MASS CUSTOMIZATION & ENGINEERING CHANGE MANAGEMENT Building capabilities within Engineering Change Management to support the transition towards mass customization

Project Details


This thesis presents the results of a research project, which have addressed the de-sign and development of a method for strategic planning and follow-up in companies that pursue a more efficient product customisation.
From the increased competition in the market place, it is evident that globalisation has challenged manufacturers on the pace and efficiency of introducing new
products. At the same time, today’s manufactures are increasingly under pressure for delivering products and services that keep pace with the rapidly changing and
heterogeneous demand. To address this challenge, the thesis at hand contributes a method that supports manufacturing companies in building the capabilities at engi-neering change handling, which enables a more effective and efficient product cus-tomisation. The thesis bridges based on this theory on Engineering Change Manage-ment (ECM) and Mass Customization (MC).
The process of becoming more efficient in introducing customised products, i.e. transitioning towards MC, is investigated with point of departure in theory on Contin-uous Improvement. Based on this, the relation between the central elements of the learning process in continuous improvement efforts, such as behaviour, levers, capa-bilities, capability assessment, and performance measurement, are presented. From state-of-the-art research in MC, it is clarified that, although, research on MC has fo-cused a lot on defining the capabilities of the successful mass customizers, little effort is done to guide companies in the assessment and acquisition of the MC capabilities. Even less is done on the role of the ECM capabilities for the transition towards MC. The key success factors of ECM are therefore clarified through reviews of state-of-the-art research in ECM, and case studies in the industrial partner, from which an overview of the ECM capability areas is provided. Drawing on additional case studies and interviews, the overview is linked to the MC capabilities, and used to clarify and highlight the ECM capability areas that are especially important for the successful transition towards MC. With point of departure in the ECM capability areas, and by following a method for maturity model development, a maturity model for ECM is developed. The ECM maturity model offers maturity assessment within five overall process areas, and 26 sub-process areas concerning ECM, at a five-level maturity scale. Finally, an industrial validation of the ECM maturity model is conducted by domain experts from five larger Danish companies, engaged with customisation and ECM. The results indicate that the structure and the content of the ECM maturity model is useful and highly relevant, and that the ECM maturity model is considered applicable for companies of various sizes, types and industries. Furthermore, the results of the validation pinpoint areas for further refinement and development.
This thesis contributes, based on these results, an increased understanding of the process by which companies transition towards MC, and a method for supporting this transition. Companies who pursue a more efficient product customisation can benefit from the method in several ways concerning the planning and follow-up of strategic initiatives on customisation. Further development of the method is, however, needed to make the method fully applicable in practice, which is one of several opportunities for further research.
Effective start/end date01/09/201101/12/2015

Collaborative partners

  • Vestas Wind Systems AS


  • mass customization
  • engineering change management


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