Fundamental modes of operation for mass customization

Bart MacCarthy*, Philip G. Brabazon, Johanna Bramham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of Mass Customization (MC) - producing customized goods for a mass market - has received considerable attention in the research literature in recent years. However, the literature is limited in providing an understanding of the content of MC strategies (the organizational structures, process technologies, etc., that are best in a particular environment) and the process of MC strategies (the sub-strategy that an enterprise should select and how they should go about implementing an MC strategy). In this paper six published classification schemes of relevance to MC are reviewed. The classification schemes are applied to five case studies of enterprises operating in an MC environment. The limitations of the schemes are analysed and their failure to distinguish key characteristics is highlighted. Analysis of the findings leads to the development of a taxonomy of operational modes for MC. Five fundamental modes of operation for MC are identified. These modes are described and justified and their application is illustrated by contrasting the information requirements of two modes. The potential of these modes to provide the foundations for detailed configuration models is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2003


  • mass customization
  • taxonomy
  • UKRI
  • GR/N11742/01


Dive into the research topics of 'Fundamental modes of operation for mass customization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this