National Bicycle Industrial Company, Japan is a leading manufacturer of bicycles. It mass customizes bicycles, wherein it produces bicycles, which fit exactly to a customer's weight and color preferences. Their key to success in this arena is through the use of computer-aided design and computer integrated manufacturing, along with the maintenance of a customer database.
Thus, the system was an amazing blend of human skills and advanced technology.
The purpose of implementing mass-customization strategy was to increase the company's production of high-value added products. The company wanted to give customers the opportunity of ordering a bicycle according to their specific requirements by giving these requirements, directly to the factory. They wanted to implement a system which set aside their Panasonic brand from other similar brands in the market
The mass-customization strategy was first conceived by the company's managing director. He felt that if women could custom order their clothes, why couldn't bicycles be produced in the same way. This idea came at a time when the bicycle industry was seeing very sluggish sales, and the price that a customer was willing to pay for a bicycle was dropping. Even senior members of the company felt that implementing the idea would be a risk. Thus, this idea was brought out and implemented amidst a lot of skepticism of whether the idea would work in the first place.
However, the company's Managing Director went ahead with the idea of implementing the idea of mass-customization. This was because he wanted to increase the standard of high value added products manufactured by the company. ...