Operations Management in the News: Mass Customization vs. Simplicity (VIDEO)

In 1980, the typical credit card contract was about 400 words long. Today, many are 20,000 words.

In a typical day, we encounter dozens of moments when we are delayed, frustrated or confused by complexity, writes The Wall Street Journal (March 30-31, 2013). Our lives are filled with gadgets we can’t use (GPS devices, fancy blenders), instructions we can’t follow (labels on medicine bottles, directions for assembling toys) and forms we can’t decipher (tax returns, gym membership contracts, wireless phone bills).

Every facet of our lives, even entertainment and recreation, is complicated by an ever-widening array of choices delivered at a frantic pace. Consider:

  • More than 800,000 apps in the Apple App Store
  • 240-plus selections on the Cheesecake Factory menu, not including lunch or brunch specials
  • 135 mascaras, 437 lotions and 1,992 fragrances at Sephora.com
  • 45 Medicare Part D prescription plans to choose from

In a new book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, co-author Irene Etzkorn, executive director of Siegel+Gale’s Simplification practice, describes how organizations can successfully achieve simplicity.

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Source: Jay and Barry’s OM Blog