Deloitte 8-3-2020

Deloitte Best Managed Companies

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Business Post March8,2020

Anofficeservices companyyoucan trulycounton ‘Weknowwhere theheart of our business should be’ –and that is the customer, Donal Garrihy, chief executive of 2468, tells ArleneHarris

“The addition of snacking to our refreshment services came in 2014, and, in 2015, we acquired Ferns coffee brand and roastery in the UK, where operations were organisedbetweenthreehubs in Basingstoke, Warrington and Newcastle.” Garrihyput thecompany’s growthovertheyearsdownto three key strategic priorities: “clarity, team and service”. “Our growth has always been informed by having a very clear track. We know where the heart of our busi- ness should be,” he said. “This plays out in strategic acquisitions and in targeting the right sectors for organ- ic growth. We don’t want to dominate themarket,we just want to excel in our corner.” For Garrihy, being “cus- tomer-obsessed” is equally important.“It’saboutbringing that level of commitment to each contract,” he said. “Our brand line says ‘you cancountonus’.Whilenever underplaying the power of a good pun, the line has real meaning for us.” 2468isoneof11companies intheGoldStandardcategory of this year’s Best Managed Companies Awards pro- gramme.

Pete Smyth, chief executive, Broadlake and Donal Garrihy, chief executive, 2468 Group. Picture: Maura Hickey

E stablished in Co Meath in 2003, of- fice services c o mp a ny 2468 has seen cus- tomer num- bers in the years since grow to9,000inIrelandandBritain. The Dunboyne company’s workplace services range fromtheoutsourcedprovision of snacks and coffee towater and washroomproducts. Itscustomers spanlogistics andtransport,healthcareand the public sector, financial,

technology, retail andprofes- sional services. Two years ago, 2468 em- barked on a strategic plan with the aim of increasing bothturnoverandstaffnum- bers. AccordingtoDonalGarrihy, founder and chief executive at 2468Group, underpinning themovewas thecompany’s keen focus on offering cus- tomers a “personalised ser- vice”. “The workplace is an of- ten-untapped resource and our vision has been to help exploit it,” said Garrihy.

“We reorganised our ap- proach around a deeper un- derstanding of workplace services and their role in the employee workplace expe- rience.” 2468 employs 90 people at itsheadquartersinDunboyne, asecondIrishofficeinWater- ford and four hubs inBritain: in Basingstoke, Warrington, NewcastleandBournemouth. “Thisyear,wewill increase ouroperationsandroadcrew numbers. We’ll continue to invest in our people, bring- ing innovation inour training techniques,” said Garrihy.

and acquisitions. “The company started life as a specialist watercooler company and we expand- ed into the UK in 2008, be- fore extending services into washroomandcoffeethrough strategic acquisitions in both sectors,” said Garrihy.

Thecompanytargetsorgan- isationsemploying100people ormore.“Ouragilityandabil- itytodeliverabespokeservice foreachopportunityiscentral to our route to market,” said Garrihy. “That’s our point of differ- ence. It extends fromthefirst

contactwithourbusinessde- velopment team, throughthe creation of a bespoke equip- ment andservice solution, to implementation and service delivery.” Garrihy started his career in the watercooler business, leadingsales forOasisWater-

coolers,aUScompany,across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He established 2468 in 2013, backed by Broadlake, the Irish private equity firm. In the years since, he said the company had grown throughbothorganic growth

BestManagedCompanies Awards: thecreamof thecrop This year’s DeloitteBest Managed Companies Awards produced 11GoldStandard winners Paschal Naylor, Arkphire David Jeffreys, ActionPoint

we deliver coffee, snacking, waterandwashroomservices tomorethan9,000customers in Ireland and Britain. Ouroperationsarerunfrom a headquarters in Dunboyne and our British hubs in Bas- ingstoke, Warrington and Newcastle. We roast our own coffee and our coffee brand, Ferns, is over 125 years old. We design, deliver and managebespokerefreshment solutions for our customers andwe keep the employee at the centre of our designs and our service. We maintain equipment withapersonalservice,which our customers can count on. Our mission is to provide a better workplace experience for everyone. Web: 2468group.com AcornLife Group Established more than 30 years ago, Acorn Life is a 100 per cent Irish-owned life as- surance company providing protection, pensions, savings and investment products. AcornLife’s success is built on providing financial advice

Since being awarded Best Managed Company status, McAree Engineering has grown on the back of amajor €7millioninvestmentincapa- bility and facilities, including a new 40,000 sq ft factory, which opened last year at its Ballinode site. Web: mcaree-eng.com Openet Openet provides digital busi- ness support software that enablestelecomsservicepro- viders to create new revenue streams fromdigital services, improve customer engage- ment and prepare for the op- portunities 5Gwill bring. Sinceitsfoundationin1999, Openet has been at the fore- front of telecoms software developmentandinnovation. Our success is personified by the many long-term re- lationships we have fostered withthelargest,mostprogres- sive,anddemandingoperators Founded in 2003, Seopa is a Belfast-basedfintechcompa- ny that was an early pioneer in the development of price comparison technologies. The company continues to use its proprietary quote engines to enable more than three million users to com- pare quotes for more than 70 financial products each year. Seopa’s Quotezone.co.uk platformhasgrowntobecome one of the leading compari- sonwebsites inBritain, while CompareNI.comleadstheway in the North. Seopa’s proprietary tech- nology also powers the com- parison services for some of Britain’s biggest names in fi- nancialservices,digitalmedia and consumer technology. Web: seopa.com VizorSoftware Vizor Software is the global leaderinsuptechsolutionsfor financialsupervisors,regtech solutionsforfinancialinstitu- tionsandcross-border infor- mationexchangesoftwarefor tax authorities. Privately-owned, Vizor SoftwarewasfoundedinDub- linin2000,andsincethenhas aimedtofacilitatetheseamless exchangeofdatabetweenthe regulated and the regulator. In the two decades since, the company has completed successful software imple- mentations for many of the world’s leading supervisory authorities. VizorSoftwarehasthemost experienced team in the in- dustry and prides itself in the completenessandprofession- alismof the services that sur- round our product solutions. Its deep collaborationwith some of the world’s leading competent authorities has been fundamental to its suc- cess, and will continue to be so in the future. Web: vizorsoftware.com across the globe. Web: openet.com Seopa

Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Greg Wilson, chief executive, Seopa

Putting customers in touchwithabetter deal

T he Best Managed Companies Awards programmerunson a three-year cycle. Winners in year one are eligible to re-quali- fy for years two and three by undergoing a requalification process.Toqualifyforafourth consecutive year, requalifiers mustcompletetheentiretwo- phaseapplicationandadjudi- cation process afresh. If they succeed,theyachievetheBest ManagementCompaniesGold Standard.Hereisthefulllistof this year's 11 Gold Standard winners. 2468 Founded in Ireland in 2003,

through long-term relation- ships in local communities. At the end of 2019, Acorn Life had assets of €845 mil- lionandpremiumincomewas €118million during the year. Web: acornlife.ie

Club Travel Limited which is 100percentIrish-ownedand managed. Web: atlas.ie Flynn Flynn is a forward-think- ing construction and fit-out company,attractingambitious and innovative projects, both internationally and at home. Effective collaboration is at theheart of all thatwedo.We forgestrongrelationshipswith ourpeople,partners,subcon- tractors and clients, pooling our collective expertise and ideas. This allows us to deliver buildings and spaces that ex- ceed expectations and shape ourcommunitiesforthebetter. Web: flynnmc.com LabelTech Label Techwas established in 1992 and, since its inception, has become Ireland’s largest independent label producer. Withmultipleawardsunder itsbelt, Label Techhas always prided itself on its dedication to quality and service. With revenues in excess of €8.8 million per year, Label Tech is well placed, through innovation and investment in technology, to maximise growth opportunities, both domesticallyandinternation- ally in 2020. More than €1.5million has beeninvestedinthepastthree yearsin,amongstotherthings, a new digital press, quality inspection kit, software and finishing machine add-ons. A further €500,000 is ear- marked for investment in the year ahead. LabelTechoffersagility,fast decision-making capability, accountability and the ability to build relationships which offerchallengestoglobalcom- petitors in this sector. Web: labeltech.ie McAree Engineering Works McAree Engineering is a third-generationfamilybusi- nessoperatingoutofthreefac- tories in north CoMonaghan. Employing more than 150 people, it is one of Ireland’s leadingsheetmetalfabrication companies. It provides a design and manufacturing service to leading OEMs across the is- land of Ireland as well as de- signingandmanufacturingits V-Mac range of bulk storage handling solutions.

set up a software develop- ment company to do that,” he said. Seopa’s comparison tech- nology has been continually optimised and enhanced in the intervening years in or- der toensure it remainsat the cutting edge. In addition to developing consumer-focused price comparison systems, Seopa alsomakesfinancialcompar- ison systems for commercial customers. The company employs 30 people in Belfast and 20 in Romania. “We plan to create 31 newjobs inBelfast at vari- ouslevelswithinthenexttwo

years in order to achieve our company’sambitiousgrowth plans,” saidWilson. Seopa is one of one of the winners in the Gold Stan- dard category of this year’s Best Managed Companies Awards. “I’ve been leading Seopa for 17 years now and, in that time, as well as making my shareofmistakes,I’velearned a few valuable lessons too,” saidWilson. “It’s important to remem- ber to invest in your future. Sometimes, companies can be too focusedonshort-term profit, rather than thinking strategically about growth.”

BY LORRAINE COURTNEY E Seopa to compare prices for a whole range of financial products from hundreds of different providers. The fintech firm, which specialises in creating and running price comparison engines, plans to double its workforce inthecityover the next two years. Seopa runs CompareNI. com, a price comparison site in theNorth, andQuotezone. co.uk,aninsurancecompari- son platform in Britain. “Aswellasourownbrands, we alsoworkwith a range of high-traffic websites,” said Greg Wilson, founder and chief executive at Seopa. “We integrate branded comparison engines into their sites, providing better deals for their customers and newrevenuestreamsfortheir business.” AccordingtoWilson,Seopa currently runs more than 70 differentcomparisonsystems. “Some are designed to help consumers compare quotes for things like cars, vans, homes,motorbikes, pets, bi- cycles,campervansandtravel insurance,” he said. “Others are tailor-made to helpsmallbusinessesandsole traders find better deals on their commercial insurance policies.” InBritain,Quotezone.co.uk isoneof just 11pricecompar- ison sites approved and ac- creditedbyOfgemforenergy switching. Wilson started Seopa as a result of apart-timehobby. “I wasworkingas a stress engi- neerjustafteruniversityback in 2000,” he said. “I figuredout howtomake websitesandgetthemtorank insearchengines for popular search terms. “Eventually, I realised I could make this into a busi- ness by putting people that are searching for things like car insurance in touch with car insurance providers who wouldpaymeacommission.” Wilson quit his job in 2003 and set up an SEO company, which quickly led him to set up Seopa. “I soonrealisedthat I could drivemorevalue for custom- ersbydeveloping technology to compare insurance prices, rather than just listing offers from insurers, and so, in 2004, I flew to Romania and veryyear,morethan threemillionpeople in Britain use soft- ware developed by Belfast company

ActionPoint Technology Group

ActionPointisaninternational leaderinthedesignandprovi- sion of bespoke software and IT solutions. HeadquarteredinLimerick, the company is renowned for thedeliveryofhighlycomplex and secure solutions such as the online Passport Renewal systemfor theDepartment of Foreign Affairs. The companywas founded in 2005 byUL graduates John SavageandDavidJeffreysand is a five-time Deloitte Tech- nology Fast 50winner. In 2019, ActionPoint ac- quired a leading Azure cloud servicesfirminLisburn,grew our turnover to €18 million and increased our headcount to 100. Web: actionpoint.ie Arkphire Arkphire is a leading ITprod- uct procurement and IT ser- vices company, serving cus- tomers from within Ireland and internationally. Following its acquisition of TrilogyTechnologies in2020, Arkphireisnowpositionedas thelargestandfastest-growing Irish-headquartered IT pro- curement and IT managed services business. The Arkphire group em- ploys more than 200 people andgeneratesrevenuesofover €150million. Arkphire has an unrivalled network of partnership ac- creditations with leading global IT vendors. Among Trilogy’s partners are Amazon Web Services, Citrix, Check Point, IBM, Mi- crosoft, Oracle and Sophos. Arkphire’s IT procurement business delivers solutions to more than 90 countries. Web: arkphire.com AtlasTravel AtlasTravel isadifferentkind of corporate travel manage- ment company: one that lis- tens to client needs, values innovation and solves client problems with brilliant sim- plicity through smart solu- tions, and exceptional ser- vice. Atlas Travel is part of

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Proud to requalify as a Deloitte Best Managed Company 2020

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