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To Order, A la carte customer

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25.Sep, 2016 0

Anticipating Customer Demand For Configured Products

Mass production is predicated on building to a forecast and selling through a retail channel. Autos go to auto dealers who then sell to customers Big box stores sell mass-produced goods to retail customers etc. Under mass production, when things don’t sell, they are offered at a steep discount by the retailer or scrapped. A build-to-forecast/assemble-to-order manufacturer of disk storage systems announced a disk drive that was 300% larger than any disk drive ever offered in the marketplace. Knowing it was contrary to our process and practices, the VP of Operations begged me to give him a single part number…

18.Jun, 2016 0

Product Customization And Personalization

Customization and personalization are drivers of growth for brands. As brands seek to connect with their retailers and their retailers’ customers (what I refer to as B2B2C), brands are going to want more and more customization and personalization and it will be driven by a elements outside the brand. How can a brand most powerfully connect with consumers this week, this month in specific stores? I think of this as a “Country, State/Province, City, Neighborhood” strategy. For example, this past Memorial Day Weekend, I was given a bottle of Deja Blue Purified Drinking Water at a retailer where I was…

9.May, 2016 2

Trend To Customization–Are You Ready For What’s Coming?

Henry Ford said back in 1909, “You can have it in any color as long as it’s black.” What was the driving force behind this remark for the Model T automobile? He wanted to mass produce a car for as many Americans as he could at a very affordable price. He knew that variety such as color variations would drive higher costs and undermine his desire to serve the broadest markets. If he could make everything the same, his cost and therefore his price, could be as low as possible. Ford’s rubric created a tension in the marketplace that follows…

10.Apr, 2016 0

Ineffective Systems and Processes

What happens in companies with configurable products and services that suffer with ineffective systems and processes? Profit margins are very low as the cost of enabling “yes” is significant Inefficiencies mount as complexity and variety increases There is no flow–everything feels like start/stop/start/stop Things that should be easy are hard; things that are hard should be easy Everything is a “special” Is this sustainable? No. It’s time for reinvention. Call me! Thought for the week: “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett __ What do you think?…

7.Mar, 2016 0

Move Away From “Mass Customization”

What’s in a concept? Everything. I recommend you move away from the concept “mass customization?” “Mass customization” is: Not getting traction in board rooms Seldom mentioned in the Wall Street Journal An oxymoronic, confusing concept I favor different language for the expression “mass customization:” To order Configure-price-quote Configure-to-order Engineer-to-order Build-to-order Make-to-order Assemble-to-order Customer-driven Personalized products and services These expressions mean something that “mass customization” can’t. Once the language is out of the way, you can shift your attention to solving the business challenges I discuss in my book: Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy. Thought for the week: El Niño’s…

25.Jan, 2016 0

Enabling Yes Part 2

I was very impressed with a firm I met with in Montreal this past week: They are seen as a partner with their customers, not merely a vendor They see pressures to drive down their costs as an opportunity to innovate and increase their ability to compete The owners are fully-engaged and passionate about their business They are flexible and agile in overcoming supply chain problems for their customers going the extra mile as they pick up the slack at the end of the process They have a great in-house I.T. function that is pragmatic and helpful in meeting business…

27.Sep, 2015 0

Requirements Analysis to Correct Operational Problems with Configurable Products

Industry: Semiconductor Capital Equipment Role: Project Manager Number of people working on Assignment: 20 people in Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Order Services, Production Control and Finance Duration of Engagement: 2 months Problem Presented: Our firm was referred to client as being an “expert” who could help them implement a configurator application—a tool to select features and options associated with a broad and diverse set of product lines for a semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer. Assessment and Steps: Prospective client asked our firm principal to assess an “off-the-shelf” configurator application that the company had purchased, by attending a 2-day seminar on this product….

27.Sep, 2015 0

Reduce Time Required To Validate A Customer’s Order Requirements by 80%

Industry: Semiconductor Role: Project Manager Number of people working on the assignment: 3 Duration of the engagement: 5 months Problems Presented: Client requested that we investigate the use of imaging technology to help him reduce his order acceptance cycle time from 5 days to 1. Upon meeting with his department manager, it became apparent that imaging technology would not help him resolve the cycle time issue. Assessment and Steps: Conducted a Needs Assessment to understand what areas were adversely impacting the client’s cycle time. We learned that expert knowledge needed to validate a customer’s order requirements was dispersed throughout this…

27.Sep, 2015 0

Define the User Interface for a Rule-Based Software Application to Properly Configure and Validate a Customer’s Orders

Industry: Semiconductor Role: Business and Technical Expert Assigned to End-User Number of people working on Assignment: 2 – client staff; 3 IT staff; 7 Accenture consulting personnel (project managers and programmers) Duration of the engagement: 7 months Problem Presented: Information Technology and outsource I.T. consulting staff were not appropriately identifying and addressing the end-users’ business and technical requirements for a new “Configurator” application. Our client needed help in defining the business and technical requirements for a sophisticated “configurator” application used to define a customer’s requirements for custom semiconductors as well as assistance dealing with programming personnel. Assessment and Steps: Helped…

11.Sep, 2015 0

We offer it, you buy it; take it or leave it

[Note: This originally appeared on Dave Gardner’s Fast Company Expert Blog] Does the headline of this article represent an attitude that customers are drawn to? It sounds like a customer strategy taken right from the Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” playbook! Do customers prefer choice and the ability to influence every last detail in their decisions about certain products and services? I say “yes”—they prefer choice. Unilateralism on the part of product and server providers is not the pathway to marketplace success; it creates undesirable friction in the relationship. The more sophisticated the buyer and the more configurable the product or service,…