Architecting for Mass Customization: Reducing the Costs of Complexity

by Timothy W. Simpson

Customer demand for individually configured and customized products is on the rise across all industries. Companies are faced with the challenge of maintaining cost and quality while producing customized products with heightened response to individual customer needs. Given recent advances in design and manufacturing technology, how do companies architect their products and their platforms to achieve effective mass customization? How does a company develop a robust, yet flexible, architecture that accommodates an evolving product line? What are the best practices and constraints/inhibitors for using modularity to reduce complexity and balance individual customer needs? In this talk, I will provide an update on an ongoing industry study led by the Industrial Research Institute (IRI) that is focused on the product design and architecture implications of mass customization on manufacturers/producers. The project is using a breadth of approaches and maturity of IRI members (and beyond) to determine best practices to achieve design for mass customization while identifying common pitfalls. A common theme that is emerging in the study is the use of advanced design and manufacturing technologies to reduce the costs of complexity to enable mass customization. Opportunities to engage in the study will also be discussion.

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