Friday, April 18, 2014

The Big Gripper: How Home Depot Copied Apple to Build an Ingenious New Ergonomically Designed Bucket

Home Depot Reinvents The Bucket
Home Depot’s new Big Gripper all-purpose bucket is a handy improvement on the old school, five-gallon contractor pail. An ergonomic handle and patent pending “pocket grip” on the underside sets the product apart on the shelf, but more importantly, the design is a showpiece for a new approach to big box merchandising. Brick-and-mortar retailers have learned a lesson from Apple and are following their vertically integrated approach by developing high-quality, and exclusive, products to remain competitive in the age of Amazon. And they’re learning from another Apple trademark: revisiting product categories filled with bad offerings, and completely rethinking them.



The clever container was developed in textbook fashion by Herbst Produkt, an award-winning firm with a client list that includes Clorox and Facebook. Like a good user-centered designer, founder Scot Herbst started the project by observing customers in their natural habitats and recording their difficulties using similar products. “We found this particularly true in the female demographic — someone would load a garden bucket with soil and have a hell of a time lifting and maneuvering the ungainly mass,” says Herbst.

With this insight in hand, Herbst rearranged the elements of the bucket to create an asymmetrical, yet better balanced product. “The best part about these little innovations is they didn’t add any cost to the product,” he says. “They’re cost-neutral features that are achieved without adding material or complex tooling.” You can’t argue with free, but the importance of this design rests less in its features and more why it was developed in the first place.
Products like the bucket sell by the millions, but haven’t been improved in decades.
It might be hard to believe, but when the Home Depot was founded in 1978, it was hugely innovative. Floor to ceiling stacks of oriented strand board might lack the panache of 3-D printing, yet both developments had similar effects. Prior to the arrival of these walk-in warehouses, weekend warriors were left with whatever limited selection their local hardware store carried. For two decades, Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus made it his mission to make exotic tools and hard-to-find building materials available to anyone with a pick-up truck.
In 2000, Marcus retired and brought on Bob Nardelli as CEO. Nardelli had been one of Jack Welch’s hatchet men at GE, and he spent the next seven years driving down costs—at the expense of Home Depot’s reputation for innovation. “From what I understand, it had a brutal cost-cutting culture that stymied product innovation,” says Herbst.
At the same time, Amazon and other online tool sellers were beating physical retailers at the price game. Shipping bags of concrete was cost prohibitive, but online sales of hyper-profitable, high-ticket power tools boomed. “If the game is played solely on a price-cutting platform, you will inevitably run out of margin to support new innovation,” says Herbst. “What the consumer doesn't appreciate is that innovation costs money—R&D, prototyping, design, engineering, IP—all of these activities require an investment.”
Marcus forced Nardelli out in 2007 and brought in a Home Depot veteran to right the ship by returning the focus to developing and selling innovative products, exclusive to Home Depot. The mandate came with a cool code name — Project: Whitespace — and Herbst Produkt jumped at the chance to redesign humble products like the bucket that sell by the millions, but haven’t been improved on since their introduction decades ago.
Home Depot is also taking a page from values-driven companies like Patagonia and emphasizing how their products are made in addition to how they function. The Big Gripper bucket is part of the retailer’s “Made in America” initiative, which is attempting to “reshore” manufacturing jobs, and is being produced by a family-run company outside of Boston. “Any cost premiums are balanced out by the fast lead-time to market and incredibly, ridiculously, high volumes that Home Depot can support,” says Herbst.
The Big Gripper is available at Home Depot’s website and stores across the country.
http://www.wired.com/2013/12/home-depot-reinvents-buckets/#slideid-384671

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Human Body Does Not Like Sitting For Long Periods Of Time



By selecting office furniture of an ergonomic design, you can create a more comfortable work environment. The human body does not like sitting for long periods of time.  Traditional seating can cause lower back pain. In addition, a work space that is not arranged properly can lead to neck and wrist pain.  It is important to select furniture that is well suited to the person or people that will be using it.  For communal equipment, it is a good idea to look for adjustable furniture.  That way each user can set their seat and desk so that it is most comfortable for them.

An ergonomic chair design is one where the body is positioned in such a way as to reduce the strain on the lower back.  One solution is the kneeling stool.  This consists of a backless stool with an angled knee rest.  The kneeling stool works by shifting the position of the hips forward, encouraging the user to sit up straight and reduce the strain on their back.  Other seating is not quite so exotic.  The height of the seat should be about one quarter of the height of the user, so by making the seat adjustable it can be used by people of various shapes and sizes.  Armrests are of benefit to anyone who spends most of their time typing, as they can reduce the strain on the arms and shoulders.
An ergonomic workstation design will include the ability to adjust the position of the computer monitor and keyboard.  The monitor should be directly above the keyboard, and should be raised so that the top of the screen is just above eye level.  The keyboard should be placed on an adjustable tray so that the user can raise or lower it to the most comfortable height.  It is never a good idea to use a keyboard or mouse that is placed on a standard table top.  This is generally too high for all potential users, and will lead to hand and wrist pain.  The ideal position is to have the keyboard at the same level as the elbows.

At the ErgoBack, you will find a wide selection of furniture of an ergonomic design.  From desks to seating to computer workstations, nobody sells more office solutions than we do.  Visit us online at www.ErgoBack.com.  Be sure to check out our natural computer keyboards and mice as well.  We are proud to supply all of your company’s needs.



About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.

Desks




For today’s typical employee, a large portion of their day will be spent working at a computer.  The layout of their work space can have a significant effect on their health and productivity.  A badly designed work space will force the worker to adopt awkward or stressful positions that can lead to muscle strains and repetitive stress injuries.  By using an ergonomic office desk, one can reduce the stress on the body and prevent such injuries.

For the typical computer user, the most common problems relate to the position of the monitor, the keyboard and the mouse.  The monitor is often too low.  The top of the screen should be just above eye level.  By raising the monitor to this height you reduce the strain on the back of the neck.

In contrast, the keyboard and the mouse are often positioned too high, especially when there is no keyboard tray.  The keyboard tray should be set so that the user’s forearms remain level and their wrists are straight.  If you find your wrists are bent upwards during typing, chances are your keyboard is too high. By continuing to work in that position, you run the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome; a condition where the median nerve in the wrist becomes compressed resulting in pain and weakness in the hands.

The monitor should be directly above the keyboard.  Many people place their monitor off to the side in order to give themselves more work space.  While this may be okay for someone who does not use their computer very often, the prolonged use in this position, with the neck twisted to the side, can cause severe neck pain.

An ergonomic desk will be able to position the input and output devices of the computer for maximum comfort.  Ideally this positioning should be adjustable, as not everyone has the same body shape or size.  The correct keyboard height for one person may be quite a bit wrong for another.  An innovative solution is to select a table or workstation with an adjustable height.  This is a particularly good idea for any situation where different people will be asked to use the same equipment.

The best selection for anyone looking for an ergonomic desk can be found at www.ErgoBack.com.   Visit us online today to check out the full range of products we offer.


About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Correct Ergonomic Computer Adjustments




Many people spend all day working at their PC.  An ergonomic computer desk can reduce the stresses places on those who spend hours typing.  The best solution if to find something that can be adjusted to the height of the user.  People of different sizes need their keyboards and monitors positioned differently for maximum comfort.

You will want to position your monitor at the correct height to reduce the stress on the back of your neck.  The monitor should be elevated so that the top of the screen is near eye level.  The monitor should be tilted upwards at a slight angle, and should be about 20 inches in front of your face.  The monitor should not be placed off to the side.  It should be directly above the keyboard.  If it is off to the side, you will find that your neck will begin to hurt from keeping it twisted for long periods of time.

The position of the keyboard is important to prevent the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Without using a keyboard tray, most tables would keep the keyboard too high.  This means that your arms and wrists are elevated, and more stress is placed on them.  This is also true of the mouse position.  Ideally, it should be at the same height as the keyboard, allowing the user to hold their arms level to the ground.

There is such a thing as an ergonomic laptop desk.  This is designed to provide enough space to use your notebook computer at the correct height.  A regular workstation will not have enough space on the keyboard tray to operate a notebook.   Another solution is to use a separate keyboard and purchase a stand for your notebook that will allow it to sit on your workstation at the correct height.  A full size keyboard, particularly one that is shaped for comfort, is much easier on your wrists and hands that the notebook’s keyboard.

Perhaps the most innovative solution for your work space is a completely adjustable work space.  You can get a table whose height can be altered with a crank or pneumatic system.  This allows you to set the workstation for whoever is going to be using it that day, and even allows them to use it in either a sitting or a standing position, whichever is more preferable.

When you need an ergonomic computer desk, be sure to check out the large selection at www.ErgoBack.com.  Our online catalog has many different solutions to your work space needs.



About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.





The Human Body is a Complicated Piece of Machinery




The human body is a complicated piece of machinery.  It can be truly remarkable in its ability to be manipulated and to perform many tasks.  However the body can also break down, both by traumatic injury and by repetitive stress injury.  Repetitive stress injury, or RSI, refers to damage to the nerves, muscles and tendons of the body by the repeated application of force.  It can also be influenced by awkward positioning.  Even people whose job it is to work at a desk all day can damage their bodies if they position themselves poorly.  Ergonomic furniture is designed to position the body in such a way as to reduce the potential for repetitive stress injuries.

Working at a desk all day can cause a series of problems, including lower back pain, neck pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.  The lower back pain is cause by not sitting properly.  A necessary piece of ergonomic furniture is a good chair.  This should be able to be adjusted for the user so that they can sit with their legs bent at a 90 – 105 degree angle and their feet flat on the ground.  When sitting properly in the chair the user’s upper legs should extend two inches at the knee beyond the edge of the seat.  And finally the seat should have sufficient lumbar back support.  One feature that is nice to have if you are typing is armrests, as it can reduce the strain on your elbows and help keep your shoulder up and prevent you from becoming hunched over.

Besides a chair, the other component of ergonomic computer furniture is the desk.  This desk should allow you to arrange the monitor, the mouse and the keyboard in such a way and to reduce the pressure on your wrists and neck.  The monitor should be raised up so that the top of the monitor is at eye level.  This keeps the head up and prevents pain in the back of the neck.  The keyboard should be able to be positioned such that it is at the same level as the user’s elbows.  The mouse should also be able to be used at this level.  There are several designs of desks and workstations that allow for the proper placement of the keyboard and the monitor.

Repetitive stress injuries are not limited to the workplace, however.  Thus you may need ergonomic home furniture.  By visiting our website at www.ErgoBack.com, you can browse through our extensive online catalog to find furnishing that are appropriate for your home, home/office or apartment.






About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.

Ergonomic Office Furniture & You!

Today many companies strive only to use ergonomic office furniture.  These include chairs and workstations that are designed to increase employee comfort and reduce the potential for the types of injuries that are caused by the repetition of awkward movements and positioning.

Modern ergonomic furniture comes in a variety of styles.  There are executive desks for the management, workstations for the staffers, and reception desks for the entrance area.  Each has a different set of requirements in terms of appearance and work area.  However, if properly designed, they will all serve to position their users in such a way that their bodies are kept in a more natural state.  Of particular importance is that the keyboard and the monitor are kept at the correct height for their user.

Carpal tunnel syndrome and various types of tendinitis can result from operating a computer in an awkward position.  For anyone who spends a lot of time working at a computer, it will not be sufficient to place the computer on top of a table or desk.  By doing so you raise the keyboard too high and set the monitor too low.  A proper desk will allow you to arrange your computer in order to reduce the stresses on your body.  This is especially true for laptop computers.  By making them portable, one has lost the flexibility that one gets by separating the various components.  If you use your laptop for long periods of time at your desk, consider investing in a laptop workstation.  By using a separate keyboard and a laptop stand, you can gain the benefits of a proper computer arrangement while still retaining the portability that you need.

Proper seating is key to maintaining a healthy staff.  Traditional work space chairs had the tendency to cause lower back pain.  Your employees will probably be spending a great deal of their time sitting.  By supplying them with a well designed chair you will increase their productivity.

Another consideration when designing an effective work space is lighting.  Lighting that flickers or that is too bright or too dim can cause eye strain.  This leads to fatigue, which of course will greatly reduce effectiveness.

When shopping for ergonomic office furniture you will find the largest selection at www.ErgoBack.com.   When you combine our extensive catalog with our low prices, you have an unbeatable combination.  Visit us today to see how we can help your work environment.


About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.





Why Use an Ergonomic Mouse?

Using the computer and surfing on the internet is now a necessity in many jobs, as well as being a great way to spend time, research, or get the news. However, many commonly used software programs, especially web browsers, make extensive use of mice as a primary means of data input.  This has lead to many people suffering from repetitive stress injuries caused by the unnatural positioning of the wrist while using these devices.  The solution is to use an ergonomic computer mouse that is designed to be used with a more natural wrist and hand position. These encourage the user to move their arm, rather than just twisting or turning the wrist, avoiding repetitive stress injuries.

There are many designs for an ergonomic mouse on the market today.  These include simple variations of the traditional design that do not cramp the hand or require the wrist to be bent at awkward angles.  Other designs are more unusual, but while they may look odd, your hand will appreciate the decreased stress.

Another device that can be used to replace the mice in your office is the track ball.  Many people find these to be easier to use for prolonged periods of time. Each solution takes some time to become accustomed to the new device, as many people click a certain way out of habit, but once you are used to the position of the buttons, it is a very quick transition.

Some people think that by simply switching to an ergonomic mouse they can avoid carpal tunnel system.  It may also be necessary to change the location of the device.  Many people use their mice on top of their desks.  This is often too high a position.  A better solution is to move the mouse, if there is enough space, to the keyboard tray next to the keyboard.

Another way to reduce the stress on your wrist is with an ergonomic mouse pad.  This device commonly has a padded support for you to rest your wrist on.  Some of the wrist supports are even designed to move around to allow complete freedom of movement by the arm. This prevents the wrist from having to move unnaturally, or from repeatedly making the same motions.




The best selection for anyone looking for an ergonomic computer mouse can be found online at www.ErgoBack.com.  Come browse through our extensive catalog to see the products that we have to make your workplace a little less stressful.



About Us

This blog is sponsored by ErgoBack, a company committed to providing ergonomically designed products including chairs and desks for the home/&office. We believe promoting ergonomic health in people's everyday lives is an important part of keeping individuals happy and healthy. Visit our online store at www.ErgoBack.com for the best deals on ergonomic chairs, desk, computer stations, and more.