Moeller, Egol, and Martin point out that "the challenge for companies is not achieving a single point of focus. It is harmonizing multiple points of focus. In industry after industry, customers are demanding ever-higher levels of customization-products and services tailored to their needs and they're confident that, in an economy characterized by greater and greater information transparency and sophisticated purchasing, they stand an excellent chance of getting it". In the market war there are successful products, surviving products and products, which have either fallen by the side or in the process of getting decimated.
Terry Hill has simplified the product classification based on its performance in the market place and using common man's language, has coined two terms, order qualifiers and order winners. An order winner is a product, which is bought by customers based on its value for the customer in terms of price, delivery schedule, usages and other associated features. An order qualifier, another self-explanatory term, means that the product has enough characteristics so that it is considered in the buying decisions of the customers but may not be successful ultimately. It is not a small achievement for an organization to offer products which come under the category of order qualifier. It means that a major share of the objective of meeting customer requirement is fulfilled and the key is to build up on this base, through a harmony of focus, right from market to manufacturing and then again from manufacturing to market, a smooth and ever evolving complete circle. The need is to put that extra, which makes extra-ordinary and converts an order qualifier into an order winner. Linda Hendry, in her paper based on research on 24 UK based SME's manufacturing companies who are mainly engaged in customization and Engineer-to-order (ETO) product. The author elaborates the differences between the two types of products, order winners and order qualifier based on the evidence gathered through the research which indicates that many a times customization is an order qualifier rather than an order winner. So the product has to be packed with additional features to keep it as order winner. In majority of cases the price consideration becomes the order winner. The author quotes Terry Hill's approach, which says that those products with high quality having unique design ability consequently having high cost element are order winners and delivered through jobbing process and price factor is under order qualifier category.
In this era where mass production of customized products is catching up against mass production of standard products like seen in auto segment, the customized products are becoming cheaper and price factor becomes order winner rather than customization. There are research papers which indicate that organizations involved in jobbing route of manufacturing are increasingly under cost pressure.
Order winners and qualifiers for a product are as changeable as the factors associated with the buying behavior of human being viz. the buying capacity, choices, quality and cost trade-off, change in behavioral pattern, cultural change, impact of ICT etc. At a particular time the concept of order winner and order qualifi