Based in Cardiff, 2buy2.com is a leading procurement firm specialising in supporting faith organisations, businesses, charities and the education sector to save money through smarter procurement.
The company plans significant growth thanks to participating in the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation and Learning Program (MIT ILP). It has also obtained valuable insights into future-proofing its purpose-driven service business.
Here Rob Kissick, CEO of 2buy2.com, shares how the AGP and MIT collaboration has benefitted the company by allowing it to focus more resources on delivering on its purpose and social impact ambitions.
Tell us about 2buy2.com
We are a procurement business that helps organisations reduce costs without compromising quality. We have an established national client base with specific expertise in supporting businesses, churches, charities and educational establishments. We were founded in 2009 by myself and my business partner Russell Stables.
Our vision is to be an industry leader in raising standards of procurement and purchasing globally. Our offer to clients is simple; we offer a personal approach and tailored advice and support to help you maximise your investment in procurement. We create deep and long-lasting partnerships that allow our clients to prosper, and they benefit from strategic advice, practical education and supplier protection.
Our services have helped thousands of organisations save millions of pounds through our technologies and smarter, more strategic procurement. And beyond that, we know our services have a tangible social impact – our clients can reinvest every penny we save for them into frontline delivery.
For example, I'm proud to say that we have assisted over 8,000 churches in optimising their procurement so they can dedicate more resources to their community missions. Alongside our core services, we are expanding into sustainability initiatives through 2buy2 Green, helping organisations transition towards Net Zero Carbon. By purchasing energy, including 100% renewable electricity, from the wholesale market, we have also helped many organisations navigate the current energy crisis by securing more affordable prices.
Tell us how you navigated the challenges presented by COVID.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges for 2buy2.com. We responded by adapting our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. The pandemic also completely changed how we do business – we now have a UK-wide flexible team working remotely. This has allowed us to be closer to our customers, more agile and responsive. It has also allowed us to find and retain the best talent in our space. The other side of that coin is that we've had to work hard to ensure we have effective well-being strategies and that our team feel fully supported should they struggle. We have had a lot of support in this area from AGP, which has helped us in our efforts to build a nurturing, well-being-first culture. Despite this radical change in how we work, I'm proud to say that our staff retention rate is better than ever.
How has support from Business Wales AGP benefited your business?
Being part of the Business Wales AGP has been instrumental in 2buy2.com's growth. Through the AGP, we have received coaching support and expert guidance on organisational development, business growth strategies, and HR management. This support has been invaluable in shaping our operations and strategy. Our relationship manager, Howard Jones, has a sound grasp of our needs and challenges as a business and has been excellent at ''matchmaking'' us with relevant expert coaches, all of whom have added significant value to our operations.
Tell us about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Innovation and Learning Program (MIT ILP) and how you got involved?
The MIT Industrial Liaison Program (ILP) is a membership-based program for large organisations interested in long-term, strategic relationships with MIT. It allows organisations from around the globe – in any sector – to access emerging research and education that will be transformative. Welsh Government's membership allows businesses on the AGP to access cutting-edge resources, materials, and activities. When I learned from our relationship manager about the opportunity to be part of this collaboration, I jumped at the chance. In particular, I was keen to learn more about how technological developments could benefit our business and help us deliver even more value for our customers. And where better to learn than at MIT?
What were the benefits of participating in the MIT ILP program through AGP?
Participation in the MIT ILP program through AGP has been transformative for us. The program enhanced our knowledge base significantly, which in turn helped us refine our strategies and enabled us to deliver enhanced services. One example of this is the adoption of AI. Before participating in the programme, I assumed AI was more suitable for big businesses with big budgets to spend. When I visited MIT in Boston, I had a real "eureka" moment when I learned that AI could work for businesses of all sizes. And it's not about taking jobs but about automating repetitive tasks to free human beings up to focus on more strategic tasks. This was a game-changer for me. We are now looking at how we expand the use of AI across our customer service operations and even for generating content. It's allowed us to spend much more time on the things that matter most.
Taking part in the MIT ILP gave me valuable insight into emerging business trends and developments. These learnings have influenced our business strategy and operations, enabling us to stay ahead of the curve and incorporate innovative digital solutions into our procurement processes. As we navigate challenges and embrace the future, we remain committed to raising procurement standards across all sectors.
Learn more about 2buy2.com.
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The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.