An existing client is a nationwide retailer whose facilities have a sales floor/ fitting room layout containing a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 16 mirrors systems. Each mirror system weighed between 100 to 220 pounds. The entire mirror system consisted of the brushed metal frame, pressboard backing, and the mirror itself. All mirrors had originally been secured to the walls with a two bracket system centered in the back the mirror. This system was unreliable and had caused failures that had resulted in safety concerns and lawsuits. The retailer had a redundant teether mirror restraint installed throughout the country to eliminate this problem. Although the new redundant system eliminated the failures of the mirror frame failing, it did not address the hazards of the mirror itself.
The scope of work needed to execute this project included
- Design a redundant system that holds the mirror itself in place.
- Manufacture the new redundant system from the same material as the frame.
- Illustrate to the client that the current system does not address all the potential hazards of the mirror system.
The constraints of this project included
- Designing and manufacturing a redundant system that would be approved by the retailer’s visual team, and would not be a distraction to customers utilizing the mirror.
- Convince the retailer how the current redundant system failed to solve the comprehensive problem with the mirror system. This conversation would prove challenging due to the fact that the original system had already been completed nationwide at significant expense to the client.
We understood that the first step in solving our client’s potential liability was to illustrate that the risk did in fact still exist. Broaching the subject was awkward considering that we participated in the original redundant system installation. However, we knew it was in the best interest of the client to address this potential problem.
- We conducted dozens of field checks at our client’s facilities to confirm that this potential problem did exist.
- We obtained measurements and material information for the mirror system.
- We designed and manufactured a system that could be installed with the current mirror frame system, using the same screws and entry points.
- The new system was constructed of the same material as the frame and had a profile of a 1/2 inch on both the top and bottom of the mirror. This small profile was virtually unnoticeable to the customer.
We understood that initiating this particular topic with a large, existing client would be difficult, but remaining silent would violate one of our core principles of clear and courageous communication. We spent a significant amount of resources to obtain the necessary data, and then in designing and manufacturing a solution prior to having the green light to execute the initiative. We made this investment knowing that it was in the best interest of our client to have this information, in order to have available options to decide what course of action to take, if any. Our solution was reviewed, but never implemented.