When Michael Crouch took control of a small Sydney manufacturer of domestic water heaters in 1962 little did he suspect that within the next fifty years his enterprise would grow to be a world leader in a highly innovative and rapidly advancing product category, instant boiling water.
Today, Australian designed and Australian made Zip instant boiling water systems of many kinds are used daily around the world by millions of people, and are exported to meet a growing demand in more than sixty countries.
Small on-wall Zip instant boiling water heaters were introduced to Australia early in the nineteen-eighties, and the Zip “little white box with a red tap”, which gave boiling water as soon as you touched the tap, steadily gained in popularity.
It was not too long before Zip instant boiling water could be found in office tea rooms and kitchens across the continent, in restaurants and canteens, schools, universities, hospitals, clinics, and in fact anywhere tea and coffee are brewed.
Architects and hydraulic consultants were impressed by the energy efficiency and safety aspects of Zip instant boiling water systems and Michael Crouch soon found ready markets abroad for this Australian innovation, first in New Zealand and South-East Asia, then in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Middle East.
As Zip expanded, Michael Crouch also expanded his executive team to take advantage of fresh opportunities presented by emerging technology -- in new product development, sales and marketing, and commercial operations. The team now includes his son, George, who has trained in every area of operation.
The Company sets great store on innovation, which paid off in the nineteen-nineties with the introduction of a new concept in instant boiling water, an under-bench boiling water system with a tap on the sink above.
That, in turn, led to development of Zip HydroTap, a fresh concept in instant boiling water systems, with an under-bench control cabinet delivering boiling and chilled filtered water through an electronically controlled tap on the sink.
That innovation opened up the residential market for instant boiling water in a big way, and Zip HydroTap boiling and chilled filtered water systems now can be seen in prestige homes and apartments, not only in Australia, but in the United Kingdom and Europe, Middle East, South-East Asia, and even in the Americas.
In a newspaper interview in 2011, Michael Crouch told the interviewer: “… we get such a great kick out of innovating things… we are always thinking what can we do, and how can we do it better”.
One outcome of that corporate stance is the introduction by Zip of energy saving sustainability technology that reduces the operating cost of some instant boiling water systems by more than fifty percent over earlier models.
Another is the introduction of healthier inbuilt water filtration twenty five times finer than water filtration of the past, filtering out chemical tastes and odours as never before to provide crystal-clear better-tasting water, boiling or chilled.
More innovations and more export markets lie ahead. Zip HydroTap will dispense sparkling chilled filtered drinking water as well as boiling and chilled filtered water. Other models will give boiling, chilled, hot and cold water from a single tap, simplifying compact kitchen design. Energy saving and safety features will be enhanced.
Zip continues to represent a real-world example of the rewards of innovation.