Of course, when you stop and think about the logistics of 'custom' it becomes apparent that achieving it is quite the goal.
In the past, kitchen cabinets came in two basic configurations, stock or (pseudo) custom.
Pseudo-custom simply meant that a manufacturer would analyze their product line and produce all the reusable components that could be used in any common product combination.
Of course there were limits to this strategy and it often resulted in large amounts of inventory being created and stored in large warehouses.
The resulting storage costs, let alone the investment locked up in inventory, was considerable.
And it was an imperfect solution at best.
Inventory would age, stock would be lost or damaged, and the actual picking and production did not lend itself well to economies of scale.
Add to this extra challenge of educating the dealers who would take the various product configurations to market and sell it to the end client, and the task was harder still.
It's funny how things work out.
Company 'A' decides to make the best kitchen cabinets but to do so, they need to focus their resources entirely on manufacturing and not divide their attentions with outside sales teams.
So Company 'A' commits to the tried and tested approach of the single Manufacturer to many Dealers model.
This approach is common and well understood, the problem as previously mentioned though, is that unless the dealers clearly understand Company 'A's entire product line, then the sales will not be as expected.
Of course there are many ways to help the dealers better understand the product lines, but lets remember that dealers are typically independent businesses in their own right and will wish to promote and sell product that is superior, has good profit potential and perhaps most importantly...
is easy to sell! The traditional approach to custom kitchens simply made it more challenging for the dealers to sell.
Then came a new approach - true customization.
No more complex part list combinations to remember, no more byzantine product numbers and codified pick lists.
Now a dealer could talk with a prospective client, securely login to the manufacturers design portal, design the cabinets on the fly using intelligent software that shows precisely what the end product will look like, and finally submit the approved order for production and shipping.
Gone are the days of paper designs and long-winded design cycles.
With the advent of faster computers, smarter systems and immediate access to the manufacturers internal design and order systems, dealers can expedite their sales cycle and increase their sales revenue easily.
Now if only all manufacturers made it so easy for the dealers to design and sell more custom kitchens...