CREATING A STREAMLINED SYSTEM THAT COULD BE INSTALLED TWO TIMES FASTER FOR PROFESSIONAL INSTALLERS
Some accounts from the building division have requested for us to develop a streamlined plank-and-pole system that customers can install with the rest of our products. Plank-and-pole is a simple closet solution made up of a board held up by cleats and/or brackets with a hang rod.
In the current market, there is not a systematic solution that is used for installation. There are many ways it is installed, and there is a vast price range installers are willing to pay. The only similarities with each solution are that installers want to be in and out of the home as fast as possible. A lot of research will be needed to fully understand the category and product because ClosetMaid started out as a wire shelving company, and its products have been competing against plank-and-pole closets. In order to create a better and systematic solution, we needed to find out the many ways installs are done and what competitors already have in the market.
PLANK & POLE WITH CLEAT:
These types of installs are usually crude and just down and dirty, meaning they are normally the cheapest install possible. Installers will use raw wood, MDF boards, or even particleboard for the entire install. Installers would nail gun the cleats in the wall then nail the shelf into the cleats, making it a quick process. After installing all the wood components, the entire thing is caulked so no gaps are visible between uneven walls and shelves. The final step requires painters to come in and paint over the entire thing, brackets and all.
VENTILATED SHELVING INSTALL
Ventilated shelving is similar to wire except that the shelving itself is made of solid wood. This leads to a more premium price point and can look a lot nicer than other plank-and-pole installs. Installation is similar to installing wire shelving using the “BCA” method and some installers will even use ClosetMaid’s template to make installations faster.
A possible solution that came in mind during the research was to use the existing ClosetMaid wire template for the product. Most installers were already familiar with using the wire template to install wire shelving, so making it compatible with the plank-and-pole system would make the new system seem familiar and easier for installers to learn.
From our first install attempt, we had to find another solution to address the issues that we ran into. Using the wire template did help with the install by not having to worry much about leveling and measuring, so we decided to move forward with using the template in our concept. We also found an opportunity to make the system “snap” together.
A solution we came up with was using a C-channel with the same thickness as the shelf. This allows users to simply slide the shelf in after installing the C-channel and end brackets. It also prevents the shelf from moving up while securing it. The channel could work with the template if long cutouts were made so you could mount it to the wall with just estimating the distance apart from each hole.
Now we had to test our idea and concept and let professional installers from different parts of the nation install it themselves. It is necessary to see if installers could understand our new system and prove that using a wire template could make an installation fast and easy or they can install without a template. We had installers come in and represent the West (California), Mid-West (Indiana), and North Carolina (Southeast).
ExpressShelf can easily be installed into any reach-in or walk-in closet. Shelves and hardware are offered in different colors to match any preference the consumer wants or if they just want to have a more premium look. ExpressShelf can be used not just in the closet, but can also be used as shelving for pantries or even in living rooms. Brackets without the hang rod support are used to hold up the shelf and pole cups are simply not used with the end brackets. The system creates a clean and premium look.