Since Henry Ford’s assembly line, factories have been geared towards the goal of mass production - the production of large amounts of standardized products. The reasoning behind mass production is that you need economies of scale in order to produce goods at a reasonable price; the upfront costs of starting manufacturing can only be covered by making products in very large quantities.
Now, with new technology advances, it seems that the era of mass customization is about to dawn. According to the APICS definition, mass customization combines “the low unit cost of mass production processes with the flexibility of individual customization.” Simply put products are adapted to customers’ individual needs.
Mass customization seemed to be almost an impossible goal, and some early attempts ended in failure, e.g., Levi Strauss manufacturing customized jeans. It was easy to customize for small quantities and with high prices, but a major stumbling block was making the process work profitably at scale and with competitive prices.
We select 4 mass customization case studies which reveal the secret behind the relationship between mass customization and IoT.
Beckhoff - Series Production with Lot-size-1 Flexibility
Siemens - Driven by Data
Flextronic - Recoeding the Run
EPLAN - When Customised Systems Are Standard