be invented and produced by smaller companies and by the user. This type of product integration will be engaged with by the all actors involved in the design and aims to help them to be more creative and innovative. Strategic and technological integration of all these actors, which is also the theme of Innovation 4.0, is the main focus of this work to intensify the innovation. Key areas which need to be focused on are identified and presented by an explorative study of existing product design and customisation approaches. Based on the explorative literature analysis, an industrial questionnaire survey has been conducted, and results are presented for the industrial implication and insights on this approach. The findings clearly show that the end product from product design for mass individualisation will be more creative and innovative.

Ravi K. Sikhwal, Peter R. N. Childs

An Exploratory Study of User Interaction with Smart Products for Customization in the Usage Stage

In this paper, we propose a new concept to provide customized and user-specific products, utilizing the opportunities of so-called smart products: product customization in the usage stage (PCUS) with smart products (SPs). Contrary to the existing concept of utilizing online toolkits to customize products during the time of sale, a new class of smart products (made possible by recent digital technologies and the Internet of Things) allows product adaptation and change according to each individual’s needs in specific usage contexts through a new form of user-product interaction. This advanced ICT-enabled phenomenon offers many research opportunities. One of these fields is the perceptions of users of the SP’s smartness, i.e., a potentially autonomous personalization of the product based on past usage behavior of a user. While such an autonomous adaptation is convenient and reduces complexity for users, users may perceive a loss of control. This paper explores the design parameters for companies to develop user interaction with SPs for PCUS. We propose that users and smart products should coadapt to better satisfy customization needs.

Ning Wang, Frank T. Piller, Kanliang Wang

Datamodels for PSS Development and Configuration: Existing Approaches and Future Research

Product-service systems (hereinafter referred to as PSS) are a hybrid combination of products and services. They are problem-oriented solutions which address the individual needs of customers. To fulfill these individual needs, a customer-centric development of PSS is necessary. Therefore, a customizable product is essential, which can be designed with parametric and knowledge-based models.One of the biggest advantages of a PSS is at the same time one of the biggest challenges: addressing current requirements of customers during the life cycle. This results in the need of modifying the product during its use. In view of the existing hardware, an arbitrary modification is in contrast to product development not possible, which calls for refinement and adaption design.In this paper the idea of a variable product model – parametric during the development and case and rule based during the life cycle – is discussed, to show the advantages and assign different models to the phases of the life cycle.

Daniel Schreiber, Paul Christoph Gembarski, Roland Lachmayer

Demand Engineering in Mass Customization Using Data-Driven Approach

This paper proposes a general process framework of demand engineering as a significant platform of connecting requirements specification as one side and smart factory as the other, which can be applied to all industries. Our framework performs a sequential methodology to solve existing and prospective mismatching problems between two sides. This mismatching misperceives requirements of the market and simultaneously induces huge waste of manufacturing resources, thus severely hampering the industry transformation into Industry 4.0. Affected by the diversity of industries, the requirements to what degree of transformation also varies. Therefore, different industries must clarify their demand for demand engineering.

Rui Xu, Shuhui Qu, Ying Liu, Jie Wang

Adapting Product-Service System Methods for the Digital Era: Requirements for Smart PSS Engineering

In the past a lot of work has been spent on creating and improving methods to develop integrated systems consisting of products and services, named product-service systems (PSS). Due to the different disciplines involved in creating and maintaining these systems, e.g. service engineering, product and production engineering or information systems, the interfaces between the stakeholders have to be defined to integrate them and to make them work seamlessly. However, in recent years the concept of PSS shifted, influenced by the still growing impact of smartness and intelligence in the domain of information and communication technology (ICT). The rise of smart products and services led to the enhancement of “smart” product-service systems (smart PSS). This paper identifies, based on recent work and a literature review, methods developed for designing PSS. The main characteristics of the methods found are then analysed with regard to the affects smartness has on them. Knowledge about the smartness aspect is taken from descriptions of smart PSS. The findings are used to derive evidence about the transferability of PSS to smart PSS development methods.

Simon Hagen, Friedemann Kammler, Oliver Thomas

Digital Manufacturing and Industrie 4.0


A Marketplace for Smart Production Ecosystems

Managing Variability of Products and Factories

The need for product variability to satisfy the needs of customers means that the process of manufacturing these products must also expose a similar degree of flexibility. In this sense, production facilities (factories) can be seen as product lines of manufacturing services. The focus of this paper is on modeling variability of the products in association with the variability in production requirements – the interplay of which gives birth to a smart production ecosystem. We describe an open marketplace, where product sellers can offer their products with variability, end customers can configure these for their needs, and factories can offer their services to manufacture these customized products. Typically, the equipment used to build up the factory also offers variability; therefore the ecosystem also encompasses equipment vendors and the variability of this equipment. We attempt to bring together stakeholders of a production ecosystem in a marketplace that exploits product line engineering techniques.

Deepak Dhungana, Alois Haselböck, Richard Taupe

Exploring Barriers Toward the Development of Changeable and Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems for Mass-Customized Products: An Industrial Survey

Cyber-physical reconfigurable manufacturing systems that are able to efficiently produce customized products in lot sizes of one have the potential to significantly advance mass customization. Necessary enabling technologies are fast developing; however, the fundamental enabling principles of changeability and reconfigurability are still far from being reality in industry. Therefore, this paper explores organizational prerequisites and barriers for the development of changeability and reconfigurability, as well as significant differences regarding their presence in various industrial settings. The findings indicate that important prerequisites are only rudimentarily developed and that knowledge regarding reconfigurable system design is limited. Additionally, a long-term view on investments in production capacity and a strong coordination between production and product development were identified as prerequisites which existence are contingent on the industrial setting. The findings provide valuable insight into how to support an industrial transition toward changeability, in order to create the foundation for smart mass customization manufacturing.

Ann-Louise Andersen, Jesper Kranker Larsen, Kjeld Nielsen, Thomas D. Brunoe, Christopher Ketelsen

3D Avatar Platforms: Tomorrow’s Gateways for Digitized Persons into Virtual Worlds

3D avatar platforms are tools for offering customer services for production, distribution, and consumption of 3D avatars as a product. In this way 3D avatar platforms will become essentially a virtual home for realistic 3D avatars that can be used to explore virtual worlds that are a part of the platform or can be used as a “vehicle” for visiting virtual worlds on different platforms. Research on existing 3D avatar platforms is described in the paper, alongside their capabilities, tools, and the virtual worlds they offer. A 3D avatar platform showcase was developed for CeBIT 2017 as a proof of concept, and it will be used in the future as a gateway for digitizing persons into virtual worlds. The paper conceptualizes the possibilities and features of future 3D avatar platforms.

Dinu Dragan, Zoran Anišić, Srđan Mihić, Vladimir Puhalac

Automated Processing of Planning Modules in Factory Planning by Means of Constraint Solving Using the Example of Production Segmentation

For the adaption of factories, essential data are required as a basis in factory planning. Often these data are either stored in some form, at some location, or on some data medium, respectively, or are not available at all. Preparing these data for the planning process in a planning-appropriate manner can result in high effort. In order to counteract this situation, a data warehouse system can be used in the context of Business Intelligence for initially providing the data in a centralized and consistent form. The advantages of an up-to-date and consistent data base are shown by an example of the production segmentation. With the planning of the factory adaption by means of planning modules, which can be orchestrated individually, it is possible to process planning tasks automatically or partly automated. A given example of a vice production, which can be produced in four variants, was used to show the benefits and explain the approach in detail. Constraint solving, the modular planning process and the data available in the data warehouse enable the segmentation to be processed automatically and thus reduce planning time.

Julian Graefenstein, David Scholz, Oliver Seifert, Jan Winkels, Michael Henke, Jakob Rehof

A Digital Fabrication Infrastructure Enabling Distributed Design and Production of Custom Furniture

Thanks to the implementation of advanced technologies within simple-to-use responsive design interfaces, everyone can now purchase perfect-fit products from home. This is possible in several sectors, thanks to the great developments in information and communications technology (ICT) and the wide use of cloud computing. The furniture sector is yet scarcely influenced by this trend, still lacking of systems able to translate parametric design libraries in optimally scheduled, ready to be manufactured projects, correlated by list of operations and specifications for on time customers’ order fulfilment. This paper aims at describing an application model of the mass customization paradigm within the furniture sector, focusing on field-level solutions implemented to create a fully operative “design to manufacturing in one step” process. The integration of several software tools, market ready or specifically developed for the need, paved the way for the design of a seamlessly integrated production system able to manage the complexity of a mass customization environment. The proposed IT infrastructure is intended to run distributed design and production facilities fulfilling the requirements of a highly variable customer demand both in terms of product requirements and buying experience. The developed system has been tested within the context of a shopping mall where the design area and the manufacturing site have been installed for several days.

Andrea Barni, Donatella Corti, Paolo Pedrazzoli, Diego Rovere

Mass Customization 4.0 in AEC: Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Building Systems

This paper highlights the possibility to realize innovative building systems, thanks to additive manufacturing, opening the way to mass customization in AEC. Two examples of building systems are described, from ACTLAB, ABC Dept., Politecnico di Milano, that have been designed, thanks to computational tools and innovative manufacturing techniques. The first one is a functionally graduated lattice structure; the second one is a complex mould. Both have been realized with FDM and polymeric materials in a very interesting design to fabrication process. Finally some ‘what ifs’ are traced for a wide diffusion of AM in AEC.

Ingrid Paoletti

Managing Customized and Profitable Product Portfolios Using Advanced Analytics

Due to heterogeneous and volatile customer requirements as well as a growing demand for individualized products, companies nowadays face a highly uncertain environment. As a consequence, the number of product variants offered has increased drastically in recent years and across all industries. That way, the complexity of the product portfolio increased, too. Due to this complexity, internal costs rise and often outweigh possible sales revenues. Under these circumstances, to satisfy various customer requirements and to keep profitability high, a dynamic optimization of the product portfolio is necessary. Existing literature discusses the topic of configuration management for product portfolios regarding diverse circumstances. While current research focuses on the tracking of costs related to configuration changes either while they occur or retrospectively, no approach succeeds in cost and demand prediction. In this paper, the topics of product portfolio management and advanced analytics are combined to overcome the limitation of retrospective modeling. A concept for a methodology to dynamically optimize the product portfolio during the use phase is suggested. Moreover, the methodology aims at predicting the optimal portfolio configuration using real-time data and advanced analytics. That way, customized and profitable product portfolios are realized efficiently.

Günther Schuh, Michael Riesener, Merle-Hendrikje Jank

Impacts of Industry 4.0 on the Specific Case of Mass Customization Through Modeling and Simulation Approach

Since the last decades, companies have been increasing product variety, thus forcing manufacturers to create more and more customized products. To manage such contexts, manufacturing companies are adopting mass customization, i.e., a manufacturing strategy that aims to offer customized goods at low cost. Recently, advancements in information system technologies provide new opportunities for the manufacturing sector. In particular, the concept of Industry 4.0, i.e., the application of the concepts of smartness and networking to the manufacturing environment, is providing tools to reduce the complexity of managing production systems. Despite the relevance of both areas, how mass customization can be integrated with Industry 4.0 concept and what are the benefits of such an integration are still open issues. Therefore, this study investigates how to implement the Industry 4.0 concept for the specific case of mass customization industry and, by using modeling and simulation, proposes a quantification of the benefits of such implementation. Implementing Industry 4.0 solutions requires high level of investments, and there is a great need of research that outlines its quantifiable benefits to justify the investments. To the aim of the research, two conceptual models, one integrating Industry 4.0 and mass customization and one featuring only mass customization, have been developed. Afterward, these two models have been simulated in FlexSim software in order to measure the performance. The results obtained seem to be extremely favorable for the implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions on mass customization systems. Significant improvement in product completion rate on time, customer satisfaction rate, utilization of equipment, and waiting time in queues has been observed. This study will help mass customization industries to understand the opportunities and criticalities concerned with the implementation of this concept.

Ali Raza, Lobna Haouari, Margherita Pero, Nabil Absi

Mass Customization and Sustainability


Mass Customization and Personalization: A Way to Improve Sustainability Beyond a Common Paradox

While the entire world is measuring the energy spent in saving the environment, and sustainability is one of the trendiest words, the real meaning of the term and the way of making it more concrete is still not clear.Which is the perception of “sustainability” among academics, industrials, and common people? This perception appears as basis of a generally accepted paradox that brings the market players discussing about “recycling and renovating” and not measuring real users’ needs.The present paper tries to also understand how historically the market has produced the above paradox based on the economic value that dominates the global community.The analysis of the confusion about “end-of-life” and “beginning-of-life” of a product among consumers demonstrates the generation of a collective contradiction. The paradox of our society is in fact based on the consciousness of the “end-of-life” of the mass-produced products but with total ignorance of the waste energy for products never sold (“beginning-of-life”).The paper proposes a change in production paradigm as a possible solution to go beyond the paradox. Where today mass production (MP) is still the dominant paradigm, mass customization (MC) and personalization is becoming more accepted and feasible also, thanks to the technological developments and innovations.

C. R. Boër, C. Redaelli, D. Boër, M. T. Gatti

Mass Customization and Environmental Sustainability: A Large-Scale Empirical Study

A growing number of firms nowadays need to combine mass customization (MC) with environmental sustainability management (EM). However, the research on the synergies or trade-offs between MC and EM is still in its infancy. Furthermore, the few findings available in the literature are partly conflicting: some studies suggest that MC and EM may be synergistic, while others raise concerns on the environmental sustainability of MC. This paper contributes to this debate by presenting the results of the first, large-scale, empirical test of some of the synergies suggested by prior research. Our results support the existence of two types of synergies between the MC capability of parts commonalization and the EM capability of product stewardship. One type of synergy is explained by the fact that parts commonalization capability reinforces the positive effect of product stewardship capability on environmental performance (interaction-based synergy). The other type is explained by the fact that both these organization capabilities require the same routines of cross-functional integration (shared routine-based synergy). Besides enriching the debate on the relationships between MC and EM, our results also contribute to the broader discussion on the compatibility between economic and environmental sustainability dimensions.

Enrico Sandrin, Alessio Trentin, Cipriano Forza

Opportunities and Challenges of Product-Service Systems for Sustainable Mass Customization: A Case Study on Televisions

The diversification of products that adapt to specific customer needs has been a growing competitive advantage for many businesses. As customers become more self-aware and demanding in their buying preferences, mass customization (MC) is experiencing a considerable growth. In the light of growing trends towards sustainable consumption, MC can become a strong drive for the implementation of sustainable products and services. Product-service systems (PSS) exhibit attributes that can be harmonized with several features of MC, for instance, the enhanced communication mechanisms between customer and businesses. Hence, in this paper, we explore the potential conjunctions of the PSS and MC business models from a sustainable point of view. More specifically, we describe the opportunities and challenges of a sustainable product-service system (S-PSS) with focus on environmental impacts and how these services can influence the environmental performance of a mass-customized product. A case study is presented that describes the assessment approach that is based on the life cycle assessment (LCA) method on three comparative scenarios for sustainable product-service systems for a television. The scenarios selected are take-back service, extended warranty and changing to a renewable energy provider. Part of the analysis and results of this study are based on the research project SMC-EXCEL, a joint research programme supported by ECO-INNOVERA (funded by BAFU (Switzerland), BMBF (Germany) and TUBITAK (Turkey)).

Alena Hänsch, Julia Mohr, Iris Steinberg, Shirin Gomez, Maike Hora

Effects of Mass Customization on Sustainability: A Literature-Based Analysis

Sustainability has become increasingly important to business research and practice. Approaches, which support fundamental changes in behavior to act economic, ecological, and social, are required. A popular concept that contributes to these challenges is mass customization (MC). MC—defined as a competitive strategy—allows for producing goods and services for individual needs of customers. In doing so, it, for example, helps toward an increased product-customer relation, efficient production, and a high degree of personalized goods, which may have positive effects on the society and the environment (e.g., by reducing waste). In order to get an overview of which effects of MC toward sustainability are discussed, our study aims to synthesize prior literature. Therefore, we conduct an extensive literature review in different search engines to ensure a broad view on this topic. As a result, 33 articles that met our research purpose are obtained. These articles are coded by three researchers independently and—a total of 157 codes—are consolidated afterward to determine effects of MC on sustainability. Our classification indicates that mostly social (∼87%) and economic issues are addressed (∼84%), while ecological aspects are underrepresented.

Paul Christoph Gembarski, Thorsten Schoormann, Daniel Schreiber, Ralf Knackstedt, Roland Lachmayer

Exploring Drivers and Barriers for Sustainable Use of Resources: The Case of High-Tech Mass Customizers in the German Textile Industry

An efficient and sustainable use of resources is a core task for every company to ensure competitiveness and long-term success. Compared to large companies and corporations, SMEs have fewer capacities and knowledge of how to implement resource efficiency. Therefore, we explored the drivers and barriers for SMEs in order to both overcome existing challenges and address sustainability opportunities. The empirical field is the textile industry in Germany, which is considered particularly interesting due to high competitive pressure, long value chains, and its niche specialization. For this purpose, we conducted 14 interviews with company representatives of textile SME mass customizers in Germany. The results show that there is a wide range of possibilities for a more sustainable use of resources, which help textile companies gain a great economic advantage. Findings include three drivers and barriers each, for SMEs to implement sustainability-focused activities. Managerial implications present both recommendations for the textile industry as well as related SMEs in other domains.

Paula Rassmann, Leontin K. Grafmüller

A Preparatory Approach to Environmental Assessment for Sustainable Mass Customization

Mass customization (MC) is a growing trend in industry that fulfils the demand of customers for personalized products and services. Parallel to customization, more regulations and demand for sustainable products and environmental business practices have increased importance on the agenda of businesses today. However, the knowledge about the implementation of sustainable mass customization (SMC) models is still mainly theoretical. The SMC Excel project presents an approach for the development of an SMC environmental assessment based on life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology for a TV. The environmental assessment method denominated SMC Excel Sustainability Approach (SESA) presented in this study aims to provide reliable information of the environmental impacts of a product (TV) while serving as an efficient and applicable assessment methodology for MC. General requirements for the SESA are described and applied to a case study of a TV. Furthermore, the result of a full-scale LCA of a standard TV model is compared with those impacts obtained by SESA, which indicated that the variance between both results is nominal and, thus, SESA can represent a valid approach for environmental assessment methodologies. Additionally, with the test case scenario of a take-back service where both methods are compared, the impact disparity is similarly low. Nevertheless, further research and testing are required in order to improve accuracy and methodological procedures of the SESA method.

Alena Hänsch, Maike Hora, Alessandro Fontana, Stephan Hankammer, Luca Canetta, Shirin Gomez

Choice Navigation and Customer Interactions for MCP


The Importance of Choice Navigation in Starting Configurator Projects

Choice navigation can support customers in identifying their own solutions while minimizing complexity and the burden of choice. Product configurators are used as an interactive tool to help customers in this process. For companies aiming to develop a configurator from scratch, there are many hurdles. Particularly for SMEs, there are additional challenges, such as shortage of resources, experience, and knowledge in developing a viable configurator tool. In this paper, we explore the process of designing choice navigation through a product configurator tool. We review existing methodologies and propose a new process model. Empirical data come from a case study of three SMEs embarking on the process of establishing a choice navigation tool. The proposed model is developed in the context of the research project CustomR. The new process model is cyclic and customer-driven and aims to develop need-based configurators (as opposed to a linear, technology-driven, and function-based approach). The paper reports on challenges and success factors from an ongoing configurator development project.

Ottar Bakås, Lars Skjelstad, Børge Sjøbakk, Maria K. Thomassen, Paul Blazek, Martina Partl

User Interface Trends for Mobile-Optimized Product Configurators

Until now studies and research haven’t focused on the importance of mobile-optimized product configurators, but this topic was rather mentioned in articles and blogs. Since millennials, the first truly digital generation of people born between 1980 and 2000, have a rising online purchasing power and prefer mobile phones to desktop devices, this topic is relevant for science dealing with mass customization and configurators. Thirty percent of millennials use their mobile phone for shopping; furthermore they are interested in personalized or customized products. Four in ten millennials are open to co-create products with companies. So it can be assumed that offering customizable products and services optimized for mobile usage may have a significant relevance. This paper will take a closer look at the status quo of online product configurators regarding mobile optimization in the apparel industry. A quantitative and qualitative research will try to find out if there are any user interface design trends to pave the way for further research.

Paul Blazek, Klaus Pilsl

Open Access

An Evaluation Model for Web-based 3D Mass Customization Toolkit Design

The development of geometric modelling technologies and web technologies provides the ability to present a virtual 3D product in a mass customization (MC) toolkit. Compared with 2D graphic toolkits, 3D toolkit design requires better consideration of individual customer needs, consumer and toolkit interaction, and also a means of integrating with the underlying technical infrastructure. However, there is currently no widely accepted model or criteria to regulate and evaluate 3D MC toolkit design. Given these considerations, in this paper we provide an evaluation model for web-based 3D toolkits and a heuristic evaluation of two representative commercial web-based 3D toolkits. The evaluation results indicate the usefulness and effectiveness of the model as a scale for evaluating 3D toolkits. It also reveals that despite a fair amount of effort that has been devoted to theoretical research, current 3D toolkits are still at an early development stage. We therefore conclude this paper by identifying and encouraging further topics and questions as directions for future research.

Huiwen Zhao, Leigh McLoughlin, Valery Adzhiev, Alexander Pasko

Front-End/Back-End Integration in Mass Customization: Challenges and Opportunities

Many mass customization challenges can be ascribed to insufficient integration of front-end (e.g., customer choice navigation processes, product configuration, user interfaces, and customer behavior patterns) and back-end (e.g., order management, purchasing and production planning and control) systems. To succeed as a mass customizer, customer/manufacturer integration is critical. This paper provides in-depth insights to integration challenges and opportunities based upon a case study of four manufacturing companies. For solution space and product development, high uncertainty in new idea generation, lack of systematic product and solution space development, and limited knowledge of what is the “right” solution space are identified as challenges with opportunities for improvement. Regarding choice navigation, many companies have limited direct contact with end customers due to sales through dealers and resellers. Associated inefficient information flows are another challenge. The companies acknowledge opportunities related to advisory support during the sales process, as well as enhanced external collaboration with, e.g., complementary actors. With respect to back-end systems, inefficient information flows also occur here. This, in combination with a large number of freestanding ICT systems, results in cumbersome production planning and execution. This is complicated even more by incorrect basic data. Finally, there are major opportunities in automatic visualization and efficient utilization of key information from the entire value chain. In addition to outlining several directions for further research, the paper provides in-depth, company-based insights to key integration development areas, which managers may use when developing their own mass customization practices.

Børge Sjøbakk, Maria Kollberg Thomassen, Lars Skjelstad, Ottar Bakås

Design and Development of the CEM-Dashboard: A Diagnostic Tool to Determine Your Current Position and Improvement Directions in Customer Experience Management

Customer experience management is gaining attention from companies in the latest years. Companies realize that it is not anymore sufficient to only meet customers’ functional demands but that customers are also in need of a pleasant treatment, personalized attention and communication, trouble-free and smooth operations, and good feelings from interacting and transacting with companies. We call this total set of positive emotions that customers are looking for the customer experience.This customer experience can be managed as many researchers and practitioners have stated. For this, several model-based approaches for customer experience management have been developed by academics and practitioners, but usually they prescribe actions on a high strategic level and omit to close the PDCA loop with an assessment of the results. Organizations that are looking for specific actions and their effects because of their closeness to the customers, like customer contact centers, mass customization producers, web retailers, and service providers, therefore feel neglected and surpassed by these models.To fill this gap, we designed and developed a diagnostic and benchmark tool, the CEM-Dashboard, for such companies to determine their current position and improvement directions in their efforts to implement customer experience management in the company and its processes.

Marcel Weber, Arend Hofsink

Product Configuration in the ETO and Capital Goods Industry: A Literature Review and Challenges

Product configurators are IT tools often used to enable choice navigation in mass customization environments, with the purpose of giving companies the ability to interact and deliver customized products to the customers. While product configurators have been widely adapted and investigated in the consumer industry, research on which challenges companies are facing in the ETO and capital goods industry, in regard to product configuration, is less extensive. Therefore, the objective of this paper is to identify challenges in applying product configuration for ETO and capital goods companies, as well as reviewing potential solutions in research, which can be applied to address these challenges. The findings show a gap between the solutions and challenges especially in the area of staging commitments of product characteristics, flexible management of alterations to the configuration design, and connecting decision criteria in product configuration with supply chain processes. The gap analysis lays the foundation for future research.

Bjørn Christensen, Thomas D. Brunoe

The Individualization of Mass Customization: Exploring the Value of Individual Thinking Style Through Consumer Neuroscience

Neuromarketing is looked upon by some with suspicion, others with enthusiasm: it is seen either as a dastardly way of getting inside our heads to make us buy what we do not need or a potentially better means to glean more accurate consumer insights to guide design and production of goods, services, and experiences leading to commercial success. Can brain science reveal the nature of individual thinking style to help the consumer collaborate so effectively with the mass customization (MC) provider such that she really gets exactly what she wants or needs? Could deeper knowledge by the consumer of her own neural processes empower her to assist the MC provider in elevating her perception of value of the customer experience? If an individual’s thinking style is innately unique and situation or context specific, then studying the individual‘s perception of the consumer experience via exploration of factors related to her inimitable cognitive processing could help individuals gain, and practitioners and scholars provide, further insights into enhancing the relational value of MC. This paper is an initial exploration of how consumer neuroscience might be useful to the consumer and firm to further individualize and enrich the consumer’s perception of value of the mass customization experience.

Frances Turner

User Interface Modifications in Established Product Configurators

The evaluation of the gathered data in the Configurator Database, the biggest collection of web-based product configurators, shows dynamic patterns of growth and decline in product configurator offerings in the last years. While customizable products of all product groups and industries disappear from the market and others are newly added, there are quite a number of established customizable product offerings. This paper researches how the product configurator user interfaces of these successful products undergo modifications when compared over time.

Paul Blazek, Clarissa Streichsbier, Martina Partl, Lars Skjelstad

Solution Space Development and Variety Management


Data-Driven Product Family Modeling with Feedback

In order to become a successful mass customizer, companies must be in control of their product variety. This is to ensure that the product variety is sufficient in order to satisfy the range of customer demands but also to ensure that there is no excess variety, which compromises efficiency in business processes and manufacturing processes. This is often addressed by establishing product family models which represent the variety in a specific product family and any constraints there may be. In this paper, we first present a literature review of the currently existing product family modeling methods, in which it is concluded that most current methods are stand-alone, document-based methods, which largely do not consider integration with other product data systems or feedback from production and products. We then propose a number of new approaches to product family modeling, which utilizes data from other systems such as ERP and PDM, which enables a more fact-based modeling process. Furthermore, the proposed approach enables feedback loops into the product family model, which is possible due to advances in connectivity (IOT applications). The new approach will enable better qualification of decisions regarding product variety management once implemented.

Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Kjeld Nielsen

Production Platform Development Through the Four Loops of Concern

Managing product variety is still an issue in the industry and one that gets a lot of attention. Among several ways to address this issue is the development of platforms. Platforms, for instance, coupled with the use of reconfigurable manufacturing systems, can potentially enable manufacturers to deal with a more dynamic market, an increase in variation and decrease in product lifecycle. The development of these platforms and systems is often difficult to begin and even more so to finish. This paper presents a method for developing and codeveloping product and production system platforms, using concepts from the field of software architecture development. Development and implementation of the method were carried out through case studies in two Danish companies. The method is an iterative approach consisting of four loops with four steps each. It facilitates the utilisation of concepts and tools from software architecture development during the platform development process.

Daniel G. H. Sorensen, Jacob Bossen, Mads Bejlegaard, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Kjeld Nielsen

Integrate Customer Order Decoupling Point and Mass Customisation Concepts: A Literature Review

The postponement represents the key strategy for companies to achieve mass customisation. It is associated with the customer order decoupling point (CODP) positioning: the backward shifting, from a pure standardised configuration (i.e. make-to-stock (MTS)), allows companies to delay some supply chain activities until the customer order arrives, increasing product variety while maintaining efficiency. This concept has been widely analysed in the literature, but there is a lack of studies about the means to reach more standardisation starting from a pure customised configuration (i.e. engineer-to-order (ETO)). Nevertheless, the movement toward mass customisation benefits also ETO companies, by reducing costs and lead times while assuring flexibility, and represents a need in the high-competitive global markets. Therefore, this concept needs to be extended to a wider perspective that includes possible levels of customisation achievable from different configurations. This is possible through a good understanding of the CODP theory. This paper reviews the CODP literature to investigate the different existing perspectives and classify them in a structured framework. This framework compares the CODP literature with the mass customisation one, to understand what are the interconnections among them in the actual state of the art and what is missing to achieve a more general view of these concepts. This allows the study to open further research highlighting the recent trends and the uncovered topics.

Violetta Giada Cannas, Margherita Pero, Tommaso Rossi, Jonathan Gosling

Mass Customization in Food Industries: Case and Literature Study

The food industry currently faces demands for more diverse products. This introduces a different competitive environment than the food industry has traditionally experienced. A possible solution to the change in customer demand is to apply the business strategy, mass customization, which enables customized products at prices near that of mass-produced products. Although mass customization has been utilized in several different industries, the food industry has not yet seen this business strategy widely adopted. This paper presents a literature review, which only reveals few works within mass customization in the food industry. The limited literature covers food manufacturing processes, product configuration, and supply chain. To examine the potentials and challenges of mass customization in the food industry, a case study of a food manufacturer is conducted. It becomes evident that the case company has challenges with mastering the capabilities required to achieve mass customization. The challenges identified in this study are (1) no product solution space development, (2) limited knowledge of raw material, (3) manual equipment adjustment, (4) dedicated software and hardware solutions, and (5) limited choice navigation. In light of the listed challenges and the limited literature in the field, it is clear that more research is imperative in order to enable mass customization in the food industry.

Sofie Bech, Anne-Sophie Schou Joedal, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Kjeld Nielsen

Can the SME Successfully Adopt Mass Customization?

The mass customization (MC) literature has, so far, primarily focused on how large enterprises (LEs) successfully can achieve mass customization, neglecting the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME). Since SMEs constitute a major part of the global economy, this paper has the purpose to examine whether the MC literature’s propositions and best practices are directly transferable to SMEs. Based on data from a large international survey, the paper concludes that, from an environmental perspective, both LEs and SMEs could use MC to cope with fluctuations and attain a competitive edge. The results also indicate that LEs have implemented all but one of the studied MC-enabling practices to a much higher degree than SMEs. To become successful mass customizers, the average SME still has to improve substantially. More specifically, the results indicate that the average SME needs to (a) increase the degree of communication and collaboration with customers and suppliers; (b) integrate design and manufacturing organizationally and through manufacturing and design technology, tools, and techniques; (c) control and improve the quality and flexibility of its manufacturing processes, machinery, and equipment; and (d) create an organization supporting open communication, employee autonomy, and continuous improvement.

Henrike E. E. Boer, Kjeld Nielsen, Thomas D. Brunoe

Productivity, Challenges, and Applying Mass Customization in the Building and Construction Industry

The productivity in the Danish construction industry is significantly less compared to other sectors in Denmark. It has only doubled over the last 50 years, and based on this fact, this paper as a starting point look into the productivity of the building and construction industry to investigate trend similarities with other countries. Hereafter a literature study elaborates the challenges within the building and construction industry to understand the conditions that strain the industry in improving productivity.Mass customization as a strategy has increased productivity and competitiveness in other industries in Denmark, and despite that mass customization has not been explored much in the research field of the building and construction industry, so implementing this strategy might affect the building and construction industry in a positive way. Therefore, this paper also study some indicators that justify mass customization as a strategy applicable within the building and construction industry, as well as some assumptions and requirements of applying mass customization.

Kim Noergaard Jensen, Kjeld Nielsen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Jesper Kranker Larsen

Flexibility in Mass Customization of Houses

Mass customization as a business strategy serves to provide for product variations while maintaining the efficiency of production. Houses are one-of-a-kind products that reflect social and cultural differences of inhabitants who live in them. True adaptation of mass customization in the housing industry demands for flexibility, that is, stability and responsiveness in producing highly customized houses. Achieving that requires smooth flow of information among and effective collaboration between customers, designers, and manufacturers. This paper presents a comprehensive framework in the adaptation of mass customization in the housing industry by delineating fundamentals and technological developments in design, customization, and manufacturing spaces. Difficulties and challenges of such an approach are discussed from both companies’ and customers’ perspectives.

Salman Khalili-Araghi, Branko Kolarevic

Product and Service Variety Versus Internal Performance: Toward New Balances

Increasing customer demands for individualized solutions has a major impact on the manufacturing sector. Companies are confronted to producing high volumes in order to meet market demand while customizing their offering to meet specific customers’ requirements. One of the subsequent major challenges of this situation is to cope with the high offering variety while ensuring higher performance within the production system and supply chain of the solution provider. This paper deals with the impact of integrating products and services on the variety-induced complexity. Based on a consistent literature review, a model is proposed to conceptualize the main drivers of variety management of product and service offering. The ultimate objective of the model is to support decision-makers in the identification of balances between customer satisfaction and supply chain performance.

Khaled Medini, Abderrahmane Moujahid, Xavier Boucher, Alain Bernard

Validation of Metrics for Mass Customization: A Pre-study of Validation Methods

Over the last two decades, literature presents mass customization metrics; recent research presents these in relation to another recent research: the framework of three fundamental capabilities in mass customization. The metrics presented are all considered useful in company applications like ERP systems. A firm validation of each metrics is not confirmed in the literature. This research aims to address the lack of method for validation: firstly, by identifying a commonly accepted method or procedure to follow to validate a metric (case study was identified as such commonly accepted method) and, secondly, by performing a simple analysis following the method proposed to assess the potential (an analysis of repurchase rate metric was performed on a small case dataset, and it clarified the potential in the procedure for validation).

Kjeld Nielsen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Simeon Dechev Simeonov

Teaching Solution Space Development: Experiences from the Hanover Knowledge-Based-Design-Lab

Although the concept of knowledge-based design (KBD) and engineering (KBE) is discussed for more than 20 years, only little application outside of academia is documented. Existing approaches are predominantly limited to niche design activities or to aviation and automotive engineering. This fact does not originate from missing IT support or the lack of KBD functionalities in contemporary computer-aided design (CAD) systems but rather from deficiencies in education. As a study showed, in many curricula in engineering design the setup, structured exploration and management of (geometry-based) design solution spaces for configuration and optimization are yet not present. In the following article, we present our experience with the Knowledge-Based-Design-Lab which is held at the Leibniz University of Hanover for 5 years. Scope of the tutorial is shifting the traditional modeling of mostly rigid geometrical product models to automate routine design tasks and create configurable virtual prototypes.

Paul Christoph Gembarski, Roland Lachmayer

Mass Customization of Textiles and Fashion Products as a Special Field of Application


Fashion Apparel Industry 4.0 and Smart Mass Customization Approach for Clothing Product Design

Fashion Apparel Industry 4.0, which created what has been called a “smart factory,” is now a paradise of real-time efficiency. With its work force and manufacturing ability, it is able to keep pace with fashion trends and work closer to market to achieve a mass customization program. This paper examines the potential of clothing configuration within the personalization and mass customization concept. Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, creating a virtual copy of the physical world and making decentralized decisions. Even if some manufacturers have managed this approach successfully, others have only poorly grasped it. The increase in purchase returns for personalized and customized clothes both in stores and on the Web creates headaches for retailers because it affects their brand image, customer perception, and loyalty intention. The first problem is related to the 4.0 manufacturing aspects with measurements, adaptation of patterns, and flexibility in methods and manufacturing deadlines. The second is the lack of knowledge and experience on the part of the manufacturers to properly use the configuration systems. It has become increasingly important to understand how to create an approach for configurator implementation for the clothing personalization and mass customization program. For producers to make the most of this approach, they need to better understand what can be done in terms of clothing personalization and mass customization capabilities. We discuss custom clothing in conjunction with the effects stemming from the evolution of mass production practices. This led us to explore from different angles the problems related to the automation of standard sizes and integration of “fits” done in traditional ways as well as computerized ways with respect to product adaptation. In this paper, we also analyze the mass customization concept and propose technological and transparent operational approaches aimed at initiating useful discussions to better understand these issues and the new culture that has been created.

Jocelyn Bellemare

Individual On-Demand Produced Clothing: Ultrafast Fashion Production System

In the textile and clothing industry, global value-added networks are widespread for textile and clothing production. As a result of global networks, the value chain is fragmented, and a great deal of effort is required to coordinate the production processes. In addition, the planning effort on the quantity and design of the goods is high and risky. Today the fashion industry is facing an increasing customer demand for individual and customizable products in addition to short delivery times. These challenges are passed down to the textile and clothing industry decreasing batch sizes and production times. Conventional clothing production cannot fulfill those demands especially when combined with more individual designs. Hence new sustainable and economical production concepts have to be developed. Together with the adidas AG, Herzogenaurach, a flexible and automated in-store production concept for knitted customized merino wool sweaters has been developed. With “Industrie 4.0” technologies, an urban and customer close production system has been developed. The analysis of the economical key performance indicators shows how such a new production system performs against a conventional production in Asia and where potentials are hidden.

Daniel Buecher, Yves-Simon Gloy, Bernhard Schmenk, Thomas Gries

myShopNET: Personalized Consumer Goods e-Commerce Platform

myShopNET is an EU COSME research project whose focus is on personalizable, design-driven, consumer goods. These products have unique requirements, due to its nature: for example, there is no physical sample before the good has been manufactured, and it is not manufactured before the customer co-design it, so there is not possible to see it or to try it before it has been purchased, requiring specific solutions to overcome these kind of problems, like fitting and sizing tools, pre-visualization tools, or co-design tools.myShopNET main result will be a market-ready software platform that allows a user to create in less than 24 h a complete e-commerce solution specifically addressing the needs and requirements of the commercialization of customizable design-driven consumer goods, comprising specific modules for three types of products (footwear, shirts, and high-end fashion) and being easily expandable to new ones.

Rafael Hernández Stark, Pascual Martínez Ibáñez, Enrique Montiel Parreño

Mass Customization Practices of Malaysian SMEs Apparel Sector: An Exploratory Survey

Mass customization (MC) is one of the business methods, which combines the flexibility and custom-made products, associated with mass production. Recently, this business strategy has received vast attention from industries and the academic world, but the approach is still inadequate in Malaysia especially the SMEs apparel sector. The aim of this study is to examine the MC practices in Malaysia’s SMEs apparel sector besides to carry out the fundamental overview concerning the factors of MC implementation, in collaboration with the Malaysia SMEs apparel sector. The method used was survey (open-ended questionnaire) and involved participation from 343 SMEs. The preliminary analysis demonstrates that the Malaysia SMEs apparel are motivated and have intention to implement MC approach, but the overall competency of MC approach is still missing. However, the overall finding shows that the knowledge of MC significantly predicted the readiness factors p < 0.05, while the manufacturing process flow becomes the key indicator to look at for the MC implementation. Besides, respondents also did not see any financial issues as a major barrier for MC implementation. This will give positive prospect to emphasize this method among the entrepreneurs. Briefly, this study provides an overview in understanding the requirement, execution, and future challenges for MC implementation. It also discusses the advantages in implementing MC in the Malaysia SMEs apparel sector. Furthermore, the implementation of MC as their business strategy will encourage the companies to become more competitive.

Rohana Zur, Syaimak Abdul Syukor

Attitudes Toward Apparel Mass Customization: Canadian Consumer Segmented by Lifestyle and Demographics

The widespread of the Internet and mobile applications among consumers made it possible for them to access markets otherwise inaccessible. Manufacturers became able to reach consumers directly, thus reshaping their shopping experience. Technological advances in apparel manufacturing and e-commerce made apparel mass customization available to consumers online.Online clothing sales are rising in Canada and the USA, and so is the trend of customizing and personalizing products. However, relevant studies on consumer attitude and adoption and lifestyle segmentation are very limited in general and missing the Canadian market. Moreover, none included dress social tendency as segment.This qualitative study is the first to explore the uptake of apparel mass customization online by Canadian consumers and identifies its ideal target market using multilayer consumer segmentation. This multilayer segmentation is also the first to apply the dress social tendency theory in conjunction with clothes shopping behaviour and demographic data that includes body mass index (BMI).Data collection methods include an interview and a questionnaire. The sample consists of thirteen (13) participants, aged 21–65, 8 females and 5 males, from various cultural backgrounds, all residents of Ottawa, Canada’s capital.This study provides Canadian consumer attitudes toward apparel mass customization and identifies characteristics of its ideal target market. Its methodology and findings contribute as the basis for a large-scale quantitative study applicable to various global markets including that of Canada. The findings would be of interest to apparel mass customization management and marketing executives and user experience researchers and designers.

Hala Hawa


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