Mass Customization in Apparel Industry

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Mass Customization in Apparel & Footwear Industry– Today’s Strategy, Future’s Necessity

Mass Customization has gained momentum over Mass Production in the apparel & footwear industry. This paper talks about why we should look at this business strategy and how this concept has evolved over a period of time. There are many apparel & footwear players adopting this concept but at intermittent stages. The prime drivers of mass customization are technology, supply chain transformation and organizational restructuring. There has been major advancement on technological front starting from taking customer’s measurement through body scanning, to product development and finally to deliver the right kind of customized product to customer. There are plenty of supply chain changes happening at different level to customize the product and many small and large players are already there into this space. The research has also tried to explore various apparel & footwear industry players’ movement towards mass customization and cost drivers and cost saver associated with this concept. Like any other technology or business strategy, Mass Customization has also brought many challenges along with it, which can be grouped into direct and in-direct challenges.

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Amit Bhatia Rahul G Asai

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Table of Contents

Introduction................................................................................................. 3 Who should do mass customization?............................................................ 4 Feasibility of Mass Customization................................................................. 6 Supply Chain Restructuring.......................................................................... 8 Cost Drivers & Cost Savers in Mass Customization:.................................... 11 Challenges to Mass Customization ............................................................. 13 Conclusion.................................................................................................. 15 References ................................................................................................. 15 About the Authors ...................................................................................... 16 About Wipro Technologies.......................................................................... 16 Wipro in Apparel and Footwear Domain ..................................................... 16

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Introduction
Mass customization is a broad term encompassing vast changes in manufacturing, distribution and delivery of products. Given the changing characteristics of today’s consumer interests and industrial competition, mass production systems cannot satisfy both manufacturers and consumers; however, a mass customization system may achieve both manufacturer and consumer satisfaction, providing a customized product. It is imperative that to adopt mass customization, an organization has to bring many changes across the functions. Broadly we can classify these changes into three categories. First, Technological advancement such as computer-aided design, body scanning, digital printing etc., Second in terms of adopting flexible manufacturing systems, computer integrated manufacturing tools and techniques and third, organizational changes in terms of flexible culture and empowering employees by assigning more responsibilities. By adopting these kinds of business strategies under mass customization umbrella concept, it will shorten product-life and development cycles as well as allowing manufacturers to respond more quickly and flexibly to changing consumers’ drives. Finally, consumers will have access to a variety of highquality, customized products while manufacturers can reduce excess inventory and markdowns. Mass customization is a paradigm shift from Product Centric approach (made-to-stock) to Customer Centric Approach (which falls under made-to-order), where customers involvement also shift from...
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