Mass Customization: The key to customer value?

Brian Squire, Jeffrey Readman, Steve Brown, John Bessant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to ask the question - does mass customization really hold the key to customer value? It is argued that while mass customization can, and often does, increase the value of an offering, it is not always the case. In other words, mass customization does not represent the best strategy for all firms in all cases. It is critical that manufacturing firms understand whether their customers (existing and potential) really do value customization. The paper introduces the responsive agility tool that may provide the basis for an informed decision. The tool differentiates a number of value criteria and a method of selecting between them. Further, the tool identifies four levels of customization distinguished by secondary value criteria. We provide a case study demonstrating how the tool may operate in practice. The case study suggests that the tool may effectively differentiate customer types according to their value criteria. Finally the paper proposes that a value judgement is dependent on the negotiated process between a manufacturer and customer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-471
Number of pages13
JournalProduction Planning & Control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Mass customization
  • Value criteria
  • Customer focus tool


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