غلبه بر فشار سفارشی سازی ـ پاسخگویی با استفاده از پیکربندی محصول: فراتر از شواهد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11837||2011||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Computers in Industry, Volume 62, Issue 3, April 2011, Pages 260–268
Anecdotal evidence suggests that product configurators may be crucial in improving time performance when offering customized products so as to overcome what has been termed the customization-responsiveness squeeze. Large-scale hypothesis-testing studies that either corroborate this finding or discover unpredicted boundaries of validity are still lacking, however. Our paper contributes to fill this gap by testing the positive impact of product configurator use on time performance on a sample of 238 manufacturing plants from three industries and eight countries. The results support the hypothesized impact after the effects of widely acknowledged antecedents of accelerated time performance have been removed. Implications of our findings for both research and practice are finally discussed.
Because of intensifying competition and increasingly sophisticated customers, more and more companies nowadays are being squeezed between the need to offer more customized products and the need to develop, produce and deliver such products with greater rapidity ,  and . Several approaches have been proposed to increase compatibility between customization and responsiveness, including cellular manufacturing, set-up time reduction and product modularity, among others . Anecdotal evidence formed through the examination of a few case studies points to the importance of using a product configurator in order to address the customization-responsiveness squeeze (e.g., , , , ,  and ). Product configurators are a class of applications designed to help companies carry out the product configuration process  and , where the latter is defined as the set of activities aimed at translating each customer's idiosyncratc needs into correct and complete product information supporting order acquisition and fulfilment, such as the description of the product variant that better fits the customer's needs, its price, its bill of materials, its production sequence, etc.  and . However, no large-scale empirical test of the suggested positive effect of product configurator use on time performance has been done as yet. Prior research on product configurators has focused on technical or application development issues, such as the logic structures that improve the modeling of product configuration knowledge (e.g., , , ,  and ) or the algorithms that make product configurators faster and more accurate (e.g., , , ,  and ). Fewer studies have treated the impact of product configurator use on company performance ,  and  and most of them are single-case studies whose findings may be legitimately questioned in terms of generalizability  and . The present paper contributes to fill this gap by testing the positive impact of product configurator use on time performance on a sample of 238 mid- to large-sized manufacturing plants from three industries and eight countries representing North America, Asia and Europe. The analysis results support the hypothesized impact after the effects of time-based manufacturing practices, interfunctional integration and delivery priority on time performance have been removed. These results corroborate prior research findings on the time performance benefits of using a product configurator by providing empirical evidence with a higher degree of generalizability. These results also add to the wider debate surrounding information technology support to mass customization, where the latter is defined as the ability to fulfil each customer's idiosyncratic needs without substantial trade-offs in cost, time and quality performance ,  and . The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, we review the relevant literature and develop our research hypothesis. In Section 3, we describe our data and the operational measures used to develop the research constructs. Section 4 presents the results of the empirical analysis, while Section 5 concludes by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of this study as well as its limitations and the associated directions for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
While the relevant literature implies a positive impact of product configurator use on time performance, the discussion is generally scattered and disorganized. A first contribution of this paper is the clarification of three fundamental mechanisms through which the use of a product configurator may improve time performance: namely, less reliance on ad hoc solutions to fulfil idiosyncratic customer needs, reduction of product configuration errors, and less workload for designers and process engineers during the configuration process. A second contribution of this study relates to the fact that prior research findings on the impact of product configurator use on time performance mostly rely on exploratory case studies designed to investigate a hitherto unstudied area. As the research matures, however, there is the opportunity for designing explanatory surveys that verify theoretical relationships in larger populations  and  and, to the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to empirically test the positive impact of product configurator use on time performance. By finding empirical support for the hypothesized relationship after accounting for the effects of recognized antecedents of superior time performance, this study also adds to the wider debate on mass customization. Mass customization denotes the ability to fulfil each customer's idiosyncratic needs without substantial trade-offs in cost, time and quality performance ,  and . Time performance has been empirically found as being negatively affected by product customization (e.g., ,  and ). Our large-scale empirical study corroborates prior research contention, mostly based on anecdotal evidence, that product configurator use may improve compatibility between product customization and time performance. Moreover, by clarifying the mechanisms underlying the positive impact of product configurator use on time performance, our paper contributes to a deeper understanding of how information technology may support mass customization (e.g., , ,  and ). Future research could extend this study in at least three directions. Our paper focuses on the impact of product configurator use on the time performance of the operational value chain. Prior research, however, suggests that product configurators may enhance time performance in the sales area too (e.g.,  and ), though no large-scale test of this contention has been done as yet. Future studies could therefore be designed to empirically test the time compression benefits of product configurator use in the sales area as well. In addition, research on product configurator support to time-based competition could be extended from manufacturing industries to service industries, where product configurators are increasingly being deployed. Finally, another opportunity for future research would be to investigate internal or external contingencies that may moderate the positive effect of product configurator use on time performance. Pragmatically, we expect that the results of our large-scale empirical study will make companies more trustful of product configurator support to overcoming the customization-responsiveness squeeze.