#MCPC2011 Business Seminar: Building & Growing a Mass Customization Business at #Rickshaw Bagworks and #You Bar

MCPC 2011 On November 16th, the MCPC 2011 conference kicks off at the Marriot SFO Airport, San Francisco. In this series of postings, we introduce our speakers at the business seminars of the conference.

In this panel, three experienced entrepreneurs in mass customization will share their best practices on what did work and what not.

Mark Dwight, Founder & CEO, Rickshaw Bagworks
Design for Mass Customization: Real World Approaches for Design and Manufacturing

DwightMass customization comes in many shapes and sizes. Mark Dwight employs mass customization techniques in his small messenger bag manufacturing company, Rickshaw Bagworks, based in San Francisco. Dwight founded Rickshaw specifically to pursue a strict build-to-order operational model, as opposed to the traditional build-to-stock practice common in the fashion industry. At Rickshaw, mass customization is the foundation of the product design and development process. All product platforms are based upon four key design principles: (1) Decouple function and fashion; (2) Isolate complex core functional elements in a common, mass-producible "chassis"; (3) Save product "personality" for the final assembly step; (4) Add optional functional upgrades and fashion elements from a collection of "bolt-on" accessories. Based upon this design methodology, Rickshaw produces a family of full-featured, customizable computer carrying briefcases and backpacks at very competitive prices in its San Francisco headquarters. The benefits of this strategy include: zero finished goods inventory, zero inventory risk, minimum SKU count, vastly reduced forecasting complexity, ability to outsource most of the labor intensive work while insourcing all of the customization, price/performance flexibility, and fast turnaround of highly custom orders.

Anthony Flynn, Founder & CEO, You Bar
You Bars: Profiting from the Mega-Trend of Food Customization

FlynnDetailing You Bar's journey from my mother's kitchen to an 8,200 square foot commercial warehouse, this presentation focuses on how the customer and company have become less polarized. Customization obliges the customer to become co-creator and innovator, necessitating a dialogue between customer and company which allows each to better satisfy the evolving needs of the other.

Speaker T.B.A., Please Check Conference Website for Details

Investing in the Customization Trend

Mass customization start-ups have become subject to some major interest of Venture Capital firms. In this presentation, a member of the VC communities share some insights on the market for mass customization from this perspective and why mass customization and co-creation are important drivers of successful future business models.

Please find the complete program at the official MCPC 2011 website.

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.