Manufacturing and product design

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Manufacturing and product design

Foundation, Higher and Advanced

Diploma case studies

This publication includes three applied learning case studies that feature

centres delivering the manufacturing and product design Diploma at

Foundation, Higher and Advanced levels. The case studies reflect real

planning processes that have taken place in centres and describe in detail

what is expected of the students.

This is one of a series of line of learning publications that support

practitioners and curriculum managers with the planning and delivery

of the Diploma. Students benefit from regularly being able to use their

knowledge, skills and understanding in an applied context. This is what

makes the Diploma both challenging and relevant to students’ future

progression choices.

To access case studies for other phase 2 lines of learning in the Diploma:

business, administration and finance; environmental and land-based

studies; hair and beauty studies; and hospitality, visit


Foundation Diploma: Students develop a product

design as part of the manufacturing process

This activity has been designed to meet learning outcomes from: Unit 1: Introduction to manufacturing

Unit 2: Dealing with customers and suppliers in manufacturing Unit 3: Introduction to working practices in manufacturing Unit 4: Introduction to product design and development Unit 5: Introduction to material science in manufacturing Unit 6: Making a product

Sheffield Consortium, Myers Grove School

Summary and learning outcomes

Students set up a manufacturing business to produce 100 mugs printed with a local junior football club logo. The school sells the mugs to the club at £3 each, which then sells them to members to support the club’s activity. By the end of the activity students are able to:

describe the main business processes in a manufacturing business

calculate simple costs for a manufacturing business

recognise the range of job roles involved in manufacturing

understand how different materials are selected for manufactured products

produce a mug that includes a printed design.

The applied learning activity


The school secures the agreement of a local junior football club to support its enterprise idea. It also ensures the support of a number of local employers such as AES Seals, a specialist company that designs and manufactures mechanical seals; Cadbury, a leading global brand; and the local Chamber of Commerce. The school purchases a laser cutter, a dye sublimation printer and 10 laptops with CorelDRAW software to support teaching and learning in the Diploma.


The club manager provides students with the club logo and briefs them on the overall


Students visit AES Seals and see a presentation about the challenges of manufacturing

on a large scale, the importance of good customer service and the possible progression opportunities available in the sector. Students also visit Cadbury where they observe the production cycle of making sweets and see the different types of machinery used in the manufacturing process. Cadbury’s production manager gives a talk on organisational structures and the health and safety procedures that are particularly important when working with specialist manufacturing machinery.

Back at school, students work in groups to consider the challenges of producing

the football club mugs. They allocate roles to cover all the responsibilities within a professional production team, including a managing director to oversee the production process, a progress chaser, a finance manager, a graphic designer and a product designer.

A business adviser from the local Chamber of Commerce visits the Diploma students

to discuss the challenges of setting up of a new enterprise business. The following topics are covered: organisational structures, marketing, costing, financial forecasting, quality assurance and the need for a business plan.

Each group researches promotional businesses on the internet to check the retail cost

of promotional mugs, printed mug designs and the prices of materials (including mugs, heat resistant tape, special printing paper and packaging material). Students put together a group presentation showing a costed business plan with profit margins. Each group presents their business plan to the club manager while their teacher

assesses progress in their personal, learning and thinking skills (PLTS). Students also record their own PLTS on the school’s Bright sparks site, an online system that enables the students to capture evidence of their enterprise learning.

Once all the students have presented their ideas, the club manager assesses each

business plan and decides on a particular design and business plan to take forward. The teacher demonstrates the production process and students then apply it. With help

from their teacher and the school design and technology technician, students produce a sample of six mugs. They cut the logo by hand from the printing paper and attach it to the mug with heat resistant tape. They bake the mugs and then plunge them into cold water so the ink from the logo soaks through from the paper to the mug.

The students present the six sample mugs to the football club manager for final

approval. They make changes according to the feedback received, before producing the 100 mugs required. Once produced, the mugs are packaged in bubble wrap and delivered to the football club for sale.

The student managing director visits the club manager to receive verbal feedback on

the quality of the product. Written feedback is also used toward the students’ final assessments, alongside formal and informal assessments by the course teacher and students’ own self-assessment.


Higher Diploma: Students design and produce

a prototype bathroom tile

This activity has been designed to meet learning outcomes from: Unit 3: Working in manufacturing

Unit 4: Designing and developing products for manufacture Unit 6: Applications of processing systems in manufacturing

Stoke-on-Trent 14–19 Consortium, City of Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College

Summary and learning outcomes

Students create a design for a bathroom tile to enter into a competition held at the end of the activity. They also develop a prototype tile that is then made by Johnson Tiles, a local tile manufacturing company. The tiles are exhibited at the employer’s offices, where staff can choose the best design. By the end of the activity students can:

recognise what manufacturing processes and systems are used by a

manufacturing enterprise

understand how a manufacturing business is structured

appreciate how different functions, roles and responsibilities work together to create a

profitable and sustainable manufacturing enterprise

work as part of a team to contribute to the success of a company at different stages of

the production process

recognise the materials, processes and principles used to manufacture products

understand the importance of quality assurance and control

measure quality at different stages of production and incorporate feedback into

their design.

The applied learning activity


The teacher meets with Johnson Tiles and discusses the activity with the design manager and other senior staff. Together they write the activity brief. The teacher asks if female employees could work with students, where possible, to provide positive female role models. This is to encourage female students to consider working in this sector.



Students conduct research into interior design trends with a focus on bathrooms,

for example the shape and form of sanitary ware and the impact of colours and texture. Independently, students also visit local retailers and collect bathroom and tile brochures, adding them to their portfolio and enriching their own ideas with new material.

Students are given a tour of Johnson Tiles and watch staff at work. They see the full

production process, from the raw material to the finished product. They also visit the research and development laboratory where all the processes used in the factory can be seen on a small scale, including the latest technology in digital printing. They see robots used in production, how printing materials are developed and methods for different finishes.

Students do the tour in small groups. This aids better viewing of processes and

procedures, while observing the necessary health and safety procedures. Key points are emphasised and students observe and take notes on quality assurance in action and the implementation of health and safety procedures. Back in college, this is supported with photographs and example material from Johnson Tiles.

The students are given a talk by the company’s designers and marketing managers

on the production requirements for a small-scale project and how they can effectively market their product.

The head of design discusses the brief with students and provides pointers for

developing their design, for example whether to choose a contemporary or classical style, the size, the cost, a consumer profile and the practical challenges of the manufacturing process. The head of design also distributes resources including wallpaper samples, textile swatches and interior design magazines.

Students split into groups and put together a ‘mood board

’, taking into consideration

all the factors listed above. The head of design and the marketing manager provide feedback to students during the activity.

After the visit, students continue developing their ideas with their teacher’s

support. The employer visits them half-way through the project, monitors their progress and provides individual feedback on their designs. Students review their designs accordingly.

To develop their ideas further, students exhibit their designs in a mini-exhibition at

the college. They develop a digital image using CAD and Photoshop (computer software used in the industry) to present their designs. IT technicians at the college support this process.

A technician from the art and design department helps students create a plaster cast

prototype of their design. All students’ designs and prototypes are then given to the employer, who makes them into tiles. The tiles are displayed in the employer’s offices and employees are asked to choose their favourite.


At the end of the activity students present their tiles to staff at Johnson Tiles and

explain the creative and practical processes they went through. They receive individual feedback, which is taken into account before they are awarded their final mark.

Formally during the presentation, and informally during the activity, students are

assessed by their teacher, both on their design and presentation and on different personal, learning and thinking skills (such as communicating with employers, the ability to receive feedback and planning future actions). At the end of the event the employer gives a prize to the winner and their tile is featured in the Johnson Tiles showroom.


Advanced Diploma: Students explore production

processes, quality assurance and quality control in

food manufacturing

This activity has been designed to meet learning outcomes from: Unit 1: Manufacturing business principles

Unit 3: Supply chain management in manufacturing

Unit 4: Management of resources and working practices in manufacturing Unit 7: Production and processing systems in manufacturing

Unit 9: Quality in manufacturing

York Learning Partnership, York College

Summary and learning outcomes

Students gain an understanding and experience of production processes, quality assurance and quality control through visits to food manufacturers. They cover mass-, batch- and small-scale manufacturing. They also set up a small batch bakery in the college kitchen. By the end of the activity students can:

understand how manufacturing enterprises are structured, managed and led

understand key operational practices that apply in manufacturing

work in a team to manufacture a product

produce a production and quality assurance plan

monitor the quality of a product using appropriate techniques

analyse and interpret quality control data and draw conclusions

present their findings and proposals for improvements.

The applied learning activity


The teacher establishes employer links with Warburtons, Tesco bakeries and Nestlé and develops the brief for the activity with the employers. Warburtons develops another brief for learning about supply chain, demand and quality, in relation to the manufacture of bread products.

The teacher and employers decide what resources are needed. Resources provided by the college include the kitchen, IT facilities and a minibus. Resources provided by the employers include use of their facilities for a site visit and the provision of supporting materials, such as company policies and case studies.


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Students visit Warburtons and Tesco bakeries to see their manufacturing lines, the

technology behind production and the sales and marketing of products. Warburtons provides a tour of their production facilities. This is followed by a visit to a Tesco bakery to look at technology on a smaller scale.

Back at the college, the teacher builds on the learning about manufacturing processes

and practices. Nestlé provides supporting materials including information about their quality policy, case studies on quality in the supply chain and PowerPoint slides on root cause analysis and lean manufacturing. Students use these materials to develop their understanding of manufacturing supply and demand, quality assurance, quality control and operational practices.

A jigsaw game is used to help students understand the different roles within a

manufacturing organisation. The students have to build the jigsaw pieces (the roles) into an organisational structure, considering the roles in the production process. They explore the cost implications, including comparison between the costs involved in mass production (as with Nestlé) and smaller operations (as with Warburtons and Tesco bakeries).

Students create their own production process for the manufacture of bread buns.

They develop a production and quality control plan and checklist. This includes the quantity and quality of ingredients required matched with logistical and storage requirements, and the shape and consistency of the bread buns. The students also make a template for the size of the bread buns.

Following a teacher demonstration, students make bread buns in the college kitchen.

They then assess the quality of their baking.

Students document the production process and analyse statistics from the quality

control checklist. They also consider how the process could be made more efficient and ensure the quality of the product.

As a group, students put together a proposal and recommendations on how to improve

the efficiency of the production process. They present their findings to employers in a written report.

Employers give verbal feedback to students on their production plan and process,

quality control and finished product, including any recommendations for improvement. Employers also give verbal feedback to teachers and this feeds into student assessment.