Scholarly article on topic 'Evolving Paradigms of Manufacturing: From Mass Production to Mass Customization and Personalization'

Evolving Paradigms of Manufacturing: From Mass Production to Mass Customization and Personalization Academic research paper on "Materials engineering"

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{"Mass production" / "Mass customization" / Personalization}

Abstract of research paper on Materials engineering, author of scientific article — S. Jack Hu

Abstract This paper reviews the development of the paradigms of manufacturing, including mass production, mass customization and the emerging paradigm of personalization. In each paradigm, we discuss the contributions of scientific principles, manufacturing technologies and systems operations and how they are integrated together to achieve quality, productivity and responsiveness in manufacturing. We also compare the roles of the consumer in each paradigm.

Academic research paper on topic "Evolving Paradigms of Manufacturing: From Mass Production to Mass Customization and Personalization"

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Procedía CIRP 7 (2013) 3-8

Forty Sixth CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems 2013 Evolving Paradigms of Manufacturing: From Mass Production to Mass Customization and Personalization

S. Jack Hu

Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA _Tel.: +1-734-615-4315 ; fax: +1-734-647-7303 . E-mail address:


This paper reviews the development of the paradigms of manufacturing, including mass production, mass customization and the emerging paradigm of personalization. In each paradigm, we discuss the contributions of scientific principles, manufacturing technologies and systems operations and how they are integrated together to achieve quality, productivity and responsiveness in manufacturing. We also compare the roles of the consumer in each paradigm.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Professor Pedro Filipe do Carmo Cunha

Keywords: Mass production; mass customization; personalization

1. Introduction

Manufacturing is essential to a nation's economic well-being and quality of life for its citizens because manufacturing creates lasting wealth while also distributes wealth through high-paying jobs. Since its birth two centuries ago, the manufacturing industry has evolved through several paradigms [1]. The first paradigm was "Craft Production", which created the product the customer requested but at a high cost. There were no manufacturing systems associated with this paradigm. In addition, the providers of craft products were confined to localized geographical regions hence such production was not scalable. Interchangeability and the moving assembly lines enabled the development of "Mass Production" which provided low-cost products through large scale manufacturing. However, the number of varieties offered by such production was very limited, as evidenced by the famous statement from Henry Ford, "Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black' [2]. In the late 1980s, global competition and consumer demands for high product variety led to the development of "Mass Customization" [3]. Manufacturers designed the basic product architecture and options while customers are allowed to select the assembly combination that they prefer most. Product family planning enabled manufacturers to share certain common components

across the products in the family so that economy of scale is achieved at the component level. Flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems are utilized to create high variety in the final assembly through combinational assembly, thus achieving the economy of scope. For example, BMW claims that the number of possible combinations for the 7 Series alone could reach 1017 ( Many companies are offering high variety through such an approach.

What is the next manufacturing paradigm? For the past three decades, the governing premise of many corporations has been to maximize shareholder value. However, in an article published in the Harvard Business Review, Martin [4] shows that corporations that focused on the consumers have been considerably outperforming companies that focused on the shareholders. Hence, Martin advocates a shift from focusing on shareholder value to focusing on the consumer. In their widely read book, "The Game Changer" [5], former CEO of Proctor & Gamble A.G. Lafley and management consultant Ram Charan advocate a core business practice centered on the idea of the "customer as boss". They advocate "Actually getting her involved in co-creation and co-design. At its foundation is clarifying, segmenting, and precisely targeting the who before engineering and formulating new-product innovations. This means involving her in the iterative, two-way creation and design of innovation, right from the start."

2212-8271 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Professor Pedro Filipe do Carmo Cunha doi: 10. 1016/j .procir.2013.05.002

Consumers' desire to influence and participate in the

design of products is the key driver leading to the new emerging manufacturing paradigm - which we call Personalization or Personalized Production.

Volume per model

Personalized Production


Fig. 1. Volume variety relationship in manufacturing paradigms [1].

The evolution of the manufacturing paradigms is illustrated in Fig. 1 using a volume-variety relationship. In the remainder of the paper, we review the development of mass production and mass customization and the enabling technologies associated with each. Then we discuss the emerging paradigm of personalization and the enabling technologies required to realize such a new paradigm.

2. Mass Production

Mass production, or the American system of production, began with the introduction of the Henry Ford moving assembly line at Highland Park near Detroit, Michigan and reached its peak after the end of the World War II when demands for products were very high. Interchangeability, moving assembly lines, and scientific management are the key science, technology, and systems enablers for mass production. While mass production created tremendous wealth for the U.S. and many individuals, it also had several weaknesses as we will see later.

Interchangeability: The ability to randomly select parts and assemble them together was crucial to the introduction of assembly lines at the beginning of the 20th century. Individual parts were made in large volumes but controlled within tolerance. Products can be assembled in a random order to desired specification and performance. The concept of interchangeable parts began in Europe, but Eli Whitney was credited with experimenting with interchangeable parts in 1801 when he built 10 guns using the same exact parts and mechanisms and then disassembled and reassembled

them in front of the U.S. Congress [6]. While Whitney actively promoted the concept of interchangeability, he was not able to successfully implement it in his production. Henry Leland, founder of Cadillac automobiles, later successfully adapted interchangeable parts for automobile manufacturing. Interchangeable parts enabled the economic production of components parts in large volumes. Subsequently, economy of scale was achieved when all these came together on the assembly line.

Moving Assembly Line: The first modern version of an assembly system was the moving assembly line introduced by Henry Ford in 1913 at Highland Park, Michigan for producing the Model T automobiles (see Fig. 2). Prior to the introduction of the assembly line, cars were individually crafted at fixed locations by a group of workers who traveled from car to car. The process was slow and expensive. The moving assembly line where the cars came to the worker who performed the same tasks again and again was able to significantly improve the speed and reduce the cost of assembly [7]. Table 1 illustrates the productivity gains achieved through moving assembly lines. This technology is still being used today.

Fig. 2. Henry Ford assembly line at Highland Park [7].

Table 1 Productivity gains due to the moving assembly line at Highland Park.

Pre-1912 20-30 per day

1913 100 per day

1914 1000 per day

1915 3000 per day

Division of Labor: The production of volumes of individualized parts and the moving assembly lines led to specialization in the tasks of the workers. While division of labor was not a new concept in society, the moving assembly line and production systems further divided work with much finer granularity by having each worker focus on some specialized repetitive tasks. Adam Smith predicted very early that division of labor represented a qualitative increase in productivity [8], but

also criticized that the jobs of the workers were confined to a single task. Workers in such settings failed to see the value of their work and the contributions to the final products. This has become especially true with mass production.

Scientific Management: The theory of scientific management by Fredrick Taylor was one of the early attempts to improve economic efficiency, in particular, labor productivity [9]. Taylor introduced time studies, work training and separation of workers from management etc. into the American production system. Taylor also contributed to the science and art of metal cutting.

Limitations of Mass production: The main goal of mass production is the pursuit of productivity. Manufacturers designed products and pushed them to the consumers with only limited inputs from them. In fact, many U.S. manufacturers had forgotten their customers. Quality of products had deteriorated. When products were not selling well, inventory cost increased. The division of labor also caused problems between management and workers. No one seemed to have noticed the problems manufacturers faced until many Japanese products arrived in the US markets.

The first wake-up call to US manufacturers came in the 1970's during the first oil crisis. Japanese cars that were sold in the U.S. were cheaper, better and much more fuel efficient. Another wave of Japanese products would arrive in the U.S. again, in the middle 1980's. This time, TVs, VCRs made in Japan pretty much dominated the U.S. market and U.S. manufacturers were no longer competitive in these segments.

To find out what the Japanese did, teams of engineers and researchers were sent to Japan to try to learn the Japanese manufacturing methods. Among the various discoveries, the most important discovery was an American statistician and professor who taught the Japanese about quality and manufacturing management. That American was W. Edward Deming who was considered a hero in Japan for contributing to Japanese manufacturing and businesses, but his teaching and philosophy were just beginning to be embraced by American manufacturers.

Another important discovery about Japan manufacturing was through the MIT International Motor Vehicle Program. Automotive manufacturers from Japan, the US and Europe participated in this study and the output was the book, "The Machine That Changed the World" [10], which introduced the concept of the Toyota Production System and Lean Manufacturing.

Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing is a manufacturing management philosophy based on the Toyota Production System. It seeks to maximize value to the customer while minimize waste along the process flow. Lean principles and the various methods can be found in various books. Lean manufacturing is now impacting every major US manufacturer in its drive for quality, cost and delivery.

3. Mass Customization

The paradigm of mass customization emerged in the late 1980's as demand for product variety increased [3]. The number of varieties offered by consumer product manufacturers has increased significantly since then. An example used in [1] is the number of distinct automobile vehicle models in the U.S. which increased from 44 in 1969 to 165 in 2006 [11, 12]. Within each model, there can be many choices on the powertrain and interior combinations. Market segmentation and global competition led to the development of such high variety and highly customized products.

Mass customization was enabled by several important concepts and technologies, including product family architecture, reconfigurable manufacturing systems, and delaying differentiation.

Product Family Architecture: Product Family Architecture (PFA) [13] is an important concept in mass customization. With a PFA, the manufacturer can develop a product family strategy where certain functional modules are shared while others are provided with several variants each so that the assembly combination will provide high variety in the final products (see Fig. 3, where the total number of variants is 3x2-x3 ). A consumer can choose the combination of the different module variants for the manufacturer to assemble for him/her. Such an approach enabled the production of customized products that the consumer liked the most.

F1 F2 Fn

Fig. 3. Product Family Architecture (PFA) to represent assembly variety [1].

Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS): With high variety under mass customization, manufacturing

systems need to respond to the changing market in terms of ever changing product mix and demands. The concept of reconfigurable manufacturing systems was first proposed by Koren et al. [14]. An RMS is a system that is designed at the out-set for rapid changes in its structure and control in order to adjust its production capacity and functionality within a part family in response to sudden market changes. Configurations of the manufacturing system play an important role in impacting the performance of the systems [15].

Delaying Differentiation: To manage the high variety in manufacturing systems, Delayed Product Differentiation is implemented to delay the point where the different products take on their unique characteristics. The processes and assemblies are common up to the point of differentiation. Such delay reduces cost and improves responsiveness of the assembly systems [16, 17]. Figure 4 (b) illustrates a configuration with differentiation.

Fig. 4. Manufacturing System Configuration: (a) mixed model assembly, (b) configuration with differentiation.

While mass customization provided high variety for consumers to choose, such high variety also introduced manufacturing complexity in the assembly systems [18], which impacts system performance. In addition, the role of the consumer is limited to choosing the module combinations and s/he may not be able to obtain the product exactly as s/he desires.

4. Personalization

The ubiquitous presence of the internet and computing and availability of emerging responsive manufacturing systems, such as 3D printing, present an opportunity for a new paradigm of product realization: the personalization of products tailored to the individual needs and preferences of consumers. Customers create innovative products and realize value by collaborating with manufacturers and other consumers. This co-design process is enabled by an open product architecture [19], on-demand manufacturing systems, and responsive cyber-physical system involving user participation in design, product simulation/certification, manufacturing, supply and assembly processes that rapidly meet consumer needs and preferences.

Open architecture products: Product personalization rely on an open product platform that allows various modules, including user designed modules to be integrated together. While product family design methodologies for mass customization were based on products that consisted of common modules and customized modules [20, 21], a personalized product will typically have an open architecture and will consist of three types of modules: common modules that are shared across the product platform; customized modules that allow customers to choose, mix and match; and personalized modules that allow customers to create and design. All these modules will have standard mechanical, electrical and informational interfaces to allow easy assembly and disassembly. Based on the anticipated value, manufacturability and cost of the product, some designs may not contain all three types of modules but may instead be composed of just the customized and personalized modules. Product architecting is to determine the modules that will be common, customizable and personalizable depending on cost and manufacturability [22].

Personalization design: Consumers are participating in the design process at different levels. A number of designers are much more likely to be novices who bring with them significant differences in their approach to design and the preferences that are important to them. Research into the design and integration of new interfaces is needed that will support the novice designer, the expert designer and perhaps the expert design mentor as an interactive aid to the designer. In effect, many users will be learning a significant amount during the design process. Visualization tools are needed to aid the consumer in understanding the ramifications of design choices without having to provide physical prototypes. A design environment with the flexibility to accommodate both novice and experienced designers who desire both the freedom to perform creative design and the ability to visualize the integration of the personalized modules under the open architecture product platform would be highly desired.

On-demand manufacturing systems: To ensure rapid response to the consumer demand, the manufacturing system must provide flexibility in fabricating personalized product features and modules and assembling these modules with other manufacturer supplied modules. Additive manufacturing that cost-effectively creates 3D solid objects directly from a CAD model [23] is considered as enabling technologies towards personalization. In addition, an on-demand assembly system should be configured and reconfigured cost-effectively in response to customers' personalized designs.

Cyber-physical Systems: To support the distributed personalization design, collaboration and on-demand manufacturing, computational tools integrated with the

physical design and manufacturing systems will be necessary. Engineered systems that are built from and depend upon the synergy of computational and physical components are called Cyber-Physical Systems [24]. New user interface methods and tools will be needed to support the scalable user experience and collaborative, distributed design approaches developed for personalized production. Methods will be needed that will leverage existing cyber-social networking infrastructures to support users as they share their designs and view the designs of people with similar interests. Personalization will also result in the emergence of communities of like-minded designers. Beyond user interface tools, we see that a rich database of designs will be constantly evolving for the manufacturer to use in identifying potential new markets and new products. Tools and algorithms will be needed to support the manufacturer as the company seeks to data-mine the design space to identify trends and emergent designs which signal new markets and new product potential.

Advanced analysis tools will be needed to verify safety and reliability of these highly individualized products and perform human-in-the-loop simulations. While the vision includes individual designers having the freedom to fully personalize a design, the reality is that the design space is bounded, often by limits on safety, manufacturability and reliability. Understanding how to present these bounds to the designer and how to evaluate a personalized design will be a significant research challenge.

Finally, new cyber-physical tools will be needed to support on-demand manufacturing. On the fly evaluations of design for manufacturability will be critical to the creation of realizable personalized products. Reconfigurable assembly systems and supply chain management tools will also be needed to accommodate the wide variety in production mix.

5. Summary

This paper reviews the development of the three manufacturing paradigms and discusses the enabling technologies for each. While the goals of mass production, mass customization and personalization can be summarized as economy of scale, economy of scope and value differentiation respectively, the role of the consumer also changes from "buy", "choose" to "design" participation. Each newer paradigm will encompass the goals and approaches of a prior paradigm and demand more responsive manufacturing systems. A comparison of these paradigms is shown in Fig. 5 and summarized in Table 2. The three paradigms will likely co-exist so that manufacturers will provide a wide range of product choices for a broad spectrum of consumers so that consumers can buy, choose or design their own

products to fit their individual needs.


The author wish to acknowledge the useful discussions with colleagues, in particular, Professors Yoram Koren, Steve Skerlos and Judy Vance, that contributed to the writing of this paper.


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Fig. 5. Goals of the manufacturing paradigms.

Table 2. Key differences between mass production, mass customization and personalized production. Adapted from [1].

Mass Production Mass Customization Personalized Production

Scale Scale Scale

Production Gaol Scope Scope Value

Quality Quality Quality

Desired Product Cost Cost Cost

Characteristics Variety Variety Efficacy

Customer Role Choose Design Choose

Buy Buy Buy

Production Dedicated Mfg Reconfigurable Mfg On-Demand Mfg

System Systems (DMS) Systems (RMS) Systems (OMS)

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