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A Framework for Understanding the Interdependencies between Mass Customization and Complexity

Blecker, Thorsten and Abdelkafi, Nizar and Kaluza, Bernd and Kreutler, Gerold (2004): A Framework for Understanding the Interdependencies between Mass Customization and Complexity. Published in: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Business Economics, Management and Marketing, Athens Institute for Education and Research (ATINER) (2004): pp. 291-306.

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Mass customization is a business strategy that aims at satisfying individual customer needs, nearly with mass production efficiency. It induces a high complexity level because of various customer requirements and a steadily changing environment. However, mass customization has some potential to reduce complexity. The interdependencies between mass customization and complexity are discussed in order to demonstrate that mass customization is not just an oxymoron linking two opposite production concepts, but a business strategy that contributes towards reaching a competitive advantage. On the one hand, mass customization increases the production program, manufacturing and configuration complexities. On the other hand, it contributes to reduce complexity at the levels of order taking process, product and inventories. The main results attained through the analysis are integrated in a comprehensive framework that shows the complexity increasing and complexity decreasing aspects due to mass customization.

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