4 03, 2013

RWTH-TIM Conference: Business Model Innovation is topic of Aachener Innovationsplattform 2013

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:11+00:00 März 4th, 2013|Events, General|

(In German for our German speaking readers: An invitation to the annual conference of our RWTH TIM Group. This year's topic: Busines Model Innovation)

AIP2013Die Aachener Innovationsplattform ist einer der wichtigsten jährlichen Veranstaltung des Lehrstuhls für Technologie- und Innovationsmanagement (TIM) an der RWTH Aachen. Im Mittelpunkt steht dabei der Erfahrungsaustausch unter erfahrenen Praktikern aus F&E, TIM, New Business Development und Strategie.

Die Veranstaltung findet im Rahmen des TIM-Expertenkreises an der RWTH Aachen statt, ein Zirkel leitender Manager und Experten im Innovationsmanagement meist großer globaler Unternehmen.

Die AIP 2013 wird ganz im Zeichen eines der relevantesten und zugleich herausforderndsten Themen einer sich schnell wandelnden Marktumwelt stehen: Neue innovative Geschäftsmodelle erkennen, erschließen und erfolgreich umsetzten.

Unternehmen müssen zunehmend über neue Möglichkeiten zur Erreichung der Unternehmensziele nachdenken und stellen dabei fest, dass das traditionelle Geschäftsfeld nicht mehr trägt.
Neben Impulsvorträgen und Praxisbeispielen steht dabei wieder vor allem der persönliche Erfahrungsaustausch zwischen den Teilnehmern im Vordergrund.

Wir freuen uns, Sie im April zur 4. AIP in Aachen begrüßen zu dürfen!
Auf der offiziellen Konferenzwebsite finden Sie ausführliche Informationen zu Inhalten, Speakern, Anmeldung und Organisatorischem.


Aufgrund der hohen Relevanz des Themas bieten wir einem begrenzten Teilnehmerkreis die Möglichkeit, sich im Rahmen des RWTH Zertifikatskurses "Business Model Innovation"
mit uns noch intensiver auf die spannende, aber planbare und systematisierbare Reise
der Business Modell Innovation zu begeben und anhand aktueller Fallstudien und Good-Practice-Beispiele
(aber auch der Analyse von Flopps und Mißerfolgen) ein Instrumentarium
zu entwickeln, um erfolgreich die Prinzipien von Business Model
Innovation anzuwenden.

Das erste von zwei Modulen findet parallel zur AIP 2013 vom 17.-19.04.2013 statt und beinhaltet den Besuch der Konferenz!

26 02, 2013

Open Letter to MCPC Community: No MCPC 2013 at MIT, but many new opportunities

By | 2018-06-14T06:48:14+00:00 Februar 26th, 2013|Events, General, MCPC 2007, MCPC 2009, MCPC2011, MIT SCG|


In case you participated at the last MCPC conference in San Francisco (Nov 2011), I
believe you had, like me, a great conference experience. In fact, many of you already asked
me about the next event.

I am really sorry to inform you that for personal and capacity reasons, we will
be not able to organize and host the MCPC in 2013
at MIT.

the great experience of MCPC 2011 in San Francisco would have been difficult
and a lot of work, demanding capacity (time) that we as the original hosts and
organizers do not have available any longer.

I am
doing many exciting things in Europe and the U.S., but also have many commitments and responsibilities which do not give me the chance
any longer to invest in the MCPC as I did in the past. The same holds true also
for the core team of people at MIT and HKUST that were instrumental in doing

But I
believe that this is not the end of the MCPC but just the beginning of more:

customization now is at a transition point where we do not have to discuss it
any longer, but just should practice it.
This demands a different format of
exchange in-between practitioners.

this reason, we have established an exciting associate
membership format
for companies in the MIT Smart Customization Group at MIT
Media Lab.  We believe that such a
consortium of trusted members, meeting 2-3 times a year at MIT or in a company,
can provide a better way of exchanging experiences and learning from each

case you are interested to join our MIT group, head here
: http://scg.mit.edu/people/corporate-members

will continue to have smaller events or seminars at MIT, and there are the
established mini-conferences of the MCPC family and several upcoming special
tracks in established conferences.

But I also strongly believe that a large MCPC-alike conference still makes sense!

Mitch Tseng and I are open for any research group that feels empowered and
strong enough to do an academic-practice event similar to MCPC
. I am happy to
support this as far as I can (mainly with publicity), but be warned that this
demands at least Euro 100K investment and about 1 person year full time capacity
for preparations, the CfP, paper reviews and management, and event organizations
(and we never made any profit with the MCPC as we wanted to keep this an
affordable community event).

case you have a realistic plan to host (and fully organize) this conference in
the future, let us know – or just do it: We do not claim any ownership or
exclusivity of mass customization events. In fact, it really should become more
a community organized thing!

So even with a MCPC conference organized by my colleagues and me, I am looking forward to may exciting interactions and meetings.

19 12, 2012

[Interview] Anthony Flynn & Emily Flynn Vencat, Authors of „Custom Nation“

By | 2018-06-14T06:49:01+00:00 Dezember 19th, 2012|Books, Customization Trends, General, Interview, Personalization|

Anthony_FlynnAs promissed in our recent book review of Custom Nation, authors Anthony Flynn and Emily Flynn Vencat, participated in our interview series with MC&OI entrepreneurs to share their experiences in the customization market, their book and who could profit most from reading it.

 FTP: Can you tell a little bit about yourself? What do you do and where did/do you get your experiences with mass customization from?

ANTHONY: I’m the founder and owner of YouBar, the world’s first customized nutrition bar company. I started the company in 2006 after feeling frustrated by my inability to find an off-the-shelf nutrition bar that met my – admittedly very specific – health and taste needs. So, I started custom-making bars for myself, and I thought there would be a huge market for bars made to meet individual consumers’ own unique needs and, out of that, YouBar was born.

Since then, I’m extremely proud to say that I’ve grown the company to seven-digit annual sales, and now employ 30 people in an 8,000 square foot facility in downtown Los Angeles. Thanks to my success with mass customizing, several years ago I started being invited to give talks on customizing to universities around the country (from UCLA to MIT), and have become a consultant to companies looking to add an element of customization to their existing mass-production based business models.

There has been so much interest – and this extended to the press too: I’ve given interviews to hundreds of news organizations, including the New York Times, Good Morning America and NPR – that I saw that there was a real need for a book to be written about how customization is changing the way we do business in the 21st century. But I’m not a writer, and that’s where Emily came in…

EMILY:  That’s right. Several years ago, Anthony – who in addition to being my co-author is also my brother – came to me with the idea for this book. At the time, I was working as a business journalist in London – I was Newsweek’s London-based business writer and, after that, was a business writer at the Associated Press — and Anthony told me he wanted me to write this book with him. At first, I was extremely sceptical (and also very busy!), but the idea was so compelling that it didn’t take long before I was convinced and we signed with our publisher last year.

FTP: On the early pages of your book you tell us that "outline exactly how you too can use customization to launch a successful new business, or exponentially increase sales in your existing business". That sounds like a pretty ambitious promise. Have you found the holy grail of retail?

ANTHONY: I don’t think we’ve “found” the holy grail of retail. I think it’s been there all along. If you think about the way that the very rich have always consumed goods, you’ll see this. The wealthy have never really bought into the idea of consuming mass-produced stuff en masse – they’ve always had everything important custom made-to-order – from their furniture to their homes to their suits.

What’s new, and what I think we’ve “found” in our book is that – thanks to new technologies, like the internet’s ability to connect producers directly to retailers, the advent of online configurators and new production methods – high quality custom goods are now affordable to the average person (and not just the super-rich) for the first time in history. Because this shift is so new, however, many companies haven’t yet embraced it or figured out how to do it right. Our point in the book is to provide a guide for how to do exactly this.

FTP: You also write about a shift from DIY (Do It Yourself) to CIY (Create It Yourself). What exactly do you mean by that?

EMILY: Before the Industrial Revolution, custom goods were actually the norm – even for the very poor — because Americans did everything themselves, like cook their own dinners, make their own furniture and sew their own clothing. What’s new about today’s customization is that it isn’t Do-It-Yourself (DIY); it’s Create-It-Yourself, or what we like to call CIY. Create-It-Yourself is when you get to do all the fun parts related to making something new, like designing the flames emblazoned on the side of your Mustang or choosing the exact ingredients in your gluten-free nutrition bars, without having to do the hard work of stencil painting or wheatless cooking yourself. Using online configurators, consumers can now participate in the high-level design of their products without having to get their hands dirty.

FTP: Without revealing too much from your book: Where do you see the most critical failures companies make when implementing or maintaining an MC strategy?

ANTHONY: The number one problem that I see and hear about again and again when companies begin customizing is that they start off giving their customers too many choices. Just because you run a customizing company, and want to give your customers choices to match their exact needs, doesn’t mean that you need to offer a million different colors or sizes or whatever. Earlier this week, I spoke to an executive at Nike who told me that it’s actually Nike’s goal right now not to add more customization to its excellent custom sneakers platform, NikeID, but actually, rather, to make it “simpler.” When you give your customers too many choices, they can find it overwhelming and difficult to engage with. What’s more, from a business perspective, if you offer too many choices you can end up painting yourself into a corner financially.

FTP: And how do you think these shortcomings could be prevented?

ANTHONY: In Chapter Nine of the book, we outline the “Seven Lessons” for how to get customization right, which we derived from our interviews with the CEOs and founders of many of the world’s most successful customizing companies, including Vistaprint’s Robert Keane and Shutterfly’s Jeff Housenbold. I think all of these lessons are absolutely crucial, but – as implied by my previous answer – one of these lessons is that, even in the customizing model, a business should never give consumers too many choices. We give concrete details, examples and advice in this chapter about what exactly that means. Here’s just one basic example of limited choices in action: on the Ford Mustang Customizer website, consumers can choose from dozens of hood designs and paint jobs, but they don’t pick the materials used in the engine.

FTP: In your book you talk about the "automated expert". What do you mean by that?

EMILY: One of the most important technological developments that has made mass customization possible is the advent of online design tools – also known as “configurators” – which allow customers to go on websites and create their own products without needing the help of a human expert.

In the 20th century, one of the main reasons that customization was the preserve of the ultra-wealthy was that if you wanted to custom design something, you needed an expert at your elbow to help you turn your idea into real image. If, for example, you wanted to design a suit, you needed a tailor. If you wanted to design a ring, you needed a jeweller… and so on. Imagine, for example, trying to sketch your perfect suit or ring without expert help. For the vast majority of us, our basic drawing skills and lack of knowledge about how materials work would make this utterly impossible.

And human experts are expensive. But now, configurators allow even the non-expert consumer to go online and use automated tools to create-their-own suit or dress or jewelry or interior design – this list goes on and on – without needing an expert on hand. The configurator is, in essence, the affordable automated expert.

FTP: Can companies save themselves from some painful experiences if they read your book before acting? 

ANTHONY: Absolutely. Our lessons for how to customize identify pitfalls, like the problem with too much choice or the potential difficulty with choosing a price-point for your custom good, that are extremely easy to navigate once you know they’re there, but almost impossible to avoid if you don’t know about them. Honestly, I wish that someone had written this book seven years ago so that I could have read it before starting YouBar and avoided making so many of these costly mistakes myself in the first year of my business.

FTP: Where do you think mass customization is going? And what does still need to be done to make it an even more successful movement?

EMILY: In the next ten years, we are going to see a shift in what’s considered ‘normal’ in retail. In dozens of important industries, the ‘normal’ thing we buy is going to go from being a mass-produced item to being a made-to-order customized item.

The shift is actually already heavily underway in the auto industry, and its quickly coming in apparel, accessories and entertainment. For proof of this, you only have to look at the way young consumers – those under the age of 30 or so – are already buying things. Young consumers no longer see customization as a luxury in many parts of their lives, they just expect it. Instead of listening to entire mass-produced CDs, they tune into completely customized playlists care of iTunes or the popular custom radio station Pandora.

Instead of watching pre-set television channel line-ups, they watch on-demand digital recordings on Netflix and YouTube. Instead of driving identical cars — like the Baby Boomers once did with their one-size-fits-all 1960s VW Beetles – they purchase custom, built-to-order Scions on the company’s customizing website. In fact, Scion isthe most popular car brand in America with buyers aged 18 to 27, and I’m sure this is because of its great, and affordable, customizing platform. If you look closely, there isn’t a single aspect of young consumerism that isn’t starting to be customized.

The Millennial generation gets custom dating recommendations from matchmaking websites, like Match.com, they have custom sneakers on our feet (from brands like Nike and Converse), custom sweatshirts on their backs, custom cases for their iPhones and custom newsfeeds from social networking sites like Facebook.

FTP: Is mass customization for everybody?

ANTHONY: Yes. There isn’t a single industry that won’t be transformed by the shift to customization within the next decade. Already, we’re seeing every major company – even the most classic mass-producers — target their advertisements in customized, individualized ways online. This is the first large and important step towards thinking about consumers as unique individuals and not a single mass with homogenous tastes and values, as was the 20th century norm. 

FTP: Thank you both for this really insightful interview! 

22 10, 2012

European Commission is Funding Research on Mini Factories for Customized, Decentral Production

By | 2018-06-14T06:50:12+00:00 Oktober 22nd, 2012|General, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

Logo_enAs part
of the Factories of the Future Call, the European Commission is focusing on
mini factories for customized products using local flexible production.

This is
a topic that I have researched for a very long time, staring with a large
research cluster during my old times at TU Munich (here some old paper: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/3-540-27367-0_27), and continuing with more recent research.

So it is
very interesting that the EU Commission now also is taking up this topic and
proactively is asking for proposals. In their call, they formulate future needs as follows:

Advanced production
and innovative systems are needed to enable ultra-fast and cost
effective manufacturing of fully customised products on the spot
and exactly at
the required time
. Innovative production solutions must be developed to bring
manufacturing operations closer in time and space to the final customer. In
addition, new factory concepts need to be developed like on-site factories or
factories-in-a container
, which provide instant manufacturing and customisation
services in retail environments.

mini-factories, addressing adaptation to customer needs at or near the point of
sales or use, will be characterised by fast ramp-up, small footprint and
reusability, and will be easy to handle and to set-up. Those production systems
should also include related new technologies for supply chain management,
product distribution and direct end-user interaction.


The call expects project results to have the following impacts:

  • Increased ability to rapidly follow the market dynamics by means of fast
    production and delivery of personalised final products.
  • Reduction of the time to market by 50%.
  • Cost
    reduction (around 30%) by decreasing lead times in product and process
  • Set-up
    and ramp-up time reduction (around 30%) for new processes and plant designs of
    the mini-factories.

This is
a really interesting field, and if anyone is searching for a scientific partner from a business school eager to join a consortium,
please let us know 🙂

29 08, 2012

The next big trend in innovation management: Reverse Innovation: A book review and how does this relate to open innovation

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:15+00:00 August 29th, 2012|Books, Cases-Industrial, General, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies|

Reverse Innovation as seen by Google Image Search

Reverse Innovation as seen by Google Image Search

I am sometimes asked what is the next big trend in innovation management. Given a number of recent discussions and observations, I would now bet high stakes that "Reverse Innovation" will be the idea that will shape our understanding of innovation management a lot in the next years.


The term reverse innovation, in short, describes how innovations made in the so-called developing countries can often lay the foundations for product innovations in the "developed" world. More often than not, these are relatively cheap yet efficient new concepts which can seriously callenge products on an existing "western" market — they often are a source of disruptive innovation.

Developing countries are catching up on the knowledge- and technology gap and with that comes an increased chance for major innovations to be born in these countries. And this is where open innovation thinking comes into play: 

  • First, we know from lead user research that lead users often develop novel innovations under extreme conditions. Developing countries often provide these extreme conditions (budget, but also climate or working conditions) — hence leading to a high incentive to innovate in a functional novel way.
  •  Second, a core idea of OI is to get input from unobvious others — this is where broadcast search helps a lot. And developing countries offer a great potential for "unobvious" sources of ideas.
  • Third, when established companies develop a product for a new market that demands a "good enough" solution that only costs 10% of the comparable established "western" product, they are often forced to look into very new fields and approaches — input that often only can be acquired by looking beyond the firm's borders.

Hence, for established companies, reverse innovation offers both a source often "open" thinking and input for the own innovation process, and at the same time demands new approaches and networks.

 If you want to learn more about reverse innovation, there is one book to read:

Copyright Harward Business Review Press, all rights reserved!Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere

Written by: Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble, Indra K. Nooyi (Foreword)

Availible at Amazon: Hardcover Edition, Kindle Edition

Prof. Vijay Govindarajan
( Tuck School of Business ) is the leading scholar researching this field. Together with his collegue Chris Trimble he has recently published his new book about the topic which I read in my recent summer vacation.

The book is an easy read: In part one, Govindarajan and Trimble describe in rather brief form how major companies are beginning to realize that the popular concept of glocalization is not necessarily the best approch to conquer new markets. They describe the flaws on the concept and why reverse innovation promisses better results in many cases.

Glocalization refers to the business concept often associated with the saying "Think Global, Act Local", in practice realized by taking an already existing product and adapting it to new target markets. If the target market is part of the developing world, these adaptions are usually severe downgrades.

Govindarajan/Trimble explain that these downgraded products are in fact often not what the target market needs – or even wants. Each market requires products fitting it's specific needs and given resources. And that is something that can often no be achieved by just stripping product features to allow a cheapter retail price.

The authors show how reverse innovation can help to overcome this barrier. By inventing locally, right at the target market, instead of at home, far away from the conditions and actual customers, companies can be enabled to develop the exactly right product for the market – not a stripped down version of an existing good.

While reverse innovation is the more risky, more pricy alternative at first glance, and many internal and external obstacles have to be overcome, the described advantages are remarkable: Not only can a company better tackle local markets in the developing world. Products invented abroad have a high potential of being cheaper, offent radically innovative and can potentially be engineered to become suitable alternatives for existing products on the companie's home market as well. The innovations made abroad come back home: Reverse innovation.

Part two of the book has eight business cases in which the conecpt is applied and explained why it is advantageous over other approaches. These include companies like Logitech, P&G, EMC, Deere, Harman, GE Healthcare and PepsiCo.

So, in conclsuion, a very interesting concept, and important idea, and a good read!

21 08, 2012

Update: YOUTAILOR Finds New Investment, Withdraws Insolvency Application

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:21+00:00 August 21st, 2012|Clothing, Failures and Flaws, General, MC Graveyard|

Copyright YOUTAILOR, www.youtailor.de, all rights reserved!Just a few days ago, we reported about two mass customization companies that did not make it on their market for custom shirts. Amongst them was German start-up YOUTAILOR, one of the leading entrepreneurs in the field of online custom tailors.

Just moments ago we received news from YOUTAILOR's public relations department, informing us that the company has managed to find a new investor to support its future operations. From what we have learned, Christian Heitmeyer of Pearl Bay Beteiligungs GmbH, a German investment company already involved with ventures such as brands4friends and Allyouneed.com, has decided to commit to YOUTAILOR and help the company to stay in business.

As a result, YOUTAILOR has withdrawn their insolvency application which they had filed in July of this year.

It is great to see that an uprising German start-up gets another chance to develop and (re-)establish itself in the market of mass customized clothing. We will watch their further work and report back on their future successes – or lack thereof.

The full press release (in German language) by YOUTAILOR as sent to us today, August 20th, 2012, can be downloaded here.

16 08, 2012

The MC Graveyard: Ideas that did not make it: YouTailor & Shirts Onthefly

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:26+00:00 August 16th, 2012|Clothing, Customization Trends, Failures and Flaws, General, MC Graveyard, MC/OI on the Web|

Graveyard_by_flicr_CC_open_LicenseAlthough mass customization has proved to offer great opportunities to companies of all sizes, there also have been quite some failures. We will try to look into some of the companies that did not make it in a new series of posts.

And there are many of these failures! When conducting the research for the MC500 study, we learned that over the period of just one year, 17% of our original sample population went out of business. Analyzing the failure reasons showed that these startups on the one hand face "common" challenges of startups like not progressing out of the bootstrapping phase into a scalable business due to undercapitalization, wrong investment policy, overconfidence, and an insufficient business model as well as problems within the team, such as the loss of key employees.

But on the other, there are two more specific reasons for failures of MC companies, according to our research:

First, difficulties encountered by the studied MC companies may be ascertained to possible inadequacies of their toolkits. Many of the toolkits that we studied do not follow the design principles suggested as success factors by previous research: Only 55% instantly visualize consumer input, less than 20% of vendors make use of peer input in the design process, 61% do not provide information on progress of purchasing process. Only 22% allow customers to share their creations with others, just to mention a few shortcomings. The reality of toolkits clearly falls behind the academic research on design parameters of successful toolkits, suggesting a large shortcoming in transferring research into practice.
Secondly, problems in making mass customization work may also lay elsewhere. In an exploratory survey of 68 entrepreneurs and consultants active in the MC business (conducted in Oct. 2009), for instance, we discovered that detecting customer idiosyncratic needs and creating flexible fulfillment processes are considered as more serious concerns (average score=4.0/5 and 3.9/5) than creating toolkits that support the sales process (average score=3.5/5). This  research, the preliminary results of the Customization500 study, and many interactions with managers during case-study based research show that profiting from mass customization is not an easy task!

Two current examples have been the market for custom tailored men's shirts. The German MC blog egoo.de recently reported on two consecutive insolvencies of companies believed to be promising ventures.

First company to be hit by bankruptcy was German start-up YouTailor, one of the leading entrepreneurs in the field of online custom tailors. Despite a number of potent backers like Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and myphotobook, YouTailor CEO Michael Urban had to file insolvency mid-June caused by financial irregularities, as eggo.de reports.

Just two weeks later, another mass-custom shirt company, SHIRTS ONTHEFLY, had to strike colors or, as egoo.de quotes the company's announcement, to declare "the mission to make high-quality bespoke shirts available for everybody" a failure. Very sad indeed, seeing how they had announced to team up with Berlin-based venture Upcload, enabling customers to measure themselves via webcam capture technology.

May there be a trend indicating that custom tailored shirts are not very high in demand? Or may it be more likely that these two did not do one of the most important things when establishing a new MC company: Seek qualified expert advise and connect with other founders and MC entrepreneurs to share experiences.

Egooo.de is speculating that the heavy use of Groupon may have facilitated the bankruptcy of YouTailor. No other company in the mass customization domain has used Groupon so often, sometimes with discounts of 50% (which makes no sense at all for me if I consider the economics of mass customization manufacturing — there you wanted stable sales, no sudden peaks!)

For the full stories about YouTailor and SHIRTS ONTHEFLY, head over to egoo.com by blogging colleague Heiko Vogelgesang!

1 08, 2012

Meet Christian Guelpen, Editor in Chief of Mass Customization & Open Innovation News

By | 2018-06-14T06:54:36+00:00 August 1st, 2012|General, Interview|

Version2_web_2Everyone who knows me better may have wondered about the strong increase in blog postings since the last year. The reason is not that I discovered this extra 25th hour of the day, but that Christian Guelpen became a strong partner in form of an editor in chief and producer of this blog. Christian is in not just turning my blog ideas into great postings, but has also developed a great talent to know before me what I might be interested in. 

So, while I am very open to get your mails and comments in person, I also encourage you to contact Christian directly for any ideas for a story, any news, or tips.

Instead of a long introduction, here are three questions I asked to Christian:

FTP: What makes mass customization or open innovation such an interesting
topic for you?

CG: Mass customization is what I consider to be the future of retail, both for the B2C and B2B market. Historically, goods of all kinds were rather individual. On small local markets the demands of customers were well known to the sales- and craftsmen who were well-advised to make their products and services match these needs. 

With the industrialization came a loss of individualism in regards to every-day products. For a long time vendors had to produce stadardized goods to be competitive on a more and more globalized market. 

What we experience now is that mass customization takes the most globalizing of all technologies, the internet, and turns it into an enabler to make products and services more individual again, at a reasonable price. And MC is still developing. Once it has reached its full potential in a few years or so we will most definitively see applications of individual mass production that we can not even imagine as of today. 

And with regard to open innovation, I find it fascinating that it is not just about product innovation, but that it can serve a greater social goal by making knowledge and, equally important, emotions availible to others. The internet is the hardware, the great enabler of global connectivity. Open innovation is the software, the concept needed to channel all these connected minds to help them contribute in their area of interest. 

FTP: What would be a story you would like to cover for this blog?

CG: Ideally one in which a company manages to significantly raise its sales numbers by deciding to offer either mass customization for their existing products or employ open innovation techniques to find out what their consumer base really wants – and how it can be made reality. And while such stories of course do exist, I would love to cover the entire process of a large(er) company successfully implementing one (or both!) of the concepts, to give others an example of why and how it does work in practical details. So if anybody is just about to start doing this, please give me a call! 

FTP: What is the mass customization offering you are still waiting for?

CG: Truly individual books. By that I do not mean these already existing offers which customize stories by exchanging a characters name by yours but really individualized novels which are individually written based on what you think and dream about. Books that make your very personal fiction a readable reality. However, until somebody comes along and invents a mind reading device to serve as a capable "configurator" in this venture, fully customizable appartments (not just what you put into them) would be a great thing to have as well. 

3 07, 2012

Traveling in the Name of Science: RWTH TIM Group’S Delegation at the MC2012 in Salzburg

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:27+00:00 Juli 3rd, 2012|Events, General|

Copyright FH Salzburg, http://www.fh-salzburg.ac.at, all rights reserved!What a week! After the great Open Innovation summit at the Imperial College in London, hosted by my dear colleague Prof. Joel West on Monday/ Tuesday and the TTC mid-term event on thursday, last Friday was the great day: The MC2012, greatest MC/OI conference in German language took place in Salzburg, Austria!

It was a wonderful event with a lot of members from the MC/OI "family", friends and experts from many fields of mass customization. And, of course, we were amongst them, too!

Accompanying Stefan Thallmaier (representing Leipzig Grad. School of Management in our cooperative research project KUMAC) and myself, our research group's members Dr. Christoph Ihl, Wolfgang Gruel, Thorsten Harzer, Evalotte Lindgens, Moritz Wellige and Christian Gülpen assembled at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg to speak, listen, network, and exchange on the latest and greatest in MC and UI. 

Copyright CoworkingSalzburg Romy Sigl, all rights reserved!
Christoph Ihl, Wolfgang Gruel and Thorsten Harzer also contributed to the agenda, speaking about new findings from our MC/ OI research, the Customization 120 and how Daimler develops customized mobility services as a new offering.

More about their presentations and, of course, the entire conference will follow in another post really soon — so stay tuned!


21 06, 2012

Mass Customization Explained – The Full Series from Innovationmanagement.se

By | 2018-06-14T06:55:51+00:00 Juni 21st, 2012|Customization Trends, Featured Research, General, MC/OI on the Web, MC500, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

Innovation management, all rights reservedI have been tweeting about it during the past weeks as more episodes have become availible:

Together with my colleagues Fabrizio Salvador and Dominik Walcher, we have been given the opportunity to provide an extended overview on eight parts of various aspects of mass customization on the well-known innovation blog Innovationmanagement.se .Finally, the last episode has been published.

The series consists of 8 parts, starting here.

In the series, we tried to shed some light onto:

  • Part 1: Introduction: Competing in the Age of Mass Customization
  • Part 2: The Market for Mass Customization Today
  • Part 3: Solution Space Development: Understanding where Customers are Different
  • Part 4: Robust Process Design: Fulfilling Individual Customer Needs without Compromising Performance
  • Part 5: Choice Navigation: Turning Burden of Choice into an Experience
  • Part 6: Choice Navigation in Reality: A closer look into the Customization500
  • Part 7: Overcoming the Challenges of Implementing Mass Customization
  • Part 8: A Balanced View: Conclusions and Key Learnings
22 03, 2012

The Million Dollar Zazzle Innovation Challenge: And the Winner is … SELVE

By | 2018-06-14T07:13:34+00:00 März 22nd, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Customization Trends, Design, General, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, T-Shirts, Technologies & Enablers|

Zazzle_bannerToday, the winner of the "One Million-Dollar Zazzle Innovation Challenge" has been announced. The contest was launched during the MCPC 2011 conference and saw an enormous participation with about 1,000 entrants submitting their proposal.

Zazzle_awardDuring the last days, a panel of judges picked the winner, which was presented during a nice ceremony at the Haas School of Business of the UC Berkeley today. At the left, a few impressions of the day:

  • Henry Chesbrough opened the event with a very nice talk about the promise of mass customization;
  • Jeff Beaver from Zazzle addressed the audience and introduced the finalists,
  • Elizabeth Miller, Head of Creative at HASBRO, presented a great talk on the power of personalization and how a large company like Hasbro can benefit from a customization platform like Zazzle.
  • And then the five finalists gave short presentations on their companies and idea — really cool! Just check the videos below to get some ideas.
  • Finally, Dean Richard Lyons of Haas announced the winner!

Five companies have been nominated. Here are their pitches why they should get the 1Mio Zazzle award:

Republic Bike

Everybody loves to ride a bike in the summer. But not everybody loves to ride the same bike. Why not design the bike of your dreams from the convenience of your couch and have it custom-built an shipped to your doorstep? Their pitch: Make bikes as the customers' canvas — and allow then to really create a custom bike.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Why do women own so many shoes? Maybe because every one has something special that they like about it. For everybody with limited storing space, Selve offers the opportunity to pack all these special details into one shoe, your shoe.  Their pitch: We did ten years of homework and now have a great product space and manufactuing — and ready for a huge audience.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Everybody is different. And every body is different. And if you are a sports enthusiast who wants to give his body exactly the nutrition it needs, YouBar now might have you covered. Their pitch: With YouBars, Zazzle could enter the large growth field of custom food.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Do you sometimes wish your fancy iPad, useful as it is, would be a bit more…individual? DODO certainly does and gives you the tools to design your very own, handmade iPad case, that can (but does not have to) look like your favorite book. Their pitch: DODOcase would bring traditional craft to the Zazzle world of mass customization.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO


Few things can personalize a home better than individually designed and crafted pieces of art and assessories. With Designescape's concept including production with modern lasercutters, individually produced home decoration could become an affordable reality soon. Their pitch: Bring laser cutting technologies to the Zazzle platform to do many more amazing things.  –> WATCH THE VIDEO

And the winner is …

SelveIt was really difficult to select a winner, but in the end SELVE was selected as the recipient of the Zazzle Innovation Challenge 2012! Congratulations, and I am sure we soon will learn about the outcomes of this cooperation!  (on the left, Selve founder and CEO Claudia Kieserling who joined by video from Germany)


 Extra:  Amongst the entries that did not make it into the finals, many presented really interesting, funny, creative and/or useful ideas. Honorable mention can especially be given to …

  • Unitedstyles. A plattform for consumer-designers to design fashion, buy their individual pieces and open virtual stores. (Video)
  • Modify Industries, Inc. High-design co-creation of goods with a high grade of interchangable elements.
  • Spek, personal eyewear. Eyeware, personalized in design, fit and shape, using modern 3D printing technologies (Video)
  • Happy Toy Machine. Enables kids and the young at heart to create their own cool, cute, and crazy custom plush toys online. (Video)
  • Easy DIY Nail (Yuan Lu) Individual fingernail design made easy (Video)
  • Fabric on Demand. Affordable custom fabric printing – bring your pictures and designs on fabric (Video)
  • Waggers Pet Products Inc. Give your pet the best you can with individualized pet food.
9 03, 2012

The Market for Mass Customization: Results from the Customization500. Part II: The State of Choice Navigation Toolkits

By | 2018-06-14T07:13:44+00:00 März 9th, 2012|Books, Cases-Consumer, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, General, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

 (Part 2 in our series with key results from the Customization500 study. Part 1: Some Data on the MC industry structure).

MC 500 cover finalThe Customization500 study (see http://www.mc-500.com) provided us also a very detailed view into the current practice of choice navigation and online configuration. When crunching the numbers, we found a large puzzle:

The reality of toolkits clearly falls behind the broad body of academic research on design parameters of successful toolkits.

You find lots of additional information about the Customization 500 (short: MC500) study in a special section in my blog, www.mc-500.com


How did we evaluate customer satisfaction with a configuration toolkit


We used more than 40 parameters to evaluate the state and design features of each toolkit in our study (Table 3).

Data presented for each Customization 500 company
Table 3: Data collected for each configuration toolkit profile


This objective data was then matched with the performance outcome of the toolkit, i.e. the perception of our trained experts of the configurator.

For this evaluation, we used five criteria to measure the performance of a configuration toolkit in our sample:

(1) visual realism, (2) usability, (3) creativity, (4) enjoyment and (5) uniqueness.

All impressions were measured by our panel of trained expert judges on a 1 to 5 rating scale (1=very low value / 5=very high value).

  • Multiple items: For most of these criteria, we used multiple items to gather the scope of these criteria. Items were grouped and tested with the help of factor and reliability analysis.
  • Inter-rater reliability of these factors was checked with the Intra- Class-Correlation-Coefficient.
  • Performance: Finally, the single factors were combined to one overall performance factor.

In more detail, the five evaluation criteria were constructed as follows:

  • Visual Realism was measured by means of one question “How realistic do you assess the visualization of the configuration process?”
  • To measure usability, the evaluators were asked to rate: "The configurator is (1) intuitively usable, (2) user-friendly as well as (3) clearly and (4) logically structured".
  • The creativity factor consisted of two items: "(1) The website gave me a lot of freedom", and "(2) I could give my creativity free rein while designing the product".
  • To determine enjoyment, the experts had to rate: "The configuration was (1) fun, (2) delight, (3) pleasure, (4) entertaining and (5) interesting".
  • To assess uniqueness following statements had to be evaluated: "My created product (1) is unique, (2) is different, (3) helps me to differentiate; and (4) no one else has such a product."

In addition, we had multiple other scales for performance like the satisfaction with the final product, the willingness to purchase, the likelihood to recommend the vendor to a friend, etc. 

All 500 companies that are included in the Customization500 are presented with a profile picture like the following Figure 4.

Example company profile 2
 Figure 4: Sample profile picture (purchase the full report for all 500 evaluations)


Configuration process experience is driving overall customer satisfaction


Our analysis showed that on the one hand side, “preference fit” and the meeting of a customer’s “need for uniqueness” are strong drivers of satisfaction with a particular mass customization offering.  

However, process satisfaction, resulting from the enjoyment and creative involvement during a user-friendly configuration process, has an even higher impact in many cases, according to our data.

This confirms the early findings of researchers like Nikolaus Franke or Martin Schreier who have stated that in B2C mass customization about 50 percent of the additional willingness to pay can be explained by the process experience and a feeling of achievement and co-design success – and not by the higher functionality of fit of a custom product.

Our study clearly supports this claim. We urge managers to look beyond the sheer technology and back office integration of configuration toolkits and also focus on delivering a great configuration experience.


Meaningful visualization


Academic research often has stressed the importance of realistic visualization as a core element of a good toolkit. But many companies in practice still have very simple visualization features, and sometimes no illustration of the outcome at all.  But there also can be too much of a good thing:

Evaluators often highlighted not those sites with the most advanced 3D visualization as best in class, But those with visualization features that matter and come to the point.

For many products, a realistic, fast, plug-in free and well-described visual of an individual configuration is better than a complicated 3D model wearing, for example, my custom T-shirt – that takes many seconds to load and almost crushed my computer when playing with it. Sounds obvious? Well, it is not. We still see many sites where technology is used as a point of differentiation – but not as a source of customer value!


Providing help and process navigation


When looking at the data which features of a configurator drive most the perceived usability and use experience, we found that navigation- and orientation-help features, such as a progress bar or an activity list, play a key role. Co-design toolkits with a higher level of company- and/or customer-help features, such as design inspirations, deeper product information or recommendations by other consumers, in general performed better in terms of satisfaction.

However, about 50% of the toolkits in the "Customization 500" do not offer any or only a low level of these features. Here, we find many untapped opportunities for practice to enhance the gross utility of customers.

At the other side, we’ve found quite a few offerings without or with only a low level of these features which were performing excellently nonetheless. In some cases, the simple product design (solution space) did not require special help features. In other cases, customer satisfaction with the offerings was excessively influenced by the particular value provided by the customizable product itself.

There is not one best way. Companies should “customize their mass customization strategy” based on the requirements of their customer stock. But having an understanding of the perception of customers or a firm's toolkit is crucial to make such a decision.


Parameter versus need based configurations


The largest gap between practice and recommendations of academic research can be found in the area of parameter- versus need-based toolkits.  We found that in today's mass customization reality, basic parameter (option) based toolkits still rule. Customers have to make their own decisions from a list of predefined options. This often demands a large number of decisions and also knowledge of the user about the product. While this may be perfect in the business-to-business context, it is not always the best option in consumer markets.

Here, need-based configuration has been shown to provide better results. In such a need-based system, users share something about their preferences, requirements, or expected outcomes. This input then is transferred by an algorithm into a product configuration. A need-based configurator hence mimics the behavior of a good sales person who also may recommend you exactly the right product (configuration) after asking just a few but insightful questions. In our study of the best 500 toolkits, less than 3% of companies had such a need-based configurator in place. While we acknowledge that it is more costly to develop a good need-based configurator, these systems seem to offer a great opportunity for differentiation and larger customer satisfaction.




MC 500 signConcluding, we can state that mass customization still is an area in the making. While there has been much progress, and there are some really great toolkits in the market, the majority of systems still are in an early stage. But as our data shows, from the customer perspective it often is just a small step between a good to a great toolkit.

All companies that have been included in the Customization500 received this vignette to illustrate that they are part of the leading companies in the field of mass customization and personalization. So when search for customization on the web the next time, watch out for this sign.

But we expect that the Customization500 is a very dynamic field. Even during the time of our research we found many developments, improvements, and failures. This is why studying the field of mass customization remains a continuous endeavor … but a fun one, too!


Context information


Part 1: of this series:  Data on the MC industry structure

MC 500 cover finalwww.mc-500.com: More information on the Customization500 study and a list of the 500 companies included in the evaluation.


Mcpc2011_proceeding_long_coverhttp://bit.ly/mcpc-proceedingsThe Proceedings of the last MCPC conference cover many dozens of case studies, latest research, 2500+ slides, and 15+ hours of video of the plenary presentations. As part of the proceedings, you also find three detailed PPT presentations using the Customization500 data in larger detail.

MC 2012 banner blockwww.mc2012.org: Speaking German? Then participate at the next meeting of the German-speaking mass customization community (Salzburg, 29 June 2012) – and learn from some of the German champions of the Customization500.


6 03, 2012

The Market for Mass Customization Today: Results from the Customization500. Part I: Company & Industry Structure

By | 2018-06-14T07:13:47+00:00 März 6th, 2012|Cases-Consumer, Co-Design Process, Customization Trends, General, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

MC 500 cover finalIn his recent report about mass customization, Forrester's J.P. Gownder concluded that "mass customization is finally the future of products".  But how does the future of products look today?

In a joint project, Dominik Walcher and I looked together with our colleagues Thorsten Harzer, Christoph Ihl and Fabrizio Salvador into the practice of mass customization. Our multi-stage study, "The Customization 500", is the first global benchmarking study on mass customization and personalization in consumer e-commerce.

In a series of postings, I want to introduce some of the results from this research. You find all about the Customization 500 (short: MC500) study in a special section in my blog, www.mc-500.com

Sample construction for the Customization500 benchmark study


Given the scope of the mass customization market, we focused our analysis in the Customization500 on companies that sell directly to end consumers (B2C), using an online toolkit for user co-design that is applied to change the physical characteristics of the product in a dedicated manufacturing step (hence excluding products where customization is embedded in the product like a smartphone). In addition, we pragmatically focused on companies which we were able to analyze as they had a website in either English or German language.

In total, we found almost 1000 firms meeting these criteria (refer to www.configurator-database.com, a continuously updated list of mass customization companies). Following an extensive evaluation activity, we identified 500 companies that lead this field from a customer perspective (see here the full list). For each company, we gathered more than 100 data points. Data was collected by a group of trained expert evaluators who spent hours on each website.

  MC 500 Sample construction

 Figure 1: Selecting the data for the Customization 500

Also, each website was at least evaluated independently by three evaluators, and we took care to investigate all cases where the inter-rater reliability was not sufficient. The result of this exercise was a ranking of all companies, and allowed us to identify some of the leading offerings in the field. Figure 2 shows a summary picture of one of the companies included in the study.


Figure 2: A typical illustration of the overall score sheet of a company included in the Customization 500 (to get access to  all 500 profiles included in the Customization500, you have to purchase the full market study).


Which are the dominating industries with mass customization offerings


Table 1 provides an overview of the categories where mass customization in BtoC online today is employed. We find some very crowded categories that dominate the market. As expected, the option to personalize items by applying a user design on a basic product by different forms of digital printing is leading the field (categories 1, 2 and 4). There also always seems to be room for another custom shirt business or personalized sticker / foil to decorate your smart phone. Interestingly, however, there also is a very large (and still growing) field of applications in the food and nutrition industry where mass customization is applied to customize taste and nutrition of food.

  MC 500 Categories Table 1

Table 1: Categories of mass customization application in the Customization500

Using customized products for the gift market is a growing, but still not over-crowded opportunity. Most vendors still see mass customization as a one-to-one business, providing a custom product for the buyer (hence, also the dominance of me, my, mein etc. brand names).

However, some of the most successful mass customizers have realized that mass customization offers a perfect cure of a common problem: „Oh my good,

[Name here]‘s birthday is coming up in a few days — I need to rush to get an „original“ present now – but what?“ Take customized chocolate. Chocri and MyM&Ms, for example, are competing with gift cards and gift books, not with other candy items. They are not to be eaten – even if they taste very good – but to express that I have thought of you and really have spent some effort in getting this present done. For this, I am willing to pay a premium of 1,000 percent or more. As a provider, however, this means that a delivery time of 24 hours is a must, plus advice for easy gifting, wrapping, additional greeting cards etc. Here, we still see many untapped opportunities.

When looking further in the domains of mass customization application, we interestingly only found very few good configuration toolkits (for functional customization) in the field of consumer electronics and computers. Here, apparently the improvements of hardware apparently make it less useful to customize a product via toolkits before purchase, but allow users to customize the product during the usage stage with an embedded toolkit. It may be a sign of the shift in mass customization that the early pioneer, Dell, today almost offers no customization at all at its website. Well, there still is a configurator, but the choice options are very limited.


A closer look into company structures


For 120 of the 500 companies, we also could obtain extensive data by means of a company survey. Figure 3 shows our two-step data gathering approach.

MC 500 Expert and company survey

Figure 3: The expert evaluation of the Customization 500 was followed by an extensive company survey of 120 companies

Descriptive statistics for the responding firms are given in Table 2, providing an enhanced insight into the company structures of the players in the mass customization market today.

  • About 83% of the firms were founded exclusively with the purpose of mass customization, while 17% run their mass customization business in addition to their standard business. In general, most firms are rather young.
  • Only 16% of the mass customization offerings are older than five years, indicating the long time lag from the description of the idea to the broader application of toolkits for co-design.
  • 54% of the firms have less than five employees.
  • Annual sales of the responding firms range from less than $100,000 to over $5 million in the last fiscal year, with the majority having sales of less than $1 million (83.5%).

These observations are consistent with our observation that the current dynamism in mass customization is driven primarily by innovative startups that have built their business models from the ground up and focus entirely on the promises of mass customization.

Table 2 Descriptive Data of Company Survey

Table 2: Descriptive data from the company survey of responding firms

Clones dominate mass customization entrepreneurship

If you have a good idea for a custom product, it will be copied fast. This is one of the major conclusions we can draw from our observations of the market. The barrier to entry for many products is rather low, and once an interesting idea comes on the market, copycats follow quickly. This in general has not to be a bad thing, as also clones help to build the market, generate attention, and signal to press that this is a new category.

However, for the pioneers this means that they have to focus as much attention on branding and differentiating their business as upon building the processes and systems. Patents or other forms of IP do not provide much help here, thus, we conclude: As a pioneer, be fast, smart, and differentiate your business beyond the brand name and your core products.

Despite the many "me-too" offerings, surprisingly often the late followers are doing very well in their segments. We see three reasons here:

(1) Strong growth opportunities in every market: The late comers even in the most crowded categories (like custom men's shirts) enter into a market that still is not matured at all. Overall, there is not one category in consumer B2C where custom products have more than a few percent of the overall category (in most cases, they have a few tenth of a percent!). So there is still enough space for everyone.

(2) Market education: Pioneers in a category often have to spend a lot of attention to educate the market and just let consumers (and journalists) know that this kind of custom product is available. Latecomers can build on this generated market education.

(3) "Best of Breed" solutions: Latecomers often perform as best of class of established players, combining the design elements of pioneers, but also of mass customization sites in other categories.  A recent good example if getwear.com, which came late with another custom jeans offering, but has the best online configurator in its industry.

Mass customization platforms make the third wave of mass customization

But despite many clones, we also found a lot of innovative business models. Some of the best performing companies in the Customization500 are not stand-alone businesses that deal directly with consumers, but are mass customization platforms. These platforms can be regarded as the third stage of mass customization development.

The first wave of mass customization was driven by the early pioneers in the field in the early 1990s, motivated by the opportunities of new flexible manufacturing technology. Levi Strauss is a typical example from this time. Most of these offerings worked offline in a traditional retail environment. Also, first internet offerings coming of in 1995 and 1996, like CyberChocy or Creo Interactive, came up at this time. But in most markets, consumers were not ready yet.

The second wave came with the internet economy, around 1998-2002. Often, startups at that time just opened, as everybody could do it, not as customers needed it. But some great examples of mass customization survived, like NikeID (opening only because former Nike CEO Phil Knight wanted to have „something in the internet“, and so they selected mass customization as this promised to cause little channel conflicts with established retailers). In the following years, the internet-based mass customization offerings matured, and many more followed. It was the broader development of online configurators that made mass customization happening in a larger scale.

But a third wave of mass customization is happening now: It is driven by companies like Ponoko, Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Cafepress, Lulu, Gemvara, and many others, which offer design, manufacturing, and retail capacity to everyone. These platforms allow entrepreneurs to open a dedicated mass customization business at very low investment cost. On these platforms, people are not just customizing to fulfill their own needs, but to create (micro) niche markets for their peers. The platform providers have successfully combined the eBay idea of very easily selling things over the internet with the customization model of robust fulfillment processes. Here, we are just at the beginning and will see many more applications soon.

In an upcoming posting, we look more closer into the state of the practice of choice navigation (configuration) toolkits.

Context information


MC 500 cover finalwww.mc-500.com: More information on the Customization500 study and a list of the 500 companies included in the evaluation. 


Mcpc2011_proceeding_long_coverhttp://bit.ly/mcpc-proceedingsThe Proceedings of the last MCPC conference cover many dozens of case studies, latest research, 2500+ slides, and 15+ hours of video of the plenary presentations. As part of the proceedings, you also find three detailed PPT presentations using the Customization500 data in larger detail.

MC 2012 banner blockwww.mc2012.org: Speaking German? Then participate at the next meeting of the German-speaking mass customization community (Salzburg, 29 June 2012) – and learn from some of the German champions of the Customization500 

13 02, 2012

Public Proceedings of the last MCPC Conference Published — Access all Conference Presentations, Papers, Videos

By | 2018-06-14T07:14:06+00:00 Februar 13th, 2012|Crowdsourcing, Customization Trends, Events, General, MC/OI on the Web, MCPC2011, Open/User Innovation, Personalization, Research Studies, Service Customization, Technologies & Enablers|

Mcpc2011_proceeding_ISBN_coverDid you miss the MCPC 2011 conference? It was a terrific event, and we really got great feedback and comments on the conference.  Check here for some conference pictures!

Richard Henderson at UC Berkeley has been very helpful in creating the best conference documentation we ever had! On a special conference website, the full conference program  is  now available with links to the slides of the presentations, full papers (when available), and many full videos of the plenary and keynote presentations (for Day 1 and 2).

To access this rich source of information (I estimate that this are 2500+ slides, 1000+ pages of papers, and 15+ hours of video), either use the access code you got as a conference participant, or purchase* the full text proceedings:

Bridging Mass Customization & Open Innovation. Proceedings of the MCPC 2011 Conference — including an access code to all presentations, papers, and videos. Edited by Henry Chesbrough and Frank Piller. Published by Lulu, Inc. (Raleigh, NC), 2012.

=>  Paperback version: ISBN: 978-1-4716-3023-1 (ca. 5 day delivery time)

=>  eBook version: ISBN: 978-1-4716-3086-6 (instant download)

For detailed information about presentations and speakers please also refer to the conference proceedings flyer!

*Note: Why do we sell these proceedings and do not provide open access? First, this would have been unfair to all people participating at the conference and paying the full fee there. Second, organizing such a conference is a big effort and investment, and we still need the proceeds from this publication to cover our cost. Third, many authors and presenters do not want to have their papers and presentations openly on the web, but agreed to a controlled publication only.

4 02, 2012

New Book: Customer-Driven Supply Chains: From Glass Pipelines to Open Innovation Networks

By | 2018-06-14T07:14:16+00:00 Februar 4th, 2012|Books, Cases-Industrial, Customization Trends, General, Open/User Innovation, Research Studies, Technologies & Enablers|

As a result of our EU-funded research project REMPLANT, we are proud to announce a new book that Prof. Frank Piller partly co-authored:

Book cover springerCustomer-Driven Supply Chains From Glass Pipelines to Open Innovation

by Lyons, A.C., Coronado Mondragon, A. E., Piller, F. and Poler, R

Find Customer-Driven Supply Chains at Amazon.com

More book info and download of individual chapters at Springer.com

The Book reviews the concept of lean thinking and its relationship to other key initiatives associated with supply chain management. Detailed industrial case studies based on the authors’ experience illustrate the principles behind lean supply chains. Moreover, a series of diagrams are used to illustrate critical concepts and supply chain architectures. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of transferring lean principles from the organisational level to the supply chain level. The theory and principles behind lean supply chains are reviewed. Other concepts related to lean supply chains discussed in the book include: mass customisation, agility, information sharing and the bullwhip effect. A methodology used to measure the performance of supply chains is introduced; this methodology comprises the tools of decision timeline, data-flow diagramming, supply chain value stream mapping and a performance measurement scorecard.

Readers will gain a clear picture of the competitive implications of lean supply chains. Customer-Driven Supply Chains: From Glass Pipelines to Open Innovation Networks will be a valuable resource of material to students studying supply chain/operations management as well as researchers in this field. Industry practitioners will learn how to develop sound supply chain strategies that can have a positive impact in their organisation.

Lead author and driver behind the book has been Andrew Lyons from the University of Liverpool, a great research partner in the REMPLANET project. He has been a Lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Liverpool Management School since 2002. His research interests include: operations strategy, supply chain design and performance measurement, supply chain information structures, mass customisation and build-to-order strategies.