Mass customization. Development of competitive strategies by applying the concept of Absorptive Capacity

Diploma Thesis 2007 91 Pages

Business economics - Trade and Distribution


Table of contents


Table of contents

List of figures

List of abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Relevance and topicality
1.2 Problem statement and research objective
1.3 Outline of this paper

2 Mass customization
2.1 Definition and concept
2.2 Do customers want individual products?
2.3 Economies of mass customization
2.4 Classification of mass customization strategies

3 The case of Puma AG
3.1 Industry development
3.2 Company information
3.3 The ‘Mongolian Shoe BBQ’ project
3.4 State of project

4 Framework for defining mass customization strategies
4.1 Theoretical approach
4.2 Concept of absorptive capacity
4.3 Conceptual development of mass customization strategies
4.3.1 Acquisition
4.3.2 Assimilation
4.3.3 Transformation
4.3.4 Exploitation
4.4 Benefits and potential of this approach

5 Practical Application
5.1 Development phase: Mass customization as a branding tool
5.1.1 Implementation
5.1.2 Potential benefits and challenges
5.2 Research phase: Mass customization as a customer relationship instrument
5.2.1 Implementation
5.2.2 Potential benefits and challenges
5.3 Customer integration phase: Mass customization as an innovation platform
5.3.1 Implementation
5.3.2 Potential benefits and challenges
5.4 Mass customization as a sustainable business model
5.4.1 Implementation
5.4.2 Potential benefits and challenges

6 Conclusion
6.1 Summary and management implication
6.2 Limitations of this paper

Appendix 1: Puma’s turnaround strategy
Appendix 2: The case of Levi’s Original Spin
Appendix 3: The case of Procter & Gamble’s Reflect
Appendix 4: The case of mi adidas
Appendix 5: The case of Dell Computers



I would like to thank those people who supported me in writing this diploma thesis. First, I am thankful to Prof. Dr. Kathrin Möslein from HHL - Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Leipzig, for always being open-minded for interesting topics and for enabling her worldwide contact network.

I was very lucky to have met Dr. Frank Piller from the MIT - Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, who functioned as the supervisor of this thesis. He provided me with detailed expertise in the field of mass customization, and supported me with invaluable comments and guidance.

At Puma I am thankful to the entire Boston office, especially to my supervisor Ryan Eckel for discussing mass customization from the company’s perspective. In addition, thanks are due to Antonio Bertone, Mike Neth, Loris Spadacchini and Ida Faber for giving me interesting insights into their work and providing me with useful information on the MBBQ project. Last but not least I would like to thank Michael Laemmermann, CFO of Puma North America.

Simon Strassburger

Ahmedabad, December 27th 2006

List of figures

Figure 1-1: Outline and structure of this paper

Figure 2-1: Three options for a competitive advantage through MC

Figure 2-2: Determinants of demand for individual products

Figure 2-3: Increasing variety of consumer goods

Figure 2-4: Economies of mass customization

Figure 2-5: Selected mass customization classifications in literature

Figure 3-1: Three factors of a shifting sportswear industry

Figure 3-2: Mass customization projects in the sports shoe industry

Figure 3-3: Time schedule for the introduction of MBBQ

Figure 3-4: Designing Shoes from different components

Figure 3-5: Screenshot of the ‘Mongolian Shoe BBQ’-website

Figure 3-6: The MBBQ fulfillment process

Figure 3-7: SWOT analysis of Puma’s mass customization project

Figure 4-1: Process-based structure of absorptive capacity

Figure 4-2: Structure of external knowledge acquisition

Figure 4-3: Competitive advantage through MC in the development phase

Figure 4-4: Structure of external knowledge assimilation

Figure 4-5: Competitive advantage through MC in the research phase

Figure 4-6: Structure of external knowledge transformation

Figure 4-7: Competitive advantage through MC in the customer integration phase

Figure 4-8: Structure of external knowledge exploitation

Figure 4-9: Competitive advantage through MC as a sustainable business model

Figure 4-10: Framework for mass customization strategies

Figure 5-1: Potential benefits and challenges in the preparation phase

Figure 5-2: Potential benefits and challenges in the research phase

Figure 5-3: Potential benefits and challenges in the customer integration phase

Figure 5-4: Potential benefits and challenges in the customer integration phase

Figure 6-1: Overview on developed strategies for pursuing mass customization

List of abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

1.1 Relevance and topicality

Today’s business environment is changing rapidly, with product variety increasing and the customization of products growing.1 Companies have to react to these developments by adopting strategies which allow a closer reaction to customers’ individual needs as well as an increasing operational efficiency in internal processes.2 Mass customization is a concept that meets this challenge with offering customized goods at nearly mass production efficiency.3

However, recently the phrase of ‘mass customization’ has been the subject of much hype and became a buzzword.4 In 2005, the management consulting company Bain & Company has investigated that mass customization is already one of the 25 most popular management tools.5 Thus it seems obvious that within the last years the number of companies introducing own mass customization projects has been significantly increasing.6 Especially in the sport shoes industry the term produces a lively interest and can be seen as a trend: Nike, Adidas and Reebok are running a mass customization initiative today. Also Puma, as the fourth major brand in global sportswear market, recently introduced its ‘Mongolian Shoe BBQ’ called project, enabling customers to design their own shoes in the internet and selected retail stores.

By having a deeper look at all these companies it becomes evident, that mass customization is frequently implemented ineffectual and rarely part of a strategic plan.

Instead, the technique is often only used as a marketing gimmick, “neglecting the needs and possibilities of dealing with single customer orders.”7

The fact conversely, that mass customization offers much more potential than its utilization as a marketing instrument, is not only proven by theoretical literature. Also several successful practical examples – sometimes from entirely different industries – demonstrate the wide range of opportunities for pursuing a mass customization strategy.

1.2 Problem statement and research objective

The research in this paper will be examined on the example of the sportswear company Puma AG. The company started its mass customization project with the intention to increase the awareness of the brand and build closer relationships to its customers. Mass customization was seen as an appropriate means to achieve these goals, since the trend to customization offerings in the sport shoes industry was obvious.

However, there was no strategic plan on how to integrate the initiative in Puma’s overall business. The current project is still seen as a separate business unit with pilot status. Managers at the company are uncertain about possible future steps and lack of information about the strategic possibilities of mass customization. Even if management literature provides a wide range of studies and research papers on the topic of mass customization, recommendations for the right strategy are divers and very dependent on the prevailing conditions of the company.8

Hence, the research objective of this paper is to develop possible options for pursuing a mass customization strategy from the perspective of the Puma AG. Starting from the current situation of Puma’s initiative, this paper will show necessary steps for exploiting the full potential of mass customization. A strong practical focus should be guaranteed by giving proposals for the implementation of each strategic option and, furthermore, by using examples of other companies. After reading this paper, managers at Puma should be aware of the range of possibilities for proceeding the current customization project and evaluate the benefits and challenges, as well as the competitive advantage of each proposed strategic option.

To focus the discussion, this work concentrates on the level of strategic management; financial analysis and manufacturing processes will not be considered. Further, it will be restricted to the conditions on consumer markets, since Puma produces only consumer goods.

1.3 Outline of this paper

In order to provide the reader with an overview and understanding of the structure of this thesis, an outline of the research approach is summarized in the following (see figure 1-1): illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1-1: Outline and structure of this paper

Following this introduction, the concept of mass customization will be presented in

chapter 2; this includes a definition of the term, its benefits from both customers and companies’ perspective, and an overview on existing research literature on classifications for mass customization strategies.

Thereafter, the case study of Puma will be introduced inchapter 3. An overview on recent industry developments will be given, followed by a description of the company and its mass customization initiative. The chapter closes with an evaluation of the current project status.

These both chapters (chapter 2 and 3) aim to provide readers with a general understanding of the topic and, thereby, lay the foundations for the following chapters.

Inchapter 4the framework for developing distinctive mass customization strategies will be described. The concept of ‘absorptive capacity’ will be introduced, and – by connecting its structure with the idea of mass customization - four strategic options for pursuing mass customization will be derived. Finally, the benefits of this theoretical approach will be summarized.

Chapter 5takes up the four proposed strategic options and discusses their practical implementation at the Puma AG. Potential benefits and challenges of each strategy are shown.

Chapter 6summarizes the key findings of the previous chapters and provides an overview of the developed strategic options. Based on this, a concise recommendation on how to proceed the project will be given.

2 Mass customization

This chapter will present a brief overview on mass customization and provide the reader with elementary knowledge on the topic.9 First, the term ‘mass customization’ will be defined and its idea will be explained concisely. Thereon, the reasons and benefits of the concept will be described both from a customer's perspective and from a company’s standpoint. Finally, this chapter includes a short overview on existing frameworks for the different strategies of mass customization.

2.1 Definition and concept

The expression ‘mass customization’ is an oxymoron, combining the apparently paradox manufacturing concepts ‘mass production’ and ‘customization’. Consequently, the idea of mass customization is to combine the advantages of both mass production and customization, meaning that companies are able to consider cost efficiency as well as a close reaction to consumer needs.

The idea already came up in 1971, when Toffler forecasted the change from mass markets to a constantly growing differentiation of customer demands.10 This theory was later described by Davis, who created the term ‘mass customization’ and characterized for it “[…] that the same large number of customers can be reached as in mass markets of the industrial economy, and simultaneously they can be treated individually […]”11. Pine enhanced this theory and defined mass customization as “providing tremendous variety and individual customization, at prices comparable to standard goods and services” to enable the production of products and service “with enough variety and customization that nearly everyone finds exactly what they want.”12

One very common definition of the concept, that also addresses the efficiency aspect of mass customization, comes from Tseng and Jiao: The objective of mass customization is “to deliver goods and services that meet individual customers’ needs with near mass production efficiency”13.

For comprehending consumers’ individual needs, mass customization demands companies to interact with its clients:14 “[...] company-consumer interaction occurs at all stages in the value-creating process [...]”.15 According to Piller, a competitive advantage can be achieved by companies that address customer interaction on the following three levels (see figure 2-1):16

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2-1: Three options for a competitive advantage throughMC17

- Thedifferentiation optiondescribes the production of goods for a mass market, which meet every individual customer’s needs “with regard to certain product characteristics”.18 The fulfillment of customers’ needs can be improved by producing different goods for the different preferences of relevant consumer segments and thus better matching individual tastes.19

- According to thecost option, the customization of products should be done at total costs which are comparable to (and usually only slightly above) those of mass produced goods.20 This means that mass customization strategies demand a similar efficiency as mass production does. By offering customized products at nearly mass production prices, consumers will preferably decide for the good that better fits their needs.
- The third level companies have to address is the relationship to their clients (relationship option). In the process of mass customization, customer specific data is collected and can be used to establish better services. Thus, this information can strengthen the relationship between the company and its clients and may represent a significant measure for customer loyalty.21

These three options can be determined as measures for a competitive advantage through mass customization. Hence, this thesis will take up this construct in the following chapters when developing competitive strategies.22

2.2 Do customers want individual products?

There are several studies available investigating customer requirements in consumer markets.23 These studies seem to confirm the general need for customized goods: Results show that there is a market potential for mass customized products of up to 30% of the total market size.24 However, interpretation of market research on the demand for individualized products might be sometimes misleading. Since the idea of mass customization is relatively new and most companies applied this concept just recently, most customers have not made own experiences yet.

A number of companies had to close their mass customization business due to low demand, despite receiving very successful results from prior market research.25 On the other hand there are numerous positive examples, where companies experienced quite more customer demand than expected.26 These differences between estimated and existent demand are caused by the lack of experience with mass customization. What sounds good in theory – i.e. creating a product customized to personal needs, at low costs – might be a complicated, expensive or just unsatisfying process in reality.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2-2: Determinants of demand for individual products

However, despite the lack of empirical evidence, there can be determined two ongoing cultural and social developments, which may increase the demand for customized products (see figure 2-2):

1) Hedonistic shopping behaviors: Customers’ expectations have shifted from a broad base of uniformity and sameness to a network of niche and heterogeneous market requirements.27 In the fully developed western societies, as well as in emerging markets like Russia or China, the desire for customized products and services is growing along with increasing wealth.28 Especially high income consumers become more demanding and try to express their personality through customized products. As Fournier states, “mass production has lost its appeal because more and more people now have the same or similar possessions”.29 This new type of consumer group is characterized by individualized and hedonistic shopping and living habits.30

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2-3: Increasing variety of consumer goods31

2) Increasing product variety:Kotler described the evolution from mass markets to niche markets and an increasing heterogeneity of demand.32 Standardized products are produced on-stock, meeting only the mean preferences of an average customer in a market segment. This, however, implies the dissatisfaction of a major group of customers which demands are not met by standard offerings.33 “The reason for this dissatisfaction can be seen in the missing capability of mass or variant manufacturing to respond to individual needs regarding the desired ideal product of individual customers.”34

To date, companies try to fulfill the increasing heterogeneity of demand by offering a higher variation of goods, which, however, leads to significant shorter product lifecycles and a critical time to market35 for new products. As figure 2-3 shows, this development can be seen particularly in the sports shoe industry: Since the 1970s, the product variety has been growing by about 16% each year.

2.3 Economies of mass customization

It seems obvious, that mass customization strategies generate higher costs and require additional expenditures compared to mass production. On the other hand, mass customization also includes cost savings potentials. In the following, the additional cost drivers and the measures for cost savings will be counterbalanced (see figure 2-4).

Research studies have documented, that companies pursuing a mass customization strategy tend to experience higher manufacturing costs and longer delivery times.36 In general, this is caused by a lower standardization of products compared to those of mass manufacturing resulting in the loss of economies of scale37. However, additional cost drivers can be defined:

Initial capital investments in advanced flexible production units and appropriate information systems are necessary to fulfill the prerequisites for offering customized products:38 “This includes not only investments in configuration systems and other information-handling equipment, but a firm has also to establish mechanisms to minimize the burdens of customization from the customers’ point of view.”39 Consequently, the organization has to face higher costs occurring in sales and the interaction with customers, like additional investments in customer services and staff education, as well as marketing campaigns.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2-4: Economies of mass customization40

In mass customization, parts of these additional costs can be compensated by the charge of price premiums. Empirical research has shown that customers are often willing to pay a significant premium for a product that fits better to their needs than the second best solution available.41 However, one principle of mass customization is to offer goods at prices, which are comparable to those of mass produced goods. Hence, price premiums cannot compensate the arising costs completely. Instead, there can be determined two drivers for cost saving potentials through mass customization:

1) Economies of integrationdescribe cost saving potentials that arise from the interaction between the company and its customers.

First, they are a result of the build-to-order process of mass customization. By producing on demand, some activities of the company’s value chain can be postponed until a product order is actually placed.42 This guarantees more efficient planning processes, including “reductions in inventory, decreasing planning complexity and fashion risk, better capacity utilization and stability, and the avoidance of lost sales in retail due to out-of-stock items and the prevention of discounts at the end of a season.”43

In this manner, a firm wins certainty and prevents costs of misplacement of activities due to inexact planning information.44

Second, economies of integration are based on the knowledge transmission through mass customization. By interacting with its customers, a firm gets access to information about the needs and preferences of the customer base.45 In mass production companies, this information is only accessible through cost-intensive and indirect measures (e.g. trend scouts). It may be used for a better market understanding and more efficient product development and improvement processes: “Economies of integration are demonstrated by the saving potentials in obtaining this information by other means of market research, and also the savings by providing better fitting products and minimizing the risk of flops of new products.”46

2) Economies of relationshiprefer to the cost savings that arise from the increasing loyalty of clients.47 This potential is closely connected to the ‘relationship option’ of mass customization, allowing the company to establish sustainable customer relationships.48 The customer data that is collected during the interaction process may be used to prevent clients form switching suppliers, by allowing more comfortable reorders. By using the information on its existing consumer base for establishing better services and creating incentives for consecutive orders, a firm may build stable relationships with its clients and gain higher customer loyalty. In this manner, expenditures for marketing activities and new customer attraction can be lowered, „resulting from a better ‘utilization’ of the customer base.“49

2.4 Classification of mass customization strategies

As the awareness and popularity of mass customization continued to grow, researchers have been investigating that there is not one mass customization concept that fits to all companies, but many different forms and structures.50 Since then, there have been developed several approaches how to explore and classify the different strategies of mass customization. A selection of these various schemes is summarized in figure 2-5.

The classification models mainly differ by the types of applied attributes. For example, one group of researchers believes the degree of customization and product modularity to be the defining factor.51 These studies tend to focus mainly on the product itself and on manufacturing processes.52

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2-5: Selected mass customization classifications in literature

Others argue that the stage and amount of customer involvement to a company’s value chain is the varying feature of mass customization.53 For example, Lampel and Mintzberg propose five different steps for distinguishing the level of customer integration in the customization process.54

A third approach to classify mass customization strategies is presented in a research paper of Spring and Dalrymple.55 In difference to other models that primarily aim to identify types of profitable business, this typology focus on the different strategic reasons a company has for pursuing mass customization. These types of customization do not necessarily have to represent profitable business strategies, but can also serve as supporting elements for other strategic goals than the operation of a mass manufacturing business.56

By comparing these three different approaches it becomes evident that, depending on the underlying classification model and its selection of attributes, the derivation of a recommendation for practice will often be difficult.57 Attributes like the product variety, the type of product modularity, the product complexity or the degree of customer integration will vary for companies in different industries and thus, lead to different strategy proposes.58 Given the fact that “each model in the literature reflects a particular definition of mass customization and therefore a specific perspective”59, a universal practical recommendation for mass customization is not provided by the existing literature. As a result, this paper follows a strong practical focus and will considering only these strategies, which are relevant from Puma’s perspective in the current situation.

3 The case of Puma AG

This paper aims to derive mass customization strategies by applying a theoretical model in a practical environment. The example of the global sports shoes industry seems to be a suitable selection, since it has created several examples of mass customization projects recently. Within this market, especially the Puma AG will be focused on in this work. While recently developing into one of the most important global brands in the industry, the company has been very successful in following different ways than its competitors. In this chapter, a more general view on recent industry developments will be provided, followed by a detailed introduction of Puma and its mass customization project. The chapter concludes with an evaluation of the current situation of the project.

3.1 Industry development

The global sportswear industry is characterized by a strong competition and recent fusions between the five major brands Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma and Asics. The U.S. concern Nike represents the global market leader with a share of 33.3% in 2004. Nike is particularly dominating the important American market, which accounts for more than half the sales of athletic footwear in the world. The German-based company Adidas has recently acquired the former number three in the industry, Reebok, to create a formidable competitor (combined 25%) to Nike. Puma, also from Germany, could win significant market shares from its competitors in recent years and has established as number three in the global athletic-shoe business (6.9%).60

Within the last decades, the entire industry is moving to three considerable changes of its business (see figure 3-1):

First, the competitive pressure has been significantly increasing, primarily as a result of price wars and the entries of new competitors. As a result, companies rely on outsourcing most of their manufacturing processes to external suppliers. Today, the five major brands “no longer do their own manufacturing, but rely on outsourcing, often to the same suppliers.”61 Instead they focus on competencies like the identification of market trends, and the innovation and design of new products. As a matter of fact, thorough market research activities, good supply chain management, and an effective innovation management can be seen as the new means for competitive advantages within the sports shoe industry.62

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3-1: Three factors of a shifting sportswear industry

Second, traditional market segments have begun to blur, including particularly the merger of sportswear and fashion. Athletic shoes, which used to be shoes just for sportsmen, advanced to stylish footwear for every occasion.63 Especially innovative and ‘heritage-driven’ companies like Puma have been very successful over the last years by serving this new market segment called ‘sport-lifestyle’. Following the success of such traditional sports brands, however, also more and more fashion brands introduced their own sportswear collection and thus, further increased competition in the market.

As a third issue, all major brands face the challenge of a rapidly growing product variety and assortment complexity.64 The increasing heterogeneity of demand results in different customer types which significantly differ in shopping preferences.65 In order to fulfill all these different consumer needs, companies tend to offer a higher variety of their assortments.66 For example, Puma plans to offer to double their collections cycle, i.e. instead of two collections (in summer and winter) they will launch four collections (for each season) in the near future. However, while life cycles of products become shorter, the internal planning processes faced by companies and their suppliers increase in complexity.67

To handle variety while avoiding complexity and forecasting problems, and simultaneously improve the fulfillment of customers’ needs, almost all major firms have recognized the concept of mass customization as a solution (see figure 3-2):

The pioneer in this market has been Nike, introducing its ‘Nike iD’-called program (‘Nike individual Design’) in 1998. At the project’s website, consumers can choose between different standard models and design their shoes using different colors for upper materials and sole. Also, clients can personalize their creation by printing their name or other letters on the shoe.

Adidas followed with the ‘mi adidas’ initiative (‘my individual adidas’) in 2000 and offered not only an individual design, but also a personal fit.68 In selected retail stores, customers can scan their feet and let adjust their shoes individually in terms of fit and function. Adidas’ approach of offering an additional dimension of customization - the personal fit of shoes - can be seen as a unique approach to mass customization. Since this feature requires a relatively complex measurement method, Adidas’ project is only available in selected stores and, thus, accessible to a limited group of customers. To reach a larger consumer base, most competitors in the industry restricted their customization possibilities to the attributes aesthetic design and product style, which are adjustable via the internet.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure3-2: Mass customization projectsin the sports shoe industry69


1 Booth 1996, p. 105-107.

2 Piller 2002, p. 119.

3 Tseng and Jiao 2001, p. 705.

4 Piller 2005a, p. 314.

5 Bain & Company 2005.

6 Tseng and Piller 2003, p. 519; Spring and Dalrymple 2000, p. 441.

7 Piller 2005a, p. 326.

8 See chapter 2.4 for an overview on classifications of mass customization strategies in literature.

9 For further reading and more detailed information on the subject of mass customization, the author recommends the books by Pine (1993) or Piller (2006).

10 Toffler 1971, p. 19-35.

11 Davis 1987, p. 169.

12 Pine 1993, p. 7.

13 Tseng and Jiao 2001, p. 705.

14 Moser 2006, p. 129.

15 Wikström 1996, p. 371.

16 Piller 2002, p. 121.

17 Based on Piller 2002, p. 121.

18 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 15.

19 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 15.

20 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 15.

21 Piller 2002, p. 121.

22 See chapter 4 and 5.

23 For a detailed overview on studies in the field of customer demand for mass customized products see Piller and Müller 2004, p. 585.

24 Piller and Stotko 2003, p. 35-36.

25 Companies that already closed their customization offering are e.g. Levi Strauss (see appendix 2) or Procter & Gamble (see appendix 3).

26 Very successful examples of mass customization in major companies include e.g. the initiatives of Adidas (see appendix 4), Dell (see appendix 5), Nike (http://www.nikeid.com) and Land’s End (http://www.landsend.com).

27 Cox and Alm 1999, p. 4ff.

28 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 25.

29 Fournier 1994, p. 66.

30 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 25.

31 Based on Cox and Alm 1998, p. 4.

32 Kotler 1989, p. 47.

33 Euroshoe Consortium 2002, p. 25.

34 Piller and Müller 2004, p. 586.

35 The ‘time to market’ of a product describes the length of time it takes from the initial idea to the final product that is available for sale.

36 See e.g. Alström and Westbrook 1999, p. 262ff.

37 Economies of scale refer to the decreased cost per standardized unit when the output increases. Since fix costs are diffused over an increasing number of products, marginal costs of each unit will decrease. In mass customization, products are usually manufactured on demand and, thus, economies of scales are limited to single product modules.

38 Piller and Stotko 2003, p. 193.

39 Piller, Möslein and Stotko 2004, p. 438.

40 Based on Reichwald and Piller 2006, p. 215.

41 Bendapudi and Leone 2003, p. 14ff.; Piller and Müller 2004, p. 590-591.

42 Piller, Möslein and Stotko 2004, p. 440.

43 Piller and Schaller 2002, p. 29.

44 Piller, Möslein and Stotko 2004, p. 440.

45 Customer knowledge in this context is often described as ‘sticky information’. This designation was coined by von Hippel (1994) to describe information on customers, which is difficult to transfer with traditional methods of market research. Due to the practicability of this paper the expression ‘customer knowledge’ will be preferred in the following chapters.

46 Piller and Schaller 2002, p. 30.

47 Piller, Möslein and Stotko 2004, p. 441.

48 See chapter 2.1 for an introduction of the ‚relationship option’ of mass customization.

49 Piller, Möslein and Stotko 2004, p. 441.

50 Kumar 2005, p. 308f.

51 See e.g. Van den Bosch et al. 2003; Bertrand et al. 1990; Handfield 1993; Schroeder 1993; New and Szwejczewski 1994.

52 Moser 2006, p. 43.

53 See e.g. Gilmore and Pine 1997; Amaro et al. 1999; Da Silveira et al. 2001; Piller et al. 2004.

54 Lampel and Mintzberg 1996

55 Spring and Dalrymple 2000

56 Spring and Dalrymple 2000, p. 463

57 Duray et al. 2000, p. 606.

58 McCarthy 2004, p. 349.

59 Blecker et al. 2005, p. 43.

60 Moser, Piller and Müller 2006, p. 464.

61 Piller and Schaller 2002, p. 3.

62 Berger and Piller 2003, p. 42.

63 Moser, Piller and Müller 2006, p. 465.

64 Moser, Piller and Müller 2006, p. 465.

65 See chapter 2.2.

66 MacCarthy 2003, p. 29.

67 North 1999, p. 15.

68 Seifert 2002, p. 1ff.

69 Based on Piller 2005b.


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Mass Absorptive Capacity




Title: Mass customization. Development of competitive strategies by applying the concept of Absorptive Capacity