January 31, 2010

Case #1: Mass Customization

Whether or not you’ve noticed, mass customization has been blooming all around us in the past few years.  We’ve gone from standard ‘what you see is what you get’ to partially expecting customized products offered to any specific consumer.

Interchangeable parts, specialized machinery, division of labor, skills of workers and continuous technological improvement characterize mass production.  These characteristics allowed for low costs, low prices and some sort of flow in the system.  Mass customization is about an increase in variety without driving up costs.  In the past couple of years there has been a shift from mass production to mass customization of products.

While you may not think about it most products we buy are some variation of mass customization, however they may not be as dramatic as an individual pair of shoes like Nike and Puma offer.  Take a trip to Target as an example; the main things on your list are shampoo and conditioner.  As far as shampoo and conditioners are concerned you must decide on what type of brand you prefer, Dove, Herbal Essences, Vive, Suave, L’Oreal, Bed Head (among countless others) and then comes the hard part; you then have choices for oily hair, fine hair, long hair, curly hair, thick hair, thin hair etc.  When compared to decades ago, there were few product choices for each item.

Before, consumers were ok with buying things that millions of other people had, nowadays people don’t think twice about making the product all about themselves as consumers.  Probably the most memorable and well-known success of mass customization example that came to mind was the Dell laptop where computers were ‘built to order’.   Dell picked up on how e-commerce could allow an individual customer to tailor a product to his or her own specifications and then order it.  Customers could pick their computer’s memory, color, style, storage, processor and other equipment when purchasing on Dell’s website.

Nike and Puma are both using a relatively similar strategy to sell custom shoes on their respective websites.  Neither fit my ideal workout shoe but both brands happen to be my favorite ‘wear around shoes’ so creating a shoe that fit my personal taste was exciting.

First and foremost, I was confused why Puma chose to have their website as ‘Puma Mongolian Shoe BBQ’ both because it’s hard to remember and the fact that without researching further, one would have no idea why it was called that.  After reading the explanation about the BBQ title it does make sense, I just can't see many users going through all of the trouble to figure out why it's called Mongolian Shoe BBQ.  It seems to make for a great and truly unique experience but may lack on the full understanding and recognition by the consumer.  This misunderstanding only took away from my overall experience.

Creating a NikeiD shoe was very simple, well explained and had an easy to follow sequence to it.  This website brought me to a home page where you could either select a range of colors that you want your shoe to have, or a particular style you wish to follow.  Creating a Puma BBQ shoe was a similar experience, however the main difference was that this site doesn’t only allow you to select different colors but they allow you to choose different patterns and textures depending on the colors you chose.

Both shoes were tailor made for my individual tastes.  While Nike let me choose from a rainbow of colors, a few different materials, new and old styles, and my preferred cushioning, Puma had a hard time beating my Nike experience.  I felt that with Puma I was limited to a dark/pink/purple pallet and that both annoyed and frustrated me. 

One major aspect that I preferred about NikeiD was how they explained the shoe itself.  They used parts like lining, swoosh, lace, midsole heel, overlay, base, underlay.  If you couldn’t understand that, as an added bonus, the section of the shoe was highlighted if you scrolled over the word, making it impossible not to know what part of the shoe you were about to work on. 

While I see major advantages and disadvantages to both sites I think that the main factor for success would be brand recognition.  I fear that Puma’s leap of creativity and ‘ingredient experience’ may hinder their overall success.  When I was on the NikeiD site, I knew it every step of the way.  With Mongolian shoe BBQ it didn’t have any apparent Puma recognition, which I see as a major red flag.  Overall, I think NikeiD has the most brand recognition and best ingredients for success when compared to Mongolian Shoe BBQ. 

January 30, 2010

Taughannock Falls & Americana Vineyards and Winery

Today Swink and I decided to head up Route 89 (the west side of Cayuga Lake) about 20 minutes outside of Ithaca to Taughannock Falls State Park.  I pass this park every time I drive to and from Ithaca to Buffalo and have never taken the time to stop and explore.  The trail that we did was about 3/4 mile long and took us up the left side of the water.  It makes me so angry that I have been here for 3 years and this is the first semester I have really explored Ithaca.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to go somewhere once a week, once every other week if things start to get really busy... but it's a great time to just be by myself or with a close friend and get out in the fresh air.  I really enjoy it.

After freezing our butts off hiking (it was 3 degrees today in ithaca) we headed north up Route 89 to a local winery... Americana Vineyards and Winery to be exact.  There are a ton of wineries on 89 and now that I am finally legal we decided that it would be a great chance to go.  Little did we know that taste testing was borderline free, 8 samples for $2.   We tried finger lake chablis, chardonnay, revolutionary red, cayuga white, americana white, baco noir,  and finally our two favorites crystal lake and americana blush.  Swink bought crystal lake and I bought americana blush.  Americana Blush; a blush wine with the color and taste of peaches. Best to serve with fresh-fruit, shrimp or chicken salads... a perfect wine for me!  :-) For $10 a bought myself a bottle and called it a day!

That's all for now, I have some work to do and people to ichat with!

we followed the yellow line that follows the water on  the left hand side

these are the little falls that you can see from the road, 
i had no idea what was about to come.


with a little help from self timer continuous (10 frames) we both get to have allot of fun!

this was the wine tasting barn, it was nice inside.  Even better, a chocolate lab named Rubie!

Oddly enough we shared our favorites from wine tasting.  
I bought Americana Blush and Al bought Crystal Lake (their most popular wine)

counting down the days

3 days and 6 hours sit between me and LOST.  
I am already doing my Tuesday night homework in preparation for a night full of sawyer, jack, kate, hugo and the crew.  
Get ready!


January 29, 2010

6 mile creek

Swink, G and I decided to go for a hike on Sunday while the weather was nice (for January) and wanted to keep it short and within walking distance so we went to 6 mile creek trail (which is about a 5 min walk from my apartment) and just went wherever the path took us. We were gone for about 4 hours and I loved every minute of it! G fell about 6 times and almost died twice, no lie. She almost fell off the side of a cliff several times, to her defense it was quite icy...not the best decision on our part. Anywho, we had such a great time and I can't wait for the weather to allow us back out on the trails. No matter how many times I'm out there, the sights never get old. It's breathtaking.

blog virgin

So the real reason I've started a blog was because I needed to for a class assignment... however I was really excited when I found this out and look forward to posting quotes, links, assignments and other random stuff that I find on the internet. This is all for now, my homework awaits...