As globalization continues, manufacturing enterprises need to do mass customization with a short lead-time, to satisfy evolving market demands in different regions. One challenge of mass customization is to fulfill orders swiftly at an acceptable cost, meanwhile maintaining the service quality. To do this, the customer order decoupling point – CODP, where the value-adding activities take place, should be designed and adapted to the changing market demands.
In this paper, we propose a Formulation-Exploration method to make decisions on CODP positioning and improve the supply chain to support mass customization. A test problem of auto parts manufacturing is used to establish the efficacy of our method. The Formulation-Exploration method can be used to design supply chains to manage mass customization of products, especially when information is incomplete and inaccurate, goals conflict and multiple types of uncertainty add complexity. In this paper, we focus on the method rather than the results per se.