Title:
Locker and method for uniform repair and replacement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The locker for uniform repair and replacement has, disposed on its exterior surfaces, means for organizing and receiving paperwork for submitting and processing a uniform repair or replacement order. An article holder attached to the locker is adapted to retain an order formbook and completed order forms. A tag holder attached to the locker holds a supply of repair tags used to tag a uniform item for repair. A memo clip attached to the front surface of the locker is adapted to receive and retain paper notices from a uniform service company. The locker is provided by a uniform service company and located at a customer's premises. An order formbook is provided, and stored in the article holder, along with a catalog listing various services and products that may be ordered. A supply of repair tags is supplied and stored on the tag holder attached to the locker.



Inventors:
Parslow, John P. (Ashford, CT, US)
Application Number:
11/023479
Publication Date:
06/29/2006
Filing Date:
12/29/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B81/00; A47B97/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard C. Litman (Alexandria, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A locker for uniform repair and replacement, comprising: a cabinet structure having an openable front door, an interior space and an exterior surface, the front door having a front surface; an opening defined in said front door; and a spring-loaded clamping member disposed on the front surface of said front door, the clamping member adapted to grip and retain papers on said front door.

2. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 1, further comprising an article holder disposed on the exterior surface of said cabinet structure.

3. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 2, wherein said article holder comprises at least one wall member defining a receptacle having a closed bottom and an open top.

4. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 1, further comprising a service order tag holder disposed on the exterior surface of said cabinet structure.

5. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 4, wherein said service order tag holder comprises at least one wall member defining a receptacle having a closed bottom and an open top.

6. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 1, further comprising a cover openably disposed over said opening.

7. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 6, wherein said cover opens into said interior space.

8. The locker for uniform repair and replacement according to claim 1, further comprising a receptacle removably disposed within said interior space.

9. A locker for uniform repair and replacement, comprising: a cabinet structure having an openable front door, an interior space and an exterior surface, the front door having a front surface; an opening defined in said front door; means for storing a quantity of service order repair tags disposed on said exterior surface; and means for storing an order formbook disposed on said exterior surface.

10. A method for managing route service customer orders, comprising the steps of: providing a locker on a customer's premises; providing a plurality of service order tags and storing the service order tags prominently in the vicinity of the locker; providing an order formbook and storing the order formbook prominently in the vicinity of the locker, the order formbook comprising at least one order form; and providing on the locker a spring-loaded clamping member for prominently displaying service notices.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein said locker is a uniform repair and replacement locker comprising a cabinet structure having an openable front door, an interior space and an exterior surface.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein said locker further comprises an article holder disposed on the exterior surface of said cabinet structure, and wherein said order formbook is stored in said article holder.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein said service order tags are stored in said article holder.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein said locker further comprises a service order tag holder disposed on the exterior surface of said cabinet structure, and wherein said service order tags are stored in said service order tag holder.

15. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of, on a route service visit to said customer's premises, removing at least one article from said locker wherein said article has been tagged by said customer with one of said service order tags.

16. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of, on a route service visit to said customer's premises, removing at least one completed order form from said article holder, wherein said completed order form has been removed from said order formbook, completed, and placed into said article holder by said customer.

17. The method of claim 10, further comprising the step of, on a route service visit to said customer's premises, using said spring-loaded clamping member to affix a notice to said locker.

18. The method of claim 10, wherein said locker is provided in an employee locker room at the customer's premises.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the rental uniform service industry and, more particularly, to a locker and method for uniform repair and replacement.

2. DESCRIPTION OF THE RELATED ART

Many businesses require that their employees wear a uniform on the job. While in some cases employees are required to purchase and maintain their own uniform, some businesses prefer to utilize a uniform service, where uniforms are supplied and maintained by a uniform provider. Such a service typically includes laundry of the uniforms, providing a clean and fresh uniform on a scheduled basis and collecting the used and soiled uniforms for cleaning.

In addition to cleaning of uniforms, normal wear and tear dictate that some repair work be performed from time to time, as uniforms are damaged in the ordinary course of their use. Examples of such damage include lost buttons, a broken or jammed zipper, torn seams or hems, and more. Additionally, from time to time an employee may require a different size of uniform, or a different uniform type altogether.

A locker room is generally provided for the employees to change from their non-working clothes into their uniform. When a business employs a uniform service company, separate lockers are often provided for employees to receive their fresh clean uniform, and to deposit their used and soiled uniform. A representative for the uniform service company, generally servicing multiple business accounts, travels to each business's locker room to collect the used and soiled uniforms and deposit clean fresh uniforms.

When employees require a uniform repair or replacement, the uniform service company must be notified. An order form or repair request must be filled out, and a uniform item to be repair must be tagged. This presents a problem in that, often, a required order formbook, or repair tag, or the like, is misplaced, or left with a supervisor or contact person at the business. The employee may be unable to find the proper paperwork to correctly submit a repair or replacement request. If the request is improperly submitted, the uniform service company may be unable or unwilling to perform the requested service until additional, or corrected, information is provided.

Even if the employee finds and correctly completes the required paperwork, the paperwork is prone to misplacement. The employee may not know how to correctly submit paperwork requesting the repair or replacement, or a damaged article may be mishandled by the uniform service company, such as by mixing an item marked for repair into a collection of uniform items submitted for ordinary cleaning.

Thus a locker and method for uniform repair and replacement solving the aforementioned problems is desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The locker and method for uniform repair and replacement streamline and organize the tasks of submitting and servicing a uniform repair or replacement order. A locker for uniform repair and replacement has, disposed on it's exterior surfaces, means for organizing and receiving paperwork related to the task of submitting and processing a uniform repair or replacement order. An article holder attached to the locker is adapted to retain an order formbook and completed order forms for requesting a uniform repair or replacement. A tag holder attached to the locker is adapted to hold a supply of repair tags used to tag a uniform item for repair and to indicate the nature of the repair. A memo clip attached to the front surface of the locker is adapted to receive and retain paper notices or the like, such as notices from a uniform service company indicating a changed delivery or service schedule.

In a method for uniform repair and replacement, a locker having means for organizing and receiving paperwork related to the task of submitting and processing a uniform repair or replacement order as described is provided by a uniform service company at a business's premises where employees use uniforms supplied and serviced by the uniform service company. An order formbook is provided, and stored in the article holder attached to the locker. Along with the order formbook, a catalog from the uniform service company may be provided to inform the employees of various uniforms, uniform options, and services that may be ordered. A supply of repair tags is supplied by the uniform service company, and stored on the tag holder attached to the locker.

When an employee needs to order a uniform repair, the employee indicates the nature of the repair on the repair tag and completes an order form identifying the repair service required. The uniform item to be repaired is tagged by attaching the repair tag to the uniform item, and the uniform item is deposited into the locker. If the employee needs to order a new uniform item, without a repair, the new item order is so indicated on the order form, but no repair tag is needed. The order form is replaced, along with the order formbook, into the article holder on the locker.

When a representative for the uniform service company visits the business's premises for a delivery of clean uniforms, and to pick up used and soiled uniforms for cleaning, the representative checks for completed order forms in the article holder. The representative may also check for tagged uniform items within the locker. The tagged uniform items are collected, along with the completed order forms, and routed to the uniform service company. The representative may replenish the supplied repair tags, as well as the order form, as necessary.

Given the visual prominence of the repair tags and order forms on the locker, it is easy for the employee to find and complete the necessary paperwork for a repair or replacement order. Further, the representative will readily recognize when additional tags, order forms, or other materials must be provided.

These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of a locker for uniform repair and replacement according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the locker shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the locker shown in FIG. 1, with a front door opened to show the locker's interior.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a repair ticket for use with the locker shown in FIG. 1 in a method for uniform repair and replacement according to the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a repair order formbook for use with the locker shown in FIG. 1 in a method for uniform repair and replacement according to the present invention.

Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The present invention is a locker and method for uniform repair and replacement. The locker and method for uniform repair and replacement streamline and organize the tasks of submitting and servicing an order in a route delivery/service business such as a uniform rental service. In a uniform rental service business, employee uniforms are provided by a uniform rental service company.

In a scenario typical of a uniform rental service, illustrated in FIG. 1, a locker room 100 is provided on a business's premises. Within the locker room 100, employee clothing lockers 102 are maintained, for uniform storage, along with one or more receptacles 104 wherein used, soiled uniform items are deposited. According to the present invention, a locker 10 for uniform repair and replacement is provided on the business's premises, and preferably within the locker room 100 near the receptacles 104.

The uniform service company typically provides clean uniforms, delivered into the employee clothing lockers 102, on a regular schedule. When a uniform service company representative visits the business's premises to deliver clean uniforms, the representative removes soiled items from the receptacles 104 to be cleaned. Because repairs to uniform items are sometimes required, because of damage to the uniform such as lost buttons, a broken or jammed zipper, torn seams or hems, and more that occurs with ordinary usage of a uniform, a locker 10 for uniform repair and replacement is provided on the business's premises according to the present invention. Damaged uniform items are deposited into the locker 10 for uniform repair and replacement.

Turning now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the locker 10 for uniform repair and replacement comprises generally a cabinet structure 12 having an interior space 16 and an openable front door 18. The cabinet structure 12 has an exterior surface 14, including a front surface 20 of the front door 18. The front door 18 of the locker 10 has an opening 22 defined therein, and may include a cover 24 over the opening 22. In the embodiment illustrated, the cover 22 is hinged at its top and configured to open inwardly into the cabinet structure 12. Within the interior space 16, a receptacle 26 may be removably disposed for collection of uniform items deposited into the locker 10. A lock 28 may be provided on the front door 18, to limit access to the interior space 16 to authorized persons such as representatives from the uniform service company.

The locker 10 includes means, disposed on exterior surfaces of the locker, for organizing and receiving paperwork related to the task of submitting and processing a uniform repair or replacement order. These include an article holder 30, a repair tag holder 36, and a memo clip 42.

The article holder 30 comprises at least one wall member 31 formed of plastic, metal, or another suitable material to define a receptacle having a closed bottom 32 and an open top 34. The article holder 30 is attached to an exterior surface of the locker 10. The article holder 30 is adapted to receive, and removably retain, an order formbook 50 provided by the uniform service company. Additionally, other items may be stored within the article holder 30 including a product catalog describing the goods and services offered by the uniform service company, pens or markers for completing the forms, and so forth. Completed order forms will also be placed into the article holder 30 as employees request uniform repair work, uniform replacements, or new items.

A repair tag holder 36A illustrated in FIG. 2 comprises at least one wall member 62 defining a receptacle having an open top 64 and a closed bottom 66, similar to the article holder 30. A supply of repair tags 54 may be placed in the repair tag holder 36A for storage. FIG. 3 shows another type of repair tag holder 36B, comprising a mounting plate 38 fastened to an exterior surface 14 of the cabinet structure 12, and a wire hanger member 40 extending from the mounting plate 38. The repair tag holder 36B is adapted to hold one or more repair tags 54, the repair tags 54 being hung on the wire hanger member 40.

The memo clip 42 is a spring-loaded clamping member disposed on the front surface 20 of the front door 18, the memo clip 42 being adapted to grip and retain papers on said front door 18, such as paper notices or the like. Because of the location of the memo clip 42 on the front surface 20 of the front door 18, papers such as notices retained by the memo clip 42 are prominently visible to employees of the business, the uniform service company representatives, and others associated with the uniform delivery service. The memo clip 42 is shown holding a memo pad 43 on the front door 18 of the locker 10.

Turning now to FIG. 4, a repair tag 54 is shown. The repair tag 54 is attached to a uniform item to indicate the nature of a requested repair, the requested repair indicated by appropriately marking the repair tag. The repair tag 54 includes an elastic cord loop 55 to facilitate attachment of the repair tag 54 to the uniform item.

Turning now to FIG. 5, an order formbook 50 is shown. The order formbook 50 is a generally conventional formbook containing at least one order form 52. Typically, each order form 52 is a multi-part form providing at least one order form copy 52a, although other forms may be used. When an employee requires a uniform repair, or a replacement of a uniform item, or the employee desires a new product or service, an order form 52 is removed from the order formbook 50 and completed to indicate the employee's need. A completed order form 52 is replaced, along with the order formbook 50, in the article holder 30.

In a method for uniform repair and replacement, a locker 10 for uniform repair and replacement, as described above having means for organizing and receiving paperwork related to the task of submitting and processing a uniform repair or replacement order, is provided by a uniform service company at a business's premises. An order formbook 50 is provided, and stored in the article holder 30 attached to the locker 10. Along with the order formbook 50, a catalog from the uniform service company may be provided to inform the employees of various uniforms, uniform options, and services that may be ordered. A supply of repair tags 54 is supplied by the uniform service company, and stored on the tag holder 36 attached to the locker 10.

When an employee needs to order a uniform repair, the employee indicates the nature of the repair on a repair tag 54 and completes an order form 52 identifying the repair service required, using one of the repair tags 54 supplied on the tag holder 36 and an order form 52 removed from the order formbook stored in the article holder 30. The uniform item to be repaired is tagged by attaching the completed repair tag 54 to the uniform item, and the uniform item is deposited into the locker 10. If the employee needs to order a new uniform item, or another item offered by the uniform service company, without a repair, the new item order is so indicated on an order form 52, but no repair tag 54 is needed. The order form 52 is replaced, along with the order formbook 50, into the article holder 30 on the locker.

When a representative for the uniform service company visits the business's premises for a delivery of clean uniforms, and to pick up used and soiled uniforms for cleaning, the representative checks for completed order forms 52 in the article holder 30. The representative may also check for tagged uniform items, having a repair tag 54 attached, within the locker 10. The tagged uniform items are collected, along with the completed order forms 52, and routed to the uniform service company for servicing. The representative may replenish the supplied repair tags 54, as well as the order formbook 50, as necessary.

It can be recognized that, while the present invention is described in the context of a uniform rental service, the present invention is widely applicable to numerous similar route service businesses wherein a route service business representative visits a customer location to provide and manage a product or article service for the customer. It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiment described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.