La personalización en masa en el marco de la estrategia competitiva de la empresa

Luis M. Arroyo-Gutiérrez, Montserrat Jiménez-Partearroyo

Resumen


La estrategia de personalización en masa consiste en ofrecer productos personalizados y por tanto diferenciados, con costes similares a los de la producción en masa, buscando compaginar con éxito las dos estrategias competitivas genéricas: líder en costes y diferenciación. Sin embargo y bajo el modelo de Porter este posicionamiento intermedio es una estrategia errónea, extremadamente débil y que supone una clara desventaja estratégica. En este ar tículo se plantea el éxito de esta estrategia híbrida cuando concurren una serie de condiciones y las sitúa dentro del marco competitivo de la empresa, definiéndola como una nueva estrategia de proceso. Los autores además realizan un estudio empírico sobre una amplia muestra de las empresas manufactureras españolas donde se analiza el tipo de estrategia productiva implementada.

Palabras clave: personalización en masa, tecnologías avanzadas de producción, matriz producto-proceso, AMS, AMT.


Mass customization within the company’s competitive framework

Abstract: The basis of mass customization is to offer personalized and therefore differentiated products, with similar costs to the mass produced ones, combining successfully the two generic competitive strategies: cost leadership and differentiation. However, under Porters’ model this intermediate hybrid strategic position is wrong, extremely weak and represents a clear strategic disadvantage. Some years had passed since this dominant paradigm was formulated, and the new market and technological context need to be taken into consideration. The new market conditions, with more demanding customers that want their individual preferences being better satisfied and the incorporation of information technologies that allow companies the access to global markets at the same time that facilitates the flexibilization of manufacturing processes; have changed the environment that companies work in. To achieve economies and the necessary costs levels, companies that implement mass customization should promote the introduction of repetitive processes, as this process should be able to provide the cost objectives. At the same time, the companies have to maintain the product variety and therefore manufacture in small batches or even individual lots, a production type better fitted for a workshop environment. Consequently, mass customization is located in the right upper corner of the productprocess matrix, i.e. high product variety and volume, in a position outside the diagonal of the matrix, in a combination the authors traditionally considered inefficient. For the implementation of mass customization, it is critical to have the technology that enables the individual manufacturing, without which mass customization is not possible. Flexible manufacturing systems will be the responsible for providing the necessary flexibility to produce the customization. Combinations of advanced manufacturing technologies and repetitive production, should provide the objectives of cost and customization, necessary for this strategy. Allowing repetitive processes to obtain the characteristics of workshops processes, and vice versa.This new perspective makes us reflect on how the efficiency of the different types of processes has changed with the incorporation of new technologies. We not only question if it is possible to obtain necessary efficiencies that make mass customization a viable strategy, we also consider the existence of other areas of the matrix outside of the combinations of the diagonal, which would also be efficient. This paper studies the set conditions under which this hybrid strategy can be successful and place them within the company´s competitive framework, defining it as a new process strategy. As well, an empirical study about manufacturing strategy implemented is performed in a large sample of Spanish manufacturing companies.This article is structured as follows, in the first paragraph we introduce the subject that we are going to study. To establish the conceptual framework, in paragraph 2 we will perform a brief literature review on competitive strategies. Paragraph 3 looks at how to implement these strategies, focusing on mass customization as a hybrid strategy, and its position in the product-process matrix. In paragraph 4, we perform a descriptive empirical study on manufacturing strategies of industrial Spanish companies. Finally the summary and conclusions are presented.

Keywords: mass customization, advanced manufacturing technologies, product-process matrix, AMS, AMT.

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