Mass Customization Expert and Consultant

Dave Gardner has been helping manufacturers implement mass customization since the early 1980s—before the expression “mass customization” was coined by Stan Davis in his best-selling book Future Perfect back in 1987. 

There has been much written about mass customization as a high-level business strategy but far less written about actually implementing mass customization within a manufacturing company. 

Some would suggest that you merely need to purchase product configurator software and, voilà, you’re in the mass customization business. Hogwash! 

This would be tantamount to suggesting one can write a great sales letter merely because you have Microsoft Word. 

Mass customization is not a departmental challenge nor is it an IT challenge. Mass customization must be approached holistically across the enterprise and even out to the extended enterprise to your dealers and customers.

Manufacturers that thrive and prosper in the twenty-first century must treat customers as “insiders.” 

Under mass customization, the customer is an “insider.” The customer can purchase products that match their needs. The customer can select from an array of choices. 

Conversely, under mass production, the customer is an “outsider.” The customer is limited to getting products the manufacturer produces and offers through its distribution channel. 

While mass-produced products can be instantly available (if they are in stock), they often fall short of the customer’s needs. The connection between customer and manufacturer must be seamless. Customers won’t have the manufacturer’s salespeople acting as an ombudsman on their behalf to get their quotes or orders processed. 

Customers need to be able to determine what configurations are available, what price they will pay, and when they can expect delivery. Manufacturers must adopt mass customization as an enterprise-wide business strategy to:

• Link customers and configuration capability directly to the enterprise via the Internet 

• Set expectations about what configurations can be produced 

• Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty 

• Reduce time-to-market 

• Reduce internal costs to support evolving product offerings 

• Decrease order cycle time 

• Reduce the cost of documenting products 

• Eliminate artificial product constraints due to effort/complexity to mod-ify or enhance a product line 

• Eliminate cost of configuration errors 

• Increase flexibility and responsiveness to “give customers what they want”

• Reduce overhead

• Eliminate the costs associated with “specials”


Transitioning to Mass Customization

Adopting mass customization as a business strategy will have a profound and positive effect on an enterprise. Mass customization is not a depart-mental problem; it must be approached on an enterprise-wide basis.

It affects sales, marketing, order administration, engineering, manufac-turing, service, and, most importantly, your customers.

Twenty-first century customers will not “settle” for what a manufacturer produces. Mass customization ensures that customers won’t be forced to “settle.” It also ensures that the challenge of “giving customers what they want” can be met efficiently and cost-effectively.

Dave is available for consulting, speaking, and training on Mass Customization. 

Get Dave’s book “Mass Customization: An Enterprise Wide Business Strategy”

How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers

Play Video

Dave Gardner (formerly Gardner and Associates) Consulting on Thought Leader Life 011

In this episode, guest thought leader Dave Gardner shares his insights on why thought leadership is a ‘journey’ rather than a ‘destination’.

As a mass customization expert with 22 years of consulting experience, Dave is recognized for his ability to accelerate business growth of companies through enterprise-wide change initiatives. Mitchell (who is taking on this episode without Michael who is on vacation) and Dave exchange some interesting thoughts on how someone can be a thought leader by establishing himself or herself as a ‘go-to’ person in a specific field or area of expertise.

Towards the end of the show, Dave gives a preview of his meeting with the Dalai Lama at his Alma Mater, Stanta Clara University and shares the reason why this meeting is a fulfillment of his bucket list.

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