Monday 14 October 2013

A market segment of one the market for consumer durables is adapting to real demand...

For the past 100 years, we have been taught to think that most things we use are best made in quantity on a production line.

Companies remained stuck in the 20th Century when life was moving on. Organisations of all kinds still saw their users through the lens of the mass market philosophy. They looked on their users as groups of people with similar desires. They missed the ability of emerging countries to do better.

In fact western companies simply cannot compete with the developing country producers who are using the mass production model faster and cheaper.

To compete on something other than price, companies based in the West will have to escape from their preoccupation with mass markets and fulfil the precisely-defined individual requirements of their individual customers with breathtaking speed and efficiency, in an environment termed the ‘heartbeat economy’ by Peter Day.

Joe Pine, an American management writer who has become the prophet of what is known as mass customisation, put it like this: "Customers don't want a choice. They want exactly what they want."

Thus the savvy consumer morphs into an ‘individual’ demanding a bespoke solution, and is already satisfying that appetite via the ‘tailor-makeable’ attributes of the smartphone…with 3D printing awaiting applications in other product areas.

Obviously, satisfying this ‘bespoke’ appetite has started and will develop with consumer durables, but once ‘the’ consumer experiences and develops a taste for individual treatment, do you really believe that FMCG can remain ‘as is’?

A fundamental challenge to all of our thinking…?

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