Mass-customization of products through web-based feature modeling systems

Norman Gwangwava, Anenyasha A. Gumbie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Innovation in e-systems has led to significant evolution in modern business and commerce. The technologies have been embraced in both 340the information and communication sectors as well as the manufacturing industry. Today’s manufacturers are pressed for short time-to-market and short product life cycles. Another significant trend that has emanated from today’s well-educated consumers is mass-customization. Consumers now demand personalized products, within short timeframes. Traditionally, consumers would buy mass-produced products off the shelf, which left them with little influence to modify product designs to suit their unique needs. Modern e-systems have come to the rescue of the consumers, who are ever becoming savvy technocrats. Thanks to the rapid evolution and ever decreasing prices for computer systems. Recently there has been more research focus on web-based systems that are earmarked at making mass- customization a possibility. Greater parts of the developed world and other major manufacturing economies such as China have made great strides in achieving mass-customization and short time-to-market, whilst close to zero achievement can be noticed in most developing parts of the world. Mass-customization requires a strong backbone of broadband and cloud based network systems, coupled with feature modeling systems. Today’s ever growing mobile applications industry enable the design of powerful mobile applications which can allow end user customers to interact with digital product models in order to personalize the designs before onward transmission to the manufacturer. This ability basically brings what is called ‘democratization’ of manufacturing. This chapter focuses on trends and practical research applications of mass-customization web-based product feature modeling systems. Typical research efforts will be demonstrated in the fields of additive manufacturing and toy manufacturing industries. Traditional mass-customization systems used to be web applications that were designed for use on the desktop computers. However, because of the growing number of mobile gadgets with Internet access (smart phones), mobile applications are now being designed with ability to communicate directly with manufacturing machines or at least the manufacturer’s proprietary network. Whilst product design and modeling systems housed within the manufacturer’s premises normally require high expertise of CAD skills, end user applications for mass-customization are designed for novices. These offer adjustments on less complicated product features and or attributes, such as color and size. The business potential of mass-customization systems is very 341huge since the outreach capacity is as big as the cloud-based network. Distribution systems are also becoming very efficient which enables remote companies to ship their mass-customized products anywhere in the world at low costs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovations in E-Systems for Business and Commerce
PublisherApple Academic Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781771885652
ISBN (Print)9781771885645
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • General Computer Science


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