We often see examples of how the internet and advances in marketing technology enable mass personalization of marketing messages. 3D printing is a disruptive technology which promises to bring the same capability to product design. Gillette announced a pilot program wherein they will allow customers to create a customized razor handle which will be 3D printed in Gillette’s Boston headquarters. Customers can expect a two to three week turnaround time to receive their custom razor. Customers can choose from 48 designs and 7 color options when designing their razor. You can read more about it in this Business Wire article. The article has a quote from Formlabs (the company providing the 3D printing technology) talking about the potential for mass customization with 3D printers.
Talk with your students about the pros and cons of this approach. What challenges does mass customization represent? Will this be successful for Gillette? Is it possible that this technology might one day put Amazon out of business? If people can print items in their homes, do they still need retail?