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Mass Customization Monday #15

Yet another edition of Mass Customization Monday where we’ve searched high and low on the internets to find you the very best mass customization news.

Mass customized packaging on demand with MyLabel.One

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The MyLabel.One online tool

This article tells us that people are willing to pay up to 60% more for a mass customized product. Mylabel.One is a German company that is offering mass customization and personalized labels with a minimum order quantity of one. That means that you could buy a single item and then they will put your logo on it and also further enable the personalization of that item with your customer’s name. MyLabel.One is an online tool that lets you personalize and mass personalize and also offers you the online renderings of how the personalized packaging will look.

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Some Rathgeber label customers.

MyLabel.One is a subsidiary of the third generation family owned Rathgeber group which has over 23,000 enterprise customers in aluminium labeled plates, metal signs, product seals and other labeling solutions.

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A typical Rathgeber product, an anodized aluminium plate for Bernecker & Rainer, a company also on the mass customization path.

German family owned companies are generally seen as conservative. These often high engineering, high value, high R&D firms typically have quality products that dominate niches. Labeling is a wide application area with a lot of competition and Rathgeber is one of only a handful of companies that have been able to evolve over the past 65 years with the market of high quality labels of all kinds. In essence their products often were already mass customized with the company making a compliance label which would then be stamped on printed on in order to label an individual product. Now they’ve evolved and are directly offering to anyone unique personalized labels. This seems to be a very astute move by the company. More brands, lower barriers to entry and the growth of mass customization could all point to firms, designers and entrepreneurs using their MyLabel.One tool.

Newegg offers outsourced customization and logistics services

Electronics e commerce company Newegg, which is one of the US’s largest online electronics retailers is offering outsourced customization and logistics services. Newegg now offers customers warehousing and order processing, reverse logistics to take back returns and customers can also piggyback on Newegg’s low parcel shipping rates. Companies can also get mass customized leaflets, packaging and even assembly help with their products. Manufacturers, resellers and distributors can now use Newegg to ship to their customers.

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Newegg’s Indianapolis Smart Fulfillment Center.

On the one hand this is an effect stemming from Amazon’s incredible reach and scale. Amazon made its infrastructure available by letting people rent its AWS servers and space. Companies can also sell via Amazon on its marketplace and make use of services from the company. By turning itself inside out and letting customers make use of its infrastructure Amazon has made a smart (and very profitable!) move into making money while offsetting the costs needed to build new infrastructure and maintain it. It will be interesting to see if many companies can and will copy such an arrangement as Newegg has done. How else could one in the long run compete with Amazon? At the same time this move democratizes retail and branding even more. Anyone can now sell on eBay, Etsy, Amazon and other online retailers. Anyone can also buy from AliBaba and directly from many vendors. One person companies can buy advertising on Facebook and Google as well. Commerce is being democratized. Newegg now lets you piggyback on their infrastructure and could make you an online merchant with your own brand.

 Okuma Corporation and Hitachi to set up IoT and mass customization factory

Okuma Corporation and Hitachi are working together to set up a demonstration factory to use mass customization and IoT in an efficient way at the Okuma Dream Site 2.

The target of this demonstration experiment is to increase productivity by twice and to reduce production lead time by 50% at DS2. Given recent trends in the manufacturing industry, such as the rapid development of diversification in customers’ needs and digital technology as well as intensified global competition, manufacturers are required to achieve mass customization that delivers productivity equivalent to that of mass production, even in ultra-high-mix low-volume manufacturing, which caters to the needs of individual customers. With this background, production planning often needs to be changed due to order interruptions for the quick delivery of a product or an unexpected change in the deadline or specifications, creating issues of interrupt production reduce. Using big data collected from the field and accumulated by the monitoring system regarding the progress and operational status and employment of the advanced automatic learning simulation AI technology, the next step is to develop this into a system that automatically and dynamically generates a high-precision production schedule according to the ever-changing situations in the field,

The Okuma corporation is a machine tool builder that makes CNC machines as well as factory automation. Hitachi is a global conglomerate that makes everything from harddisks to air conditioners to trains & elevators. The two companies have previously worked together on Okuma Dream Site 1, a factory meant to look at variable mix variable volume production of lathes in a highly automated way.Okuma_dream_site_1_iot

The first Okuma Dream Site. In the future the only people may be visitors or tour guides.

This was their initial step in 2013 into looking at Industrie 4.0 or smart factories. These factories deploy automation, sensors and robots in a more fundamental way and ideally can do variable mix variable volume production in a fully automated way. By incorporating IoT into their next factory the company aims to harvest  more sensor data in an automated way and analyze this with AI and learning algorithms to improve production as well as make their production methods more suitable for mass customization. Hitachi also has a Lumada platform which is meant to be a single ‘universe’ for implementing and tracking with IoT.

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Hitachi’s Lumada platform.

This seems like a very good step for both Okuma and Hitachi. Not only can both companies learn to use IoT and AI to manufacture more efficiently they could then resell their offerings and expertise to customers. In face of increasing competition globally from lower cost competitors companies have to increasingly provide value in the intelligent optimization of processes, monitoring and overall production. Siemens, GE and other companies are also devoting significant resources in making AI, IoT, digital personas and mass customization a reality in manufacturing.

Corydon Customs makes custom Diecast Models

Corydon Customs makes personalized die cast models. Diecast automobiles were some of the most popular toys years back. The company now lets you mass customize cars, fire trucks and police cruisers. Names, logos and other identifying marks of departments can be added to the die cast models. The company is targeting fire departments and police departments in the US with its mass custom toy cars. They also have made logo cars, trucks and vans for brands. Packaging can be customized as well to include the name of the recipient.

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Nostalgia, pride and desk toys are all combined in this mass customized gift. This is a very cost effective way to build team spirit and pride in an organization especially one where a lot of your employees are in cars. The die cast car can be kept as a memento, desk toy or given to a child. What other personalized things could similarly combine team building with nostalgia?

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