This model takes product variation to the extreme. It entails creating one-off products that are precisely adjusted to the needs or whims of individual buyers—adjustments that can be carried out by simply uploading each customer’s digital file into a 3-D printer. Thanks to the efficiency and precision of digital technology, these products cost less than conventionally manufactured items but fit individuals’ specifications more exactly.
Mass customization is suitable for any large market in which customers are dissatisfied with standardized, conventionally produced offerings and it’s easy to collect customer information. ...
This model can rapidly and significantly affect an entire industry. With hearing aids the shift happened in a year and a half, forcing some manufacturers into bankruptcy.
The main competitive challenge is to reduce the cost of acquiring individual customers’ information. Hearing-aid companies first needed a scanning device that audiologists could easily use. In this case, customers were willing to go to an audiologist to be measured. In contrast, buyers of custom orthotics and insoles didn’t want to visit an expensive podiatrist to be measured. That’s why SOLS Systems, which innovated in this area, couldn’t make it on its own; it was acquired in 2017 by another footwear company, Aetrex Worldwide. But the development of smartphone apps that allow people to measure their own feet is overcoming the information-collection obstacle. And HP Inc. has devised a 3-D scanning solution, FitStation, that can be placed in stores. The market is poised to take off."
Trecho retirado de "The 3-D Printing Playbook"