mass means of production able to meet the highly specific individual needs of customers (compare MASS PRODUCTION). Mass customization has become possible as the result of NEW TECHNOLOGY – see also FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION, JUST-IN-TIME MANAGEMENT. The ability to differentiate products and markets is widely seen as one defining feature of a POSTMODERN social formation. Developments in E-COMMERCE may ultimately lead to a digitalized production and distribution system which collapses the distinction between manufacturing and services. Mass customization is part of what is meant by POSTINDUSTRIAL SOCIETY and a culture of POSTMODERNITY.