Mass production involves making many copies of product, very quickly for lowest possible cost. It is all about producing standardized products using assembly lines. The term mass production was invented almost 100 years and it became a symbol of Industrial Revolution.
Here is the news… It looks like that era of mass production is coming to its end. Customers (you and me) are demanding customized products that will be tailored to our specific needs. Mass customization is a new frontier in business for manufacturing. At its core, mass customization methods should address a tremendous increase in variety and customization without a corresponding increase in costs. At its limit, it is the mass production of individually customized goods and services. At its best, it provides strategic advantage and economic value.
Mass customization is tricky and it requires rethinking of many applications and services we use to support manufacturing business. It includes design, manufacturing planning, cost, vertical integration and many others. I covered some of these topics in my earlier articles – The role of PLM in mass customization; Mass customization is a real reason for PLM to want MBOM; Cloud CAD / PLM and mass customization future.
3D printing and other new manufacturing technologies combined with new software technologies such as cloud computing and internet can make a real difference. What about custom-made high-heel shoes? In my earlier blog, I shared a story from Thesis Couture about how to make 3D printing to make tailored high-heel shoes a reality.
Earlier this summer my attention caught Dassault System announcement – 3D Printing-Ready Application to Personalize Goods for “Online Retail”. It speaks about new product – 3DVIA Make which supposed to help retailers to offer customer-personalized products without requiring a huge back-end inventory or a lengthy fulfillment process. The following video is offering an interesting process – collaborative personalization.
The following passage can give you an idea what is behind the scene.
Collaborative personalization is a process where the brand, the retailer and the customer collaborate to create personalized products. Seamlessly integrated with your online store, 3DVIA Make enables you to deliver brand-approved personalized products. Your customers personalize products within the parameters you set, while capturing their individual needs and desires. 3DVIA Make brings the power of product personalization and the flexibility of 3D printing to consumers that want to create a one-of-a-kind product and enables retailers to develop on-demand businesses and to avoid many of their current associated costs.
What is my conclusion? The trick is to increase in variety and customization without a corresponding increase in costs. This is a biggest problem to turn mass customization into reality. It looks like some industries will be a low hanging fruit for PLM vendors to support mass customization. Retail and jewelry is one of them. 3DVIA Make is a good example how to embrace 3D printing technologies together with cloud services to turn mass customization into a reality. This is a friendly note for PLM strategist and architects. Future techniques and industries are open for discovery. Just my thoughts…
Image credit Dassault Systemes