What is late-stage product customizations and how can it help in manufacturing?

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Understanding late-stage product modifications

Late-stage product customizations are customizations that happen relatively late in the manufacturing process. A basic unit, shared across product lines may be produced and then relatively close to the final stages in the productions processes, this base unit is adapted to the specific product line. Essentially the underlying fundamentals of the products or components are the same – allowing one base item to be manufactured, only adapted as the product is near the end of the production process. 

Using late-stage customizations to help with mass-customization

One of the key reasons for late-stage customizations is that it can allow mass customization. An underlying base product can be made (potentially in bulk), and then final adaptations are made at a relatively late stage. This may include offering different colors, finishing, or personalization as part of the final stages of production. 

The danger of late-stage customizations

A danger to be aware of with late-stage customizations is building excess inventory at the earlier stage. It is easy to get carried away with manufacturing an initial base unit in bulk – assuming that it can be used across a large number of permutations, only to discover that there is some underlying issue with this base unit. While there may be benefits to producing a base unit in batches, don’t get carried away with the production volumes of this base unit. 

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