ASUL’s prototyping and testing revealed three major desires within the modern home market.
Customization: Clients want to customize their home based on their site, lifestyle, aesthetic, and budget. They do not want to select a pre-designed home where customization is greatly limited.
Affordability: Clients with reasonable budgets want to purchase a modern, custom home but the traditional process can be cost prohibitive.
Predictability: Clients don’t have unlimited resources and are concerned with cost-containment. Clients want their home to be built on-time, in budget, and perform as intended.
These goals define Mass Customization, a business model yielding increased customization without a proportional increase in cost.
A consumer’s desire to customize their product transcends the housing industry. Through technological advancements and creative approaches, companies are capable of providing consumer directed customization of their products while maintaining near mass production affordability and predictability of the process.
This is called Mass Customization.
Whether it be our phones, clothes, computers, music, or cars, we have the ability to customize many of the products we purchase. The most important product of all, our home, should be no different.
The critical determinant to the success of Mass Customization is when to allow the customization of products within the design/production process. An inverse relationship is created where increased/decreased customization results in decreased/increased affordability and predictability.
Each company must balance the amount of customization available to the consumer with the variation in process viable for the company. Not surprisingly, most companies value predictability over customization and thereby delay customization as far into the production process as possible.
By postponing customization, most consumers are only allowed to manipulate minor elements of their products, which are typically limited to the finishes. While this may be acceptable for products where size and dimensions are inconsequential or fixed, it is not for homes.
A custom home is defined by more than simply providing the client minor material options, like selecting a countertop.
A truly custom home enables the client to respond to their site and needs. Genuine adaptability requires customization of dimension and structure at the earliest stages of the design process, something contrary to the expected success of Mass Customization.
ASUL’s inventive design/construction process was specifically created to find an appropriate balance allowing customization and collaboration while maintaining affordability and predictability.