Metropolis has an OK article called The Factory of the Future about the movement to mass customization.
Mass production offered millions of one thing to everybody. Mass customization offers millions of different models to one guy. … The key innovation is to break the assembly line into “modules.” Each module is dedicated to producing some product feature. The finer the grain of these modules, the more variety you can stuff into the product. It’s not an assembly line, but an assembly swarm.
Nothing really new to it but it does make one question why creative services, of all things, ever were assembly line produced. And why are they still so much this way? Creative business is afterall essentially mass customization. The thrust to be operationally efficient has, in many ways, compromised the creativity of many industries – kinda defeating the purpose. Why aren’t non-manufacturing industries playing up on this more?