An Ontology-Based Approach to Product Customization
Mass customization refers to the increase in variety and customization of the manufactured products and services. It is now economically feasible thanks to the availability of computer-aided manufacturing systems, which allow people to customize standard products, and to Internet, through which many online retailers now operate, thus eliminating the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution that, in past years, prevented the production of niche products because of their high production costs. To permit mass customization, several software-based product configurators are available on the Web: they guide people in adapting a product to their needs and desires. A drawback of such configurators is the limited range of changes permitted. We present in this paper a system that gives people more freedom in creating products that best fit their desires, thanks to the use of an ontology, which models the possible product compositions that users can perform. The proposed solution is shown through a case study, which refers to furniture production.
Keywordsproduct customization long tail end-user development ontology knowledge management
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