Friday, May 15, 2009

Integrating Mass Customization and Social Networking

‘This is the era of Mass Customization”, our Operations professor has repeated this line innumerable times in each class.
Mass Customization is “producing goods and services to meet individual customers needs with neat mass production efficiency”. (definition: Tseng and Jiao (2001, p. 685)
The famous example was of TVS Scooty, where the outer frame, which is colored is separate from the rest of the machine and according to demand the plastic frame of desired color is put on ‘Just in time’.
Another example was that of Asian Paints where one has the option of mixing the colors on a computer kiosk in Asian Paint Shops and then that customized paint.
Reebok has taken the concept one step ahead in the shoe industry and combining it with mobile technology. The users have option of 3 shoe designs where they can customize what colors/materials they want in their shoes. And all this from their I-phones in an interesting, user friendly application. [Link]
If the integration of Mass Production, Customization and Mobiles was not enough, a social networking angle has been added too. These days we love to share our lives – anything from an insignificant “feeling bored” to sharing marriage pics. So why not let the world that you are getting a customized shoe from Reebok which has X, Y, Z colors and looks like this.
Quite innovative of Reebok to get into their consumer’s lives and interact with them almost one to one.
Talking of trends, Reebok will have a powerful tool once they put up all the designs being purchased on a Google Map. Interesting insights about consumer behavior can be in store for them there.

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