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The Customization-Responsiveness Squeeze

Firms in many industries are being squeezed by customer demands for both greater product variety and reduced delivery lead times. This is difficult for firms to achieve because quick delivery is usually based on standardization, whereas product variety requires the organization to be flexible and innovative. A common response to these demands is to start production of expensive, specialized products prior to receiving specific orders for them. Such a risky approach often can be avoided, the authors argue. They present a framework for determining the extent of your company's "customization-responsiveness squeeze" and choosing appropriate tactics to mitigate it.

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