A miniature portable garden, a multipurpose cart and a hitch cover that doubles as a locker were once just mere ideas.
Now, they are the latest products of Cal Poly’s industrial technology and packaging (ITP 467) course.
Applied Business and Production Management is a required course within the Orfalea College of Business’ ITP department, designed to give students experience in applying their skills in a real-world industry setting.
The class consists of three teams of 12 students who collaborated to design, manufacture, market and sell more than 100 units of whichever product they invent.
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How it works
“[Students] come up with a product, develop a product, develop a marketing plan, develop a manufacturing plan, sell more units than they can sell to friends and family and get it all done in 10 weeks,” ITP professor Jim Bentley said.
This quarter, the class was divided into three team projects: Herban Garden, Hitch Locker and A La Carte.
Herban Garden is a miniature indoor garden in a wooden box, with an LED light at the top to grow fresh herbs year-round. Hitch Locker is a customizable car hitch cover with a locking pin that can store valuable items like a wallet or car keys. Lastly, A La Carte is a multi-use mobile beverage cart that provides additional shelving and storage.
ITP Senior Luke Adler says group members have each been putting in nearly 30 to 40 hours in the lab each week working on the Herban Garden, and that although it’s been strenuous, “it’s been rewarding to see what it takes to grow a business from the ground up.” Herban Garden is currently working building 145 units that will be completed in the next few weeks.
Kelsey Luvisa | Mustang News
the product process
The projects are fully financed through the students, who earn the money back through product sales and donations.
“Up front it’s a little bit scary because we put up a couple hundred dollars, but in the end it’s about learning and making money back and selling things and having a good time,” ITP senior Jordan Larue said.
Students spent the first two to three weeks of the quarter brainstorming ideas for their product. After students chose a product, they spent about 40 to 60 hours per week in the lab creating their product.
Students said the hands-on experience and team collaboration aspect of the class helped prepare them for life after college by giving them an idea of what it is like to work in the industry.
“It has definitely given me a good idea of the people I want to work with and the environment that I want to be around,” ITP junior Matt Appell said.
Bentley said he has received a lot of positive feedback from students about the class, and many of his students still keep in touch with him after they graduate.
Bentley said the relationships he develops with his students, seeing the results of former students’ projects and watching students become prepared for life after college are the most rewarding aspects of the class.