Mass customization is the classic oxymoron. And the idea sounds silly right? Large-volume production of made-to-order products. That’s what “mass customization” implies. It just doesn’t sound possible.
Regardless, the next industrial tide, what some are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is heading in precisely that direction. And, some companies are actually accommodating mass customization and not going broke. In fact, they are beating out their competitors and earning more profits.
How do they do it?
Top-performing manufacturing companies are embracing digital technologies to do what was literally not possible in the past. Technologies such as advanced simulation, virtual prototyping, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), and others are transforming the entire product development process.
One of the primary reasons for the demand for mass customization is the vast popularity of online shopping. In that virtual world, ordinary consumers have an abundance of choices. Some product manufacturers even let their customers configure personalized versions of their products online, such as ClearVision, URB-E, and others.
Why bother with all this mass customization stuff when designing industrial equipment? According to Aberdeen Group, an international research firm that collects and analyzes data on buyer behavior, a one-size-fits-all manufacturing mentality no longer applies.
Personalizing and customizing products for every customer is not an easy undertaking. Industrial equipment designs need to build in flexibility to adapt to unpredictable changes in the market. Manufacturers need to be ready to accommodate both mass production and mass customization with equal efficiency. And newer technologies such as augmented reality, 3D, video, or other visually engaging tools need to become an integral part of your product development arsenal.
The ability to design innovative industrial equipment is the lynch pin of mass customization success. It is one of the keys to delivering a completely modernized customer experience. According to the Aberdeen Group, leveraging digital technology solutions in your product development process can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and increase profit margins.
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