Thailand property development sector also faces the challenge of creating suitable homes that can meet the demands of particular groups of target customers, rather than for individual customers.Consequently, the phrase "mass customisation" has become increasingly popular today across different industries.
This process requires companies to manage budgets, deliver product functionality, and choose materials so their projects can compete against their rivals.
In a previous article, I discussed the need to observe and study consumers. This month, I will discuss how we can adapt these market observations to design a particular project.
As it's impossible to meet every demand for each and every customer, we have to determine which factors are vital and significant enough to impact the majority of customers in their decision-making processes, and then focus on using those factors as the foundation in designing our projects.
One example we discovered is that there is a select group of Bangkokians who still live in extended families, and spend most of their lives in the city. Condominiums generally cannot deliver an ideal solution for such families who have more than five members because of space limitations. In projects that are spacious enough, these units tend to have extraordinarily high prices.
The alternative of a detached home with a large yard can be had only in the suburbs, and maintaining their extensive grounds requires constant care. When we discover a significant number of this type of customer, we can design a project specifically targeting this niche. This is also an example of what we call "designing for mass customisation".
The answer we provided is a detached home on 62 square wah (248 square metres) of land with about 300 square metres of living space at a price of Bt18 million. We took these ideas and conducted numerous surveys of consumers because we know that it's not just a matter of fitting the design and function in a given space - the price is equally important in determining the success of the project because different customers may share similar financial strengths.
These considerations are the key difference between designing bespoke projects for individual customers. Individual customers can clearly specify their demands, to which we can add details about functions and design the space, as well as double-check with them throughout the process.
For our projects, we have to know how to balance the essentials and the non-essentials to meet our budgets. Unlike custom-built homes, where customers can choose the materials to the limit of their budgets, we cannot put everything that we wish to incorporate in our projects. That is why we decided that the soul of the home included a small front yard to provide a touch of greenery within the premises, and its layout allows it to link better with all the myriad functions of its spacious interiors needed to meet the requirements of multiple home-dwellers.
Each house has four large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. An additional multipurpose room with an ensuite bathroom is also built so it can be easily transformed into another bedroom.
This concept may sound simple, but the difficulty lies in selecting and deciding on the details of each room in this house. This requires the seamless collaboration of different teams, from designers, to sales and marketing, construction, and purchasing, so that the design, choice of materials, and budgets are appropriately allocated.
For instance, contrary to most detached-home designs, we offer a small front lawn, and have one floor with a separate powder room, as well as a multipurpose room with an ensuite bathroom. Yet we managed to work within our budget constraints to create a house that yields higher sale prices.
Designing for mass housing requires a deep understanding of customers' demands, a professional process, and extensive teamwork to create a product that will please many people at competitive prices. However, this does not mean that our prices are necessarily lower than our competitors'; it is just that we are able to deliver better product value.
Achieving this allows the sales team to present our projects confidently to customers. It is only when we are able to do this that I consider this project's design a success.
I will discuss product value next month. Thank you for being interested in my column.
Vitakarn Jantavimol is executive vice president of Asian Property Development.
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