One of the biggest challenges facing supply chain operations is the trend toward product personalization: serving a customer of one. Consumers and customers want it their way. Despite the best efforts of many marketing brands to build cache for their product, many customers consider themselves unique individuals. They don't want to fit a brand mold. They want a product designed to their personal tastes. Customers want to be at the center.
So, it's no wonder today that we find jeans makers setting up special shops inside the mall, offering to tailor a product in the store to the customer's own physique. A customer walks into the store, gets measured for his or her personal dimensions, and then gets a pair of jeans made that's fitted to his or her unique body shape.
In many ways, it's a throwback to what happened before the age of industrialization. A consumer walked into a tailor's shop to get a suit of clothes custom-made. A customer walked into a furniture maker's shop and got desk and chairs made especially for his or her house. A customer walked into a potter's shop and got a set up of cups and dinnerware.
But then large-scale manufacturing came along in the eighteenth century to end craftsmanship. Large-scale manufacturing could turn out products in volume such that the price of goods was affordable to the average person. Granted, a rich person could still visit a tailor to get a suit made, or visit a dressmaker for that special gown, but the average ...