What exactly is mass-customization?

Excerpts from Ankita Chowdhary’s interview with Bala Selvarajan and Robert Johnson, published in StitchWorld:

What is mass-customization and on-demand manufacturing?

When we say mass-customization or on-demand manufacturing, typically what comes to mind is the consumer level customization – a consumer designs a product from scratch and has it custom made. This, however, is just one niche use of mass-customization and its applications are quite broader. 

Take for example the sudden demand for face masks during the pandemic. You see an endless variety of them being made, but due to the difficulty involved in anticipating how long the need for masks will continue, or at what rate, the traditional model of producing and keeping inventory does not work.

The same is true if a brand wants to experiment with new styles, color or sizes, but doesn’t know what the demand is going to be, or wants to iterate faster with new designs rapidly. All of these fall under the broad umbrella of mass-customization, even though there is no consumer level customization involved at all.

What is real-time commerce?

What we mean by “Real Time Commerce” is the ability for brands to create thousands of SKUs virtually and instantly get those products in front of their customers and start selling. The products are made on-demand, after a purchase is actually made! Brands will manage all of their products and designs digitally and sell through e-commerce.

The key here, is the use of technology to produce high quality products on-demand and ship them to customers in 2 to 3 days. For the customer, this feels no different from ordering a product on say, Amazon, except the product may not have existed until it was ordered!

What is the relevance of mass-customization to brands and retailers?

Traditionally, retailers had to rely on long and expensive design-to-production cycles. What you see as the latest trend for the season has been on someone’s drawing board 60 to 90 days prior! All these costs add up as “Minimum Order Quantities”, creating large inventories, discounts and end-of-season sale!

The on-demand business model removes these inefficiencies and opens a new world of small batch manufacturing. The ability to a) create designs and get them to market in real-time b) produce the latest trends in small batches and bring them to market in as little as 2 weeks c) restock after it sells!

This provides two disruptive opportunities that traditional brands and retailers can tap into: Firstly, adapt to rapidly changing needs and consumer preferences by introducing new products, designs and styles. Second, use targeted small batch manufacturing to minimize inventory by stocking store-specific designs, sizes and styles. 

This is the real promise of mass-customization. To be able to expand product lines, bring designs to market significantly faster, all without carrying additional inventory!

 On the different applications of the technology:

Mass-customization has broad applications. The customization aspect itself can be anywhere on the spectrum – 100% owned and controlled by the brand, to 100% bespoke, designed by the consumer or a collaborative design process in the middle.

A large part of the design to production process and the supply chain for the fashion & textile industry has been manual. When you have tens of people communicating using different tools and systems, things are bound to be lost in translation. 

With a “purchase to production line” solution, a lot of these uncertainties go away and what is designed and visualized is exactly what gets made, bringing speed and predictability to what has largely been a manual and time consuming process. 

mass customization, on-demand manufacturing, apparel on demand

What is the future of mass-customization?

Mass-customization is the future.

Consumers will increasingly shop online. Consumers will increasingly demand personalization. Rapidly changing business environment will make large inventories impossible to hold.

The future belongs to those brands that are able to bring designs to market considerably faster and to then manufacture those products on-demand or in small-batches.

Announcing the launch of a complete technology platform for print-on-demand

complete print on demand platform

We are happy to announce the launch of a full technology stack to turn any dye sublimation or direct to garment (DTG) operation into a complete print and fulfillment house in as little as six weeks!

Our integrated platform includes 3D visualization tools that let your sellers intuitively design, publish and manage their products in 3D, while our inbuilt commerce gateway allows your sellers to automatically create catalogs and publish them to Shopify, Magento or WooCommerce. Our process automation ensures that your factory floor receives production ready files of all end consumer orders with the designs graded to size and ready for manufacturing, minutes from purchase! Use our inbuilt Order Management System to manage and drop ship the orders or use our APIs to connect to your existing Netsuite ERP or Hybris CRM.

Allow as much or as little customization as you prefer. Add buyer personalization or team rosters and still go directly to manufacturing without any manual work. Better still, use your existing supply chain!

The integrated platform allows any DTG or Cut and Sew maker to connect and service as many seller accounts and storefronts as they prefer, support stock designs or full personalization, leverage the patented cross product designer, sell with ready plug-ins for e-commerce and then automatically create print ready files in minutes.

vPersonalize’s makes running thousands of team stores, influencer commerce, in-page artist merchandise or designer storefronts very simple, while leveraging vPersonalize’s industry tested 3D visualization and manufacturing automation technology to create hundreds of thousands of print ready files a day for on-demand manufacturing.

Leapfrog your competition in as little as six weeks, at a fraction of the cost of their in-house solution! We help you focus on your core competency, while leveraging our #1 PoD technology platform without the capital expenditure. Learn more at http://www.vpersonalize.com

Technology to turn any manufacturer into a print & fulfillment house!

Custom Gateway

Full technology stack to turn any Print On Demand (PoD), Dye Sub or Direct To Garment (DTG) apparel manufacturer into a complete print and fulfillment house in as little as 6 weeks! Save months of time and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost. vPersonalize is the only platform you will ever need to service all your sellers and make on-demand.

  • Your sellers can design, manage and publish products
  • Catalog builder
  • Order Management System
  • Direct connect to Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce
  • Print production automation
  • Automated size-grading & nesting
  • Roster automation
  • Built-in commerce platform and custom APIs

Add additional modules for increased productivity:

  • Barcodes & mobile scanners
  • Kiosks
  • Color management
  • API integration to select printer hardware

Go from purchase to production line in minutes! Email hello@vpersonalize.com to know more.

Design Tools | Catalogs | Print Automation | Order Management

www.vpersonalize.com

Still doing your size-grading and team rosters by hand?

Say hello to a whole new world of automation. Design, publish, sell, then automatically generate size-graded print ready patterns! Go from purchase to production line in minutes!

Team Roster Automation

 

 

Automated pattern generation, size grading and nesting means your designs are production ready minutes from purchase! Automatic color mapping, laser markings, barcodes and support for multiple printing method means you can save 90% on pre-production time and 50% or more on design costs.

Let your players and coaches design intuitively in 3D, change color, add a roster excel of player names and numbers or change logos. Leverage automation to automatically generate size-graded, print ready files with the roster name and numbers, ready for production in minutes! With design automation, you can manufacture locally and ship on-demand.

Learn more about the future of team commerce and sublimated sportswear production:

https://www.vpersonalize.com