Running a Factory

By Kate Fraser on Jan 14, 2014

Purpose:

To enable students with visual impairments to understand general steps of setting up and running a small company

Background Information:

What will you do when you have a good idea for a new product, or an innovation for an existing product? Suppose you have an idea for a new board game for two to four players. The game requires a board, differently shaped buttons for each player, and cards with questions. You want to manufacture and sell the board game yourself.

The board game in the photo at the right was made by students. It has foam squares in an X formation, game pieces that look like golf tees, and a tactile star in the center to indicate the winning location. Playing cards with questions to be answered are on each side of the board.
 

Preparation:

This is an activity for a team of students to do together. For the student with a visual impairment, advanced preparation might include examining the variety of possible materials to be used and practice using scissors. All parts of this activity are accessible.

Materials

  • Poster board
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Index cards or Braille paper
  • Things to write with or a brailler
  • Dice
  • Felt
  • Puff paint
  • Anything you decide to use make your board game!
  • Also a Braille note taker, computer, or pencil and paper to conduct market surveys.

Procedure

  1. With your team, plan a game and its layout. Use your imagination and be creative!
  2. Maybe people would like your product enough to buy it. To ask for opinions from other people, you talk to your friends and teachers. They give you feedback on what they think and how they think you can improve the game. You have conducted market research, finding out what people will buy.
  3. Make a rough prototype of the game, and test it out with your friends. After the trial run, see if there is any change that you can make to make the game better.
  4. You can create the playing surface on cardboard, but you can’t make the heavy cardboard back for the playing board; you would have to buy the material. You talk to the manufacturer of heavy cardboard, and he says that the can make 100 cardboard backs for $1.50 each. You also need to buy the packaging for your game board. You decide a pizza box has a perfect size to hold your game board and game pieces. You decide to cover the top of the box later with the logo of your game. The owner of local pizza shop says he can supply you the boxes for $0.90 per box. Both the cardboard manufacturer and the pizza shop owner are your suppliers. A supplier is a person or a company that provides something you would need to manufacture a product. You also want to sell your game. You talk with various stores in your town, and three of them agree to have your game in their store to sell.
  5. The cardboard manufacturer requires you to buy at least 100 cardboard backs. You make a budget based on manufacturing 100 games, such as:
  • 100 cardboard game backs, $1.50 each = $150
  • 100 pizza boxes, $0.90 each = $ 90
  • 400 buttons, $0.10 each = $ 40
  •  50 felt sheets for decorating, 2.00 each = $100
  •  other art supplies = $ 75
  •  TOTAL = $455

Imagine that your parents go to the bank with you, and help you borrow $455 to create your product. Now, you have capital of $455.You ask your two suppliers to send you ten cardboard game backs and ten pizza boxes every week for ten weeks.

  1. You don’t have a lot of room to store things at home, so you want to receive these items just in time for you to make the board games and send them off to the stores. This is called just-in-time (JIT) delivery method. Many manufacturers use just-in-time delivery system, because they don’t need extra warehouse space and workers to manage items.   
  2. You get your materials together to create and decorate your playing surface. By creating the board game, you have added value to the materials you have used.
  3. Game pieces that malfunction will negatively affect a person’s game experience. You carefully inspect each playing surface you finish, to make sure every aspect of your game is perfect. This inspection is called quality assurance or quality control. Quality assurance is important because it lets you use the information about your manufacturing system, whether it is working smoothly or not.

It’s time to assemble the parts of the game, and you ask one of your friends to help. For his/her hard work, you decide to pay him/her $2.00 for every hour he/she works for you. This is called wage, a payment a worker (your friend) receives from the employer (you). You place four different shaped buttons for each player in a small plastic bag. You add a pack of question cards, and then pass the bag to your friend. You friend places the game board, instructions and other game pieces into the pizza box. He/she also glues a piece of paper with your game logo on the top of the pizza box. You and your friend are working like a person would in an assembly line of a factory.

Resources:

Pierce, Alan J., Karwatka, D. Introduction to Technology, Glencoe / McGraw-Hill, 3rd Edition. 2005, Chapter 16, pages 385 - 401.

Adapted by Yoo Jin Chung and Kate Fraser.
 

factory collage