My wife and I are moving into a new house, and my wife has her heart set on a new refrigerator. It’s a modern appliance, but it’s styled like a 1950s refrigerator: rounded corners, levered handles, single door or double doors, and offered in a selection of solid retro colors, such as fire engine red, lime green, or turquoise.
It’s an example of a concept that the manufacturing industry has been wrestling with for many years: mass customization. And it’s a far cry from the days when you could buy a Ford Model-T in any color you wanted as long as it was black.
In today’s global ecommerce marketplace, consumer expectations about personalization, performance, and cost are supersized. To deliver the flexibility and responsiveness mass customization demands, manufacturers must embrace emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain networked ledger systems.