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The Customer Centric Enterprise
Advances in Mass Customization
and Personalization


edited by Mitchell M. Tseng and Frank T. Piller



Preface: All yours

"All yours mass customization transforms manufacturing in the 21st century," wrote The Economist in a 2001 feature article. Enterprises in all branches of industry are being required to become more customer centric, yet, at the same time, increasing competitive pressure dictates that costs must also continue to decrease. Mass Customization and Personalization are strategies developed to address this challenge by producing goods and services meeting individual customer's needs with near mass production efficiency. However, while mass customization and personalization have already been discussed in the literature for almost two decades, reports on practical implementation of the principles of mass customization in businesses can been found only within the last years.

Also, academic research and development of the theoretical and managerial aspects of mass customization and personalization is increasing rapidly. While an internet search of the term mass customization got about 350 results in 1995, nowadays there are more than 75,000 hits. According to a recent literature research, there are more than 2700 articles in English language published about the topic since the term was coined in 1989, about 60% of them within in the last two years.

The 2001 World Congress on Mass Customization and Personalization wanted to distinguish the buzz from the facts and to provide the first international, multi-disciplinary and broad platform for exchange and sharing best practices and innovative ideas in the field. The congress, jointly organized by the Advanced Manufacturing Institute and the Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IEEM) of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Department of General and Industrial Management of the Technsiche Univesität München (TUM), was held at the HKUST in October 2001. As Co-Chairs of the conference, we were very pleased by the enormous feedback on our call for papers and the participations of the conference. Scholars from various academic disciplines, corporate executives from all over the world and other interested audience discussed the many faces of mass customization and personalization intensively and with much personal involvement.

The objective of this book is to share the results from the conference with a larger audience. We selected 29 papers from the original conference proceedings of more than 70 papers [1]. Selection of the papers was based first of all on the rankings of the reviewers' evaluation. In addition, we tried to select papers discussing specific topics or papers that provide a perspective on the broad scope of contemporary mass customization research and applications. After the selections and based on the discussion in the conference, authors were invited to revise, extend and update their original conference contribution. The idea of the book is to give the reader an introduction into the field, to show the scope of mass customization research, and to present recent research findings and the state of the art in selected perspectives of this subject. We hope that our selection may fit your personal interests.


We wish to acknowledge the work of many people making this book finally happen. First of all we have to thank our authors for contributing to this book. More than 60 researchers from all parts of the world share their knowledge and thoughts on customer centric enterprises and mass customization with us making this book a most comprehensive reference for future work in the field. We acknowledge delivering their contributions on time and apologize for taking so long to bring all the pieces together.

We gratefully acknowledge the support by many scholars and practitioners in our field which contributed both to the World Congress on Mass Customization and Personalization and this book: Prof. Claudio Roberto Boer (National Research Council Italy ITIA), Prof. Hans-Jörg Bullinger (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft), Ing. Sergio Dulio (National Research Council Italy ITIA), Dr. Ravindra S. Goonetilleke (The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology), Prof. Jochen Gros (Academy of Art & Design Offenbach), Mr. Poul Kyvsgaard Hansen (Aallborg University), Prof. Martin G. Helander (Nanyang Technological University), Dr. Roger Jianxin Jiao (Nanyang Technological University Singapore), Prof. Halimahtun M. Khalid (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak), Mrs. Eva Kuehn (form:format Berlin), Dr. Bart MacCarthy (University of Nottingham), Prof. Farokh Mistree (Georgia Institute of Technology), Prof. Ralf Reichwald (Technische Universitaet Muenchen), Mr. Falk-Hayo Sanders (MSR Consulting Group), Mr. Ralf Seelmann-Eggebert (Fraunhofer Institute IFF Magdeburg), Prof. Nam P. Suh (MIT) and Mr. Peter Tredwin (Independent Consultant).

To finish this book, we got great help by our colleagues and teams in Hong Kong and Munich. At The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Ms. Rebecca Tsang and Ms. Sri Hartati Kurniawan contributed to editing this book. Same did Ms. Helen Burton, Ms. Silvia Meyer, and Mr. Joachim Wimmer at the TUM Business School of the Technische Universität München.

The publishing of this book was partly supported by a grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within its National Research Cluster on Mass Customization (SFB 582, see www.sfb582.de) at the Technische Universität München, Germany. We are also indebted to the Hong Kong Research Grant Council, Innovation Commission of Hong Kong SAR Government and several industrial grants including Rockwell Foundation, Esquel Enterprises Limited., Artesyn Technologies Asia Pacific Limited, Yusan Industry Limited, Effect Group, Honeywell Consumer Product Group and Sterling Products Limited. They have generously provided not only financial supports, but also problem context for us to address the broad issues of customer centric enterprises.

Finally we thank Dr. Werner Müller, Publishing Director at Springer, and his team for their patience with the editors and for helping to get this book in print.


Mitchell M. Tseng and Frank T. Piller

[1]Tseng, M.M. and Piller, F.T. (Eds.): Proceedings of the 2001 World Congress on Mass Customization & Personalization, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong 2001 (available on CD-ROM at ami.ust.hk/MC01/MCPC.htm)

www.mass-customization.de/cce -- (c) Copyright 2003 by Tseng and Piller