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By : Cecília Gravina da Rocha and Carlos Torres Formoso

Mass customisation involves the provision of product variants that fulfil clients’ specific requirements seeking to increase product values. The configuration process involves a chain of decisions, which needs to be undertaken to create product variants that meet each client specific requirements. In this paper, this chain of decisions is conceptualized in terms of customisation units. Each customisation unit encompasses a customisable attribute (e.g. size, colour) and the range of items offered for this attribute. A design science approach was adopted in this investigation. In this approach, knowledge is produced by creating and testing a solution, which provides practical and theoretical contributions. A method is proposed to analyse and improve the configuration process by conceptualizing this process as a tree diagram. The proposed method is used to analyse the configuration process developed by organisations of the house-building sector based in the U.K. and Brazil: a manufacturer of floor tiles, contractors, and registered providers. These analyses enabled a comparison of the distinct configuration processes adopted. In addition, problems associated to the configuration process (such as burden of choice) and opportunities for improvements were also identified. Finally, alternative chains of decision were also devised based on these analyses to address the problems identified.
Keywords: Mass Customisation, Housing, Co-Design, and Configuration Process.

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