Today’s consumers want convenience, flexibility, and personalization. They also want made-to-order goods—whether it’s cars, computers, or shoes. Providing what today’s consumers want can set your company apart and enhance customer service. One strategy to address these demands is mass customization.
Mini Cooper customers, for example, can design the roofs of their new cars with help from an online tool kit. Mass customization works well for BMW. It helps the company tap the after-sales market for its products and services and boosts its profitability. Plus, it helps BMW create a decisive advantage, increasing the company’s competitiveness.
Mass customization isn’t a panacea, however. It can’t fix all of a company’s problems. But it can help you meet the increasing demand for made-to-order goods today’s consumers want. Mass customization, in fact, makes sense for many manufacturers. Yet, few benefit from it as many think it’s too impractical and costly to implement.
Unfortunately, these companies are missing a golden opportunity to not only increase competitiveness but also boost profitability. When combined with the right software, mass customization is a powerful strategic mechanism that can help transform a company into a market leader in its industry.
Injecting Personalization with Mass Customization
What makes mass customization so powerful? It injects personalization into made-to-order goods. That creates a product that sits somewhere between a fully personalized item and a mass-produced one. Customers don’t get completely original products with mass customization, nor do they get fully mass-produced ones either.
Instead, they receive goods somewhere in between, depending on what the manufacturer can produce and what the customer wants. Put simply, mass customization utilizes the benefits of flexibility, integration, and personalization to produce customized products with low unit costs at near mass production efficiencies.
Mass customization is a viable manufacturing approach when looked at from a production standpoint. This manufacturing method:
- Increases customer retention
- Reduces inventory to store
- Lowers operations costs
- Quickens production processes
- Increases price points for goods
- Enhances company profitability
Mass customization, however, has gotten a bad rap—the result of several high-profile misfires that have made the news. Levi Strauss & Co’s first attempt at mass customization in the 1990s, for example, failed, and in 2004, the company shut this effort down. High-profile failures like this have made manufacturers wary of employing mass customization.
Research indicates, however, that mass customization is practical and cost-effective. One study conducted over a decade, which includes a survey of over 200 manufacturers in eight countries, shows numerous companies with mass customization efforts and who are reaping the benefits it provides.
Implementing Mass Customization is a Challenge
Implementing mass customization is a challenge that can be beaten. A critical hurdle manufacturers face, for instance, is “combinatorial explosion,” which is a negative byproduct of highly configurable goods. Combinatorial explosion occurs when buyers have numerous options to add to different product versions. That increases the complexity of customization, including sales and the quotation processes.
Configure, price quote (CPQ) software, can help manufacturers beat this challenge. CPQ software isn’t new. It’s been around in the B2B market space for a while. But advances in technology have boosted its ability to help manufacturers overcome tough production challenges, making it more attractive to companies.
This software provides numerous benefits. Its usage, in fact, is growing dramatically. Gartner, the IT research and advisory firm, estimates CPQ revenues in 2018 at $1.2 billion (USD), with almost all the growth related to cloud-based offerings. Garner projects the CPQ market to increase by 15% annually through 2020.
Enjoying the Benefits of CPQ Software
What does this software do? CPQ software eases the burden of working out a price point for made-to-order goods. The software:
- Generates accurate pricing
- Accelerates product quoting
- Automates the configuration process
- Helps focus sales on selling
- Boosts sales forecasting accuracy
- Increases production efficiency
- Shortens sales cycle
CPQ software leverages technology and automation to produce timely and highly specialized quotes when companies need them. Among other things, it takes the legwork and guesswork of quote development out of the process. Plus, it lets you tailor quotes to a buyer’s needs.
As a result, sales teams sell faster and more effectively and at a greater capacity. Production teams respond quicker and more cost-effectively with made-to-order goods consumers crave. CPQ software is ideal for B2B companies that want to take advantage of mass customization.
CPQ Software is Transformational
CPQ software can help transform companies. It did for GTT Wireless, which provide carrier-grade antennas and enclosure protection solutions for electronics. Supporting 24×7 operation,
the company works with the most prominent players in the global IoT and M2M industries.
It tapped Acceleanation initially to help modernize the company’s IT and ERP systems.
While working on this project, Acceleanation uncovered an opportunity to upgrade GTT’s sales process by reworking the front end of the company’s website. Acceleanation added a self-serve CPQ platform to support GTT’s mass customization capabilities. This combination enabled clients to build their own made-to-order enclosures and requests for quotations in one place.
This change helped increase GTT’s inquiries by an eye-popping 100x in less than a year—without overloading operations. It also helped GTT maintain lean performance, enhance competitiveness, and increase sales scaling capabilities. When all was said and done, Acceleanation helped GTT take its business to the next level.
Mass customization isn’t new. It won’t solve all your business problems even when teamed with CPQ software. But the combination of these two tools can help turn a company into a market leader in its industry. That can only happen, however, when you implement these tools correctly. Acceleanation can help you do that quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.