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Intatec at Ten: Plumbing, People and Phones

As one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of anti-scald bathroom products celebrates ten years since becoming a stand-alone business, the directors at Intatec are reflecting on a decade of success, as they face challenges far removed from its launch day.

Created in 2002 as a small offshoot of another business, the aim of Intatec was to bring thermostatic control to the bathrooms of Britain. After a period of product development, and testing the market initially with TMV2 and TMV3 anti-scald valves and showers, in May 2010 around a dozen staff joined founders Cynthia Fisher, Barry Humphreys and Stuart Gizzi at a newly fitted out facility in Staffordshire to begin properly under the Inta brand. Since then Sales Director Darran Bougourd has joined the board.

The initial problem with the new head office and warehouse, despite plenty of stock and months of planning, was the absence of a telephone or internet connection. Even the mobile phone signal was patchy.

Managing Director Stuart Gizzi said: “The launch into our new premises was the most carefully thought through project that any of us had ever been involved with, but despite promises and due dates with plenty of room for manoeuvre, our brand new network just wasn’t connected.

“We had to rely on mobile phones, with the team having to find the best part of the car park to get a signal to talk to customers. It was a time when fax machines were dying out, but we couldn’t even use one of those.

“But right from day one, we managed and we fulfilled every order, with a dedicated team who were instantly resourceful to make sure we delivered.

“Ten years on, as the world is in the midst of a Covid crisis, the tables are turned – we have the technology and high-speed connectivity that allows our teams to work from home. With the dedication of the warehousing staff, who quickly devised a socially distanced, safe way of working, we have been able to fulfil every order that our customers want.

“In 2010, the place was full of people with no connectivity. In 2020, the offices are empty but properly connected, so the people who need to can work from home.”

Since the Covid lockdown began, products on Inta’s most wanted list include HTM lever operated taps that have gone into some of the new Nightingale hospitals and touch-free anti-scald taps, for customers who are revising their washroom facilities for when the lockdown is lifted.

In 2020 Intatec has around 60 staff, a turnover in excess of £30m and has had to extend and reconfigure its warehouse to accommodate extra stock and product lines.

Stuart Gizzi continues: “We have dedicated ourselves to quality, safety and style and I think we have achieved that.

“In our early days we were campaigning to help bring anti-scald legislation into the Building Regulations and it’s one of my personal highlights that we’ve been instrumental in doing that, bringing an anti-scald message to not only the industry but to the plumbing trade.

“In 2010 our InatSol valve won an H&V News Award – it allows solar-heated, unvented hot water cylinders to be linked with a combi boiler. Over the past ten years, we have had ten consistent nominations. I’m really pleased that over that time we’ve managed to keep our innovation going and that this year, we’re shortlisted in the product of the year category again..”

In addition to safe and stylish bathroom products, Inta also launched its industry-acclaimed heating and plumbing arm three years ago, covering everything from magnetic filters to thermostatic radiator valves.

Stuart concluded: “I am really proud of what we have achieved as a team over the years, but right now I’m proud that we have managed to keep going to support people in the front line fighting the virus with the products that they need, and also that we are in the right place to support plumbers and tradespeople, as they fight to get their businesses back on track when the lockdown is lifted.

“Our Intamix thermostatic mixing valve has become the ‘industry go to’ as we sold our millionth unit in 2013, which I think is a good indication that we are getting our product ranges right. Plus, with us frequently winning the supplier of the year award across a number of buying groups, I think we have our people and product mix about right too.

“I want to say thank you to the people and businesses who have supported us over the years and I wish everyone the very best of luck for the challenging decade that we all have ahead.”