Customization Redefines Customer Options

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Homebuyers do not want to buy a standard model and sacrifice all that they really want in a home.

April 03, 2000

Edward Caldeira, Director of Quality Services, NAHB Research Center

 

Homebuyers do not want to buy a standard model and sacrifice all that they really want in a home. Builders do not want to sacrifice production efficiencies by deviating from their standard models.

Up to now builders and buyers solved this dilemma through compromise and each got only some of what they wanted. The rise of mass custom builders is starting to change this scenario.

Mass custom builders defy the notion that the customer must make sacrifices in order to accommodate their builder’s production system. These companies re-engineer their production system instead, opting for flexible systems that remain streamlined while building one-of-a-kind home designs.

Design changes are handled as part of normal business without any special off-line processing. There is no need to compromise. Everyone wins.

The first obstacle mass custom builders attack is the features built into standard models that customers may or may not want to pay for in the base price. Highly efficient configuration management systems make it easy to add or delete features to improve homebuyer value.

Toll Brothers of Huntington Valley, Pa., assures customers that they will pay for only what they want by offering base models without built-in features. Customers select from among 270 custom options to design their dream house.

The second obstacle mass custom builders attack is the extra costs associated with customization. Mass custom builders develop flexible production processes that construct custom homes with production home efficiency.

Mass custom builders can participate freely in both the custom and production home marketplace with significant competitive advantages. Anticipate the coming of mass customization and prepare.

For more information on related topics, visit www.nahbrc.org/quality.

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