O’Mara publishes paper on mass customization
Kevin O’Mara, professor of management in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, published a paper entitled “The Strategic Case for Mass Customization” in the summer 2011 issue of the Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences.
The paper presents the strategic case for Mass Customization. The forces driving Mass Customization are examined and key implementation questions are discussed. Mass Customization is positioned as a strategic alternative and not merely a production option. The literature stresses the difficulty of designing an organization that is engaged in a dialogue with its customers and responsive enough to deliver customized offering as a result of that dialogue while also possessing an organizational structure that retains cost efficiencies. However, even though the challenge to actually offer a customized offering at a mass production price is a significant capability, it may not lead to a strategic advantage. This paper elevates the discussion of Mass Customization to the strategic level and suggests firms should consider strategic concepts such as core competences, switching costs, proprietary processes and other sources of competitive advantages before embarking on a Mass Customization initiative. If these competitive advantages either do not exist or will be quickly matched by competitors, the initiative will certainly add complexity but probably not profits to the organization.