For 19 years students have lined up to take part in Professor Bill Lovejoy’s Integrated Product Development (IPD) course, hosted by the Tauber Institute for Global Operations, due to the simple fact that it challenges and expands their knowledge of how products that solve problems for people in the real world are created.
The IPD course is distinguished by hands-on manufacture of customer-ready prototypes executed by cross-disciplinary teams of students in a simulated economic competition. Students compete not only against benchmark products but also against each other for bragging rights and market share. The course design is such that teams can succeed only by performing well in all four dimensions: marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and design.
This year’s competition tackled one of the fastest growing markets in the United States -- accessories for tablets, cell phones and other portable devices. Students were asked to design an accessory for a portable electronic device that would create value for college students in the U.S.
Teams launched their products in a web-based competition and again a week later in a physical trade show held at the Ross School of Business. Members of the community were asked to examine the products and provide honest, constructive feedback as well as vote for their favorites by “purchasing” them with virtual dollars.
The 2014 IPD Teams:
Seeds, a biodegradable phone case made of paper pulp embedded with plant seeds which eases the user’s mind regarding eventual disposal. The team originally launched their product at $30 for the web Trade Show and reduced it to $20 for the physical Trade Show to accommodate inventory. Team members included Michael Abboreno (Art & Design), Kevin Gurtowsky (Architecture & Urban Planning), Pom Jenvitayavechakul (Global MBA), Owen Henkel (MBA and MA-Education), Sufen Fong (MBA), and Ben Ranta (MBA and MSE-IOE).
Battpack, a back pack for an electronic device, contains an extra battery and phone stand. Priced at $30 for web Trade Show, it was increased to $45 for the physical Trade Show. Team members included Michael Benkarski (School of Art & Design), Benjamin Steadman (MBA and MSE-IOE), Elizabeth Hershman (MBA), Nicholas Miller (MBA), Timotei Dudas (School of Architecture & Urban Planning), and Deepak Sharma (MSE-ME).
"I enjoyed the market research, investigating customer wants and needs, identifying sourcing, forecasting, and producing something that actually works,” Benjamin Steadman said. “I spent a lot of time working on the fabrication of our product and enjoyed that the most.” This year, the prototypes were built using tools available at Maker Works, a shared-space manufacturing site located in Ann Arbor.
Peak, an affordable, light-weight, rechargeable, high-quality Bluetooth speaker was priced at $79 for both Trade Shows. Team members included Western Chase (Art & Design), Dinesh Patro (MSE-IOE), Brittany Agee (MBA), Daniel Gross (MBA), Tun Liangpaiboon (MBA), and Nehal Molasaria (MSI-Human Computer Interaction).
Bestie, a wide-angle selfie lens for the iPhone, was also one of the lowest cost products, priced at $19.99 for both Trade Shows. Team members included John McInerney (Art & Design), Aditya Raghunathan (Global Automotive and Mfg EMeng) , Andrew Romant (MBA), Renu Rao (MBA), Stephen Wai (MBA), and Manasi Thakkar (MSE-Manufacturing).
Tap, conveniently turns a water bottle into a mobile charger. Originally priced at $39.99 on the web, was reduced to $30.00 for the physical Trade Show. Team members included Matthew Rosner (Art & Design), Aunnasha Sengupta (MSE-EE), Nirmal Deshpande(MBA), Michael Cooper (MBA), Noel Hernandez (School of Architecture & Urban Planning) and Deborah Feld (MBA).
“I enjoyed the collaboration of my team. The technical expertise of my teammates from the Art & Design School was impressive” said Michael Cooper. “They quickly adapted to the use of materials that made up our product and the machines offered through Maker Works.”
Cordly, a convenient, tangle free charging cable for IOS devices and one of the lowest cost products, was priced at $24.99 for both Trade Shows. Team members included Mariisa Franz (Art & Design), Swaraaj Prabhu Sankar (MSE-IOE), Tyler Blackney (MBA), Nicole Slezak (MBA), Suyash Tandon (MSE-ME), Antonio Sifuentes (MBA).
“We had to change our product design in a short period of time. We weren’t hitting our market’s needs. So we had to change mid-stream,” according to Nicole Slezak. “It felt good to be on a team of peers working collaboratively in cross-function environment.”
“The results of this fast-paced, hands-on approach offer many insights into the critical strategic value of design management,” said Professor Lovejoy, Professor of Technology and Operations who co-taught the course with John Marshall, Associate Professor of Art & Design. “The course explores the nexus between design and business with respect to product development, but also tests relationships among design, marketing, price, competitiveness, and profitability.”
About Tauber Institute for Global Operations
The Tauber Institute for Global Operations is a joint venture between the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the College of Engineering, and 30 industry partners to facilitate cross-disciplinary education in global operations management. In addition to broad array of core and elective courses, the innovative LeadershipAdvantageSMProgram provides students with the tools to ascend to major operations leadership roles. Well-designed and managed team projects form the cornerstone of the Tauber Institute experience and allow students to apply their knowledge to real world settings. http://www.tauber.umich.edu