Title: Controlling variety-induced complexity in mass customisation: a key metrics-based approach

Authors: Thorsten Blecker, Nizar Abdelkafi, Bernd Kaluza, Gerhard Friedrich

Addresses: Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Department of Business Logistics and General Management (5–11), Schwarzenbergstr. 95, 21073 Hamburg, Germany. ' Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Department of Business Logistics and General Management (5–11), Schwarzenbergstr. 95, 21073 Hamburg, Germany. ' University of Klagenfurt, Department of Production/Operations Management, Business Logistics and Environmental Management, Universitaetsstr. 65–67, 9020 Klagenfurt, Austria. ' University of Klagenfurt, Department of Business Informatics and Application Systems/Computer Science and Manufacturing, Universitaetsstr. 65–67, 9020 Klagenfurt, Austria

Abstract: Due to the multitude of customer needs, mass customisation induces extensive product variety, which is associated with high complexity in operations and manufacturing-related tasks. Variety-induced complexity is one of the most important problems that can lead mass customisation to failure. Due to several drawbacks of existing methods in coping with complexity, we propose a key metrics-based approach. After determining the main subprocesses that are necessary to make mass customisation work efficiently, we assign to each subprocess the key metrics that can capture the variety-induced complexity. However, single key metrics have a limited informational value. Therefore, we integrate them into a comprehensive system that illustrates the correlations existing between the identified measures. The elaborated system enables one to detect the levers that should be considered in order to keep variety-induced complexity under control.

Keywords: product variety; variety management; complexity; modularity; commonality; key metrics; subprocess model; mass customisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMASSC.2006.008626

International Journal of Mass Customisation, 2006 Vol.1 No.2/3, pp.272 - 298

Available online: 12 Jan 2006 *

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