Manufacturing practices: antecedents to mass customization

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Title: Manufacturing practices: antecedents to mass customization
Author: Qiang, Tu; Vonderembse, Mark; Ragu-Nathan, T.S.
Abstract: Mass customization is a strategy that many firms are adopting to exploit the demand for products that meet the needs of individual customers. Mass customization capability is a firm's ability to manufacture products that meet a variety of specific customer requirements quickly at a cost that is comparable to mass-produced products. The challenge for manufacturing managers is to find ways to cope with environmental uncertainty and increasing product variety through mass customization without affecting lead-time, cost or quality. Based on data collected from 303 US firms, this study investigates manufacturing practices (re-engineering set-ups, preventive maintenance, cellular manufacturing and quality assurance) that enables firms to enhance mass customization capability. When the sample is divided into firms with high versus low environmental uncertainty, the results show that these manufacturing practices tend to have a greater impact on mass customization capability when environmental uncertainty is high than when it is low.
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Date: 2004

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