Mass Customization with Configurable Products and Configurators: A Review of Benefits and Challenges

Mass Customization with Configurable Products and Configurators: A Review of Benefits and Challenges

Mikko Heiskala (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Juha Tihonen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland), Kaija-Stiina Paloheimo (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland) and Timo Soininen (Helsinki University of Technology, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-260-2.ch006
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Abstract

Configurable products are an important way to achieve mass customization. A configurable product is designed once, and this design is used repetitively in the sales-delivery process to produce specifications of product individuals meeting customer requirements. Configurators are information systems that support the specification of product individuals and the creation and management of configuration knowledge, therefore being prime examples of information systems supporting mass customization. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no systematic review of literature on how mass customization with configurable products and use of configurators affect companies. In this chapter, we provide such a review. We focus on benefits that can be gained and challenges which companies may face. A supplier can move to mass customization and configuration from mass production or from full customization; we keep the concerns separate. We also review benefits and challenges from the customer perspective. Finally, we identify future research directions and open challenges and problems.

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