WA State Light Industrial Park

WA State Light Industrial Park

CI: Meeting Demands for Flexibility and Adaptability

Moving into new facilities and sharing space with Washington's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) turned out to be more than just a move of convenience for Correctional Industries (CI). Instead, the occasion presented numerous opportunities to test it's creative mettle and create a better experience for customers.

In 2006, CI moved to new office and warehouse facilities at the Washington State Light Industrial Park. CI's new offices shared building space with DNR and the two agencies also share grounds around the office building on the 39-acre complex.

Since the office building was a new construction with common areas to be shared by both agencies, it only made sense that CI, working in conjunction with DNR, would plan and supply the furniture for the building. In total, the project would include office systems for more than 80 staff members and required furniture selections that could adapt to a variety of needs. CI took the occasion as an opportunity to experience it's services and products from the customer's perspective and fine-tune them to provide a better experience.

Challenges of furnishing its own office building included developing two complete cubicle systems and furnishing common areas of the building to address the different needs of both agencies. These challenges required furniture selections that could adapt to a variety of needs and required project planners to be inventive and flexible.


Helping Customers Make Better Decisions

When planning its use of the building and selecting furniture options, Correctional Industries focused on one goal in particular: Make it easier for customers to determine which product lines suited them best. To that end, CI dedicated a significant portion of its office space to function as a show room. The showroom displays a variety of CI products arranged as they would appear in an office environment, including a fully-functional computer work station. This allows customers to "test drive" furnishings and get a feel for how they work in an office environment rather than just look at pictures in a catalog. Product lines in the showroom are rotated from time to time, to highlight new products and popular trends in office furnishings.

To further enhance the customer experience, CI included a variety of panel and desk systems in employee offices. Customers may tour CI's offices to view its product lines in use. It can be difficult to imagine how furniture in a catalog will look and function in a working environment, but CI has solved that problem by turning it's office space into a functional showroom.

  • In the kitchen area, the agencies opted for 4-legged tables and CI's Navigator chairs to allow a variety of arrangements. The tables are easy to move and arrange into different configurations. Navigator chairs are easy to stack out of the way when necessary, and they gang together well for maximizing seating capacity.
  • In the waiting area, both agencies wanted to provide a comfortable and inviting atmosphere with a modern appeal to it. To accomplish this, the agencies selected sofas and chairs from Correctional Industries' Minuet line along with custom drum-style coffee tables.
  • Both agencies chose folding tables and chairs for the conference room so it can be configured for various needs. The room can seat up to 120 people for presentations or facilitate board meetings with chairs arranged around a central conference table. Classroom-style seating is also possible for training sessions and similar functions.
  • For it's own offices, CI selected a variety of panel and wall systems to allow for flexible floor configurations. In employee offices, planners included stand-alone pieces from the Genesis and Volition desk system lines, such as this adjustable Genesis workstation.

In the kitchen area, the agencies opted for 4-legged tables and CI's Navigator chairs to allow a variety of arrangements. The tables are easy to move and arrange into different configurations. Navigator chairs are easy to stack out of the way when necessary, and they gang together well for maximizing seating capacity.


Solving Problems and Meeting Challenges

Fabrication of the various furniture elements went smoothly, but CI faced a new kind of challenge when the pieces were delivered. Although CI manufacturers were on schedule, the building contractors were about three months behind in completing the office building. CI had to find temporary storage for the newly-built furniture.

A warehouse was planned as part of CI's new facilities in order to accommodate just such an occasion, but that too wasn't finished. However, CI was able to work with contractors and take over a partly finished portion of the warehouse and protect the delivered pieces with tarps and coverings. As soon as possible, CI installation crews began installing the furniture, again coordinating with contractors as they finished up final phases of construction.

The high degree of flexibility and adaptability required by this project put Correctional Industries' creative talents to the test. Working hand-in-hand with project managers from DNR, CI planners and designers experimented with new combinations, concepts and ideas to develop solutions that pleased both agencies. CI proved it's ability to work closely with client agencies and meet challenging demands.

"This joint project turned out better than I could have possibly imagined. Our partnership with DNR is a win-win situation."

— Lindsey Konrad, CI