Product: Made-to-Order Fresh Concrete
Brand: Fresh Concrete
Concrete is a tricky business. Traditionally, it has been delivered in the iconic cement trucks that turn constantly to keep it from drying out. It is very perishable and can only travel a small distance. If you don’t order enough then you can be in big trouble as it may take hours or even days before you can get more delivered. Order too much and you have to pay expensive disposition fees to dispose of the excess. Enter Fresh Concrete. The Fresh Concrete system is a specially designed truck that has four different compartments for: cement, gravel, sand and water. All of the components needed to make concrete. Once at the jobsite the concrete is mixed to order allowing you to pay for just what you need.
I recently found this company when pouring a new driveway at my house. The whole solution was efficient and a step change in improvement from my prior experiences. I couldn’t help but think of how this idea could be applied to consumer products in new ways. Sure build-to-order or postoponement solutions are not new in consumer packaged goods, but the idea that you can build-to-order at the very last point of consumption is not one that I have seen executed well. I am thinking beyond customization at the point of sale. I am thinking more of customization at the point of consumption in the consumer’s home. Imagine ice cream where the flavor was mixed at the point of consumption in the consumers freezer? Vanilla for Mary, Chocolate for Sue and Vanilla Mint Chip for Mom. Seems like Build-To-Order could be taken a few steps down stream allowing the consumer to customize to their whim.
Innovation Pattern: Extend Customization to the Point of Consumption
Sparks: (Ideas for how to reapply this pattern in another product category)
- How could your consumer customize at home?
- How far down the chain could customization happen?
- If your product is perishable, would a delay in blending of ingredients extend its shelf life?
- If consumers did final customization would they purchase the same products they do now?
- What benefits could be had by allowing consumers to make your product?