With every individual looking for a custom product designed especially for him/her, more and more companies are now offering Mass Customization to satisfy the needs of their customers.
At a high level Mass Customization can be categorized into two broad areas,
B2B Mass Customization
B2C Mass Customization
Mass Customization essentially means offering customers what they want, rather than what the organization has to offer them. It creates a huge differentiator in the minds of customers, both B2B and B2C.
Mass Customization is achieved by using web based tools like Product Configurators which achieves Customization yet resulting in savings in cost.
This is how it works.
Configure: The Product Configurators present a simple user interface to the customers to try out various options by changing parameters and selecting different options, to suit their specific requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can often preview their selections in the form of a 3D model.
Instant Quote: The quote generation system is linked to the Product Configurator helping customers with instant quotes for the selections that they make.
Ready to Manufacture: The Product Configurator can generate all the details like manufacturing drawings required by the manufacturing/assembly team without manual intervention
Level of automation at each step depends on the complexity of the product and the nature of the sales cycle. For simple products (typically B2C) it can be completely automatic and for complex products (typically B2B) it can be semi-automatic. Even for B2B products, the semi-automatic process greatly improves the productivity of the sales team and the design team.
At a B2B level Product Configurator are seen in many diverse industries ranging from Cranes & Hoists, Material Handling and Storage, Pumps, Valves, Bearings, etc. The benefits it offers are,
- Shorter Sales Cycle because of quicker and accurate quotes to prospects
- Shorter Delivery Cycle because of quicker and accurate data to manufacturing team
- Convert more prospects into customers, with quicker response and sharing relevant CAD data
- Improve the efficiency of Sales and Design team
- Better understanding of customer’s needs
At a B2C level use of Product Configurator is seen in variety of sectors like laptops, apparels, shoes, jewellery, houses, furniture etc. The advantages for a B2C model are,
- Differentiation through personalization
- Satisfying the needs of the customers by delivering what they want
- Reduced capital because of reduced inventory
- Customer loyalty