A view from the bridge…An interview with Derek Huff, Managing Director
For the past 30 years, Managing Director – Derek Huff – has been at the helm of Integrated Design Limited. A graduate electronic engineer by qualification, Derek started his working life designing equipment for medical applications, such as blood sample analysis, before moving into the security industry, working for a group that created products which utilised infrared detection.
In its original form, Integrated Design Limited was a design house, working with clients to solve specific design problems across multiple sectors. Derek’s particular interest was in computer vision and robotics; particularly designing computers that could ‘see’, and interpret this data to enable them to control mechanisms.
Today, IDL only designs products for its own portfolio, with the first turnstile products being sold to Ernst & Young in London in the late ’80s. With customers now in sectors including transport, social media, hospitals, banking and technology, the company is going from strength to strength.
Derek’s understanding of the visual impact of the products as being as important as the effectiveness of the technology is what differentiates the company from its competitors.
“We understand that customers have a choice, so we want to make sure that our products tick all the boxes. They are technologically sound – making them effective, reliable and user-friendly – as well as aesthetically pleasing to suit the environments that they are being used to secure. We want to be proud of what we create, so we apply very high standards during the design and prototyping stages to ensure that our products are the best they can possibly be.”
The high standards have been critical in driving one of the company’s key characteristics – reliability.
“When supplying products in the security sector, we don’t believe that there is a place for uncertainty. Our customers need the products to work from day one and key to this is retaining our own manufacturing facility on-site. This means that there is a very close connection between design, sales and manufacturing which results in a better product. It is very easy to get feedback from the shop floor that an alteration needs to be made to the design to ensure a better fit, which results in less ‘muscling-through’ and, ultimately, a superior product.”
IDL is a company which recognises staff retention is key to service delivery. We are rightly proud of the fact that 50% of the current workforce has always worked for the company. Derek explains:
“What we want to create are long-term relationships; with our customers, our suppliers and our staff. If you bought a turnstile from us five years ago, it is highly likely that the person you dealt with is still at the company and that results in a better experience for the customer, who may not have needed to speak to us in the intervening period because of the reliability of the products.”
Following on from the introduction of the initial turnstile product, IDL has gone on to create a portfolio of over 40 products, and introduced non-turnstile options including Door Detective and complimentary products such as Fastlane Connect and a range of floor protectors and infill systems.
The company has had its products installed in six continents, including in some of the world’s most iconic buildings such as the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the Aldar HQ in Abu Dhabi and the new world Trade towers in NYC. In the past 30 years, IDL has achieved a huge amount and we are confident that there are more great things ahead.
You can learn more about the IDL team and the people behind your projects here.
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