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Mass Customization Monday #2

This is your weekly Mass Customization update from the Twikit team. We love everything individualized, personal and made for one. Every week we curate some of the most relevant, important and significant things going on in mass customization here in this post. Bookmark our blog post or follow us to be kept up to date with mass customization news.

Mass Customized Makeup by CoverGirl


CoverGirl clearly explains the mass customized item and how to customize it before you download the app. A clear example of good expectation management in terms of skill, cost and time to the consumer from the outset.

CoverGirl has launched an app which uses AI and your smartphone to produce unique tones of foundation for your skin. Smartphones can be a powerful tool for gathering customization information. The modern smartphone has GPS, accelerometers, microphones and cameras which can all be leveraged to give people a way to create their own unique product. Additionally a smartphone is an object that is very close to us. We use it continually throughout the day and have a strong attachment to the device. It is ever present for any business transaction we wish to make with the customer but it is simultaneously a trusted personal thing. The foundation costs $25 including shipping and users can also customize the packaging with fonts and label colors. By using a “one price” model including shipping CoverGirl is taking away much of the uncertainty of starting a customization path. By being clear on pricing and not having an additional shipping price more people will be encouraged to try out the process. From the outset pricing will be clear to them and once they’ve customized and liked the result they will then immediately be able to buy without getting any pricing surprises along the way.

How do they anticipate the demand for player jerseys in sports?

Excellent retail blog Racked as a closer look at how companies try to anticipate consumer demand for individual athlete jerseys. One solution is for these jerseys to be made in bulk overseas but often individual athletes names are added in the US for example. This is called “postponement, also known as delayed differentiation.” Anticipating demand for individualized or goods with many different options is a very difficult thing to do. With 3D printing and laser cutting you can produce on demand. If this is not an option how does one estimate demand of something that is highly variable?

Should the  UNHCR use mass customization for communication with refugees?

The UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has a concise article on using mass customization to communicate with refugees. Their report has sobering words, “on average 24 people were forced to flee every minute in 2015. One out of every 113 people on Earth is either a refugee, an internally displaced, or is seeking for asylum.” Throughout the article it focuses on mass customization of information, but could there be more cases where mass customization could be used to make a refugee feel more at home, acquire a skill or be happier?  

E-Nable and customized prosthetics using 3D printing


Using a 3D Printed prosthetic arm in Sudan. The print itself is inexpensive and can be customized.

E-Nable is a global community of thousands of designers and 3D printer owners. They together design and 3D print 3D printed prosthetics. Many traditional prosthetics are expensive but 3D printed ones can cost as little as $10. By installing 3D printers close to where prosthetics are needed costs are lowered even further. By coupling local manufacturing with 3D printing thousands people worldwide are getting 3D printed prosthetics from E-Nable and other organizations. The Guardian has a comprehensive article on a lot of what is going on in custom prosthetic fabrication using 3D printers. Apart from their cost and functionality one of the most interesting things about 3D printed prosthetics is that they can “turn a bug into a feature.” Often kids are ashamed of their regular prosthetics since they are meant to look like regular hands but clearly are not. By letting kids customize their prosthetics to any color they would like or even have them be similar to the hands of their favorite superheroes the hands become obvious. This means that they are turned from something to hide into something a kid can proudly show off on the playground.

enabling_the_Future_3D_Printed_prostheticThe 3D printed arm is low cost and 3D printed to size. But, by deciding which colors it is this customized product gives joy and takes a stigma and turns it into a cool thing to share and show off.

OpenBionics wins $1 million Robotics for Good Award


The team hopes to be able to obtain certification and go into production with this grant.

Whereas E-Nable and others are working on inexpensive 3D printed hands, Open Bionics is working on a more sophisticated design that is a prosthetic robot arm which can be individualized. The company has received a lot of funding so far and has just picked up a $1 million Robotics for Good Award in Dubai. Many are betting that robots will be an ever larger part of our lives, will we prefer to have the robots that help us be customized as well? What other applications and products are there that combine robotics and customization?

New York Times asks “What does Couture actually mean?”

The New York Times takes a look at what the word couture actually means. Couture is an interesting concept and definitions of it abound. One definition in the article states, “It is about being able to design, for every single customer, the unique and the best clothes.” Another, “Couture supposes a high level of creativity and a high level of savoir faire delivered in the atelier. And also the absolute level of individualization.” The goals, loftily expressed in the article, are the same as with mass customization, only we also want to make it inexpensive to do so.



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