Haybrooke adds new features to PaaS as revenue booms

Roche: All communication between customers and suppliers is now kept within PaaS
Roche: All communication between customers and suppliers is now kept within PaaS

Print procurement specialist Haybrooke has added two major new features to its 'printing as a service' (PaaS) procurement model, as the business celebrates major growth due to the success of the 18-month-old offering.

PaaS now offers built-in instant messaging between customers and suppliers. This allows for all written buying communications to take place within the system, meaning there is no longer a requirement for emails or other external communication methods.

Also newly launched for PaaS is a module for supplier ratings by customers. This enables PaaS customers to rate their suppliers, out of five stars, on their quality, delivery, and communication performance. They can also add comments underneath the rating.

Both modules were written in-house by Leicester-based Haybrooke and do not use a plugin.

John Roche, chief executive of the eight-staff business, said both new features have had a positive response from its user group and that there had been an increase in activity in the system as a result.

He told Printweek: “We introduced instant messaging because PaaS connects customers with suppliers in a very unique way and we wanted the system to contain all of the communication and the traffic that goes between the customer and the supplier.

“We looked at potentially integrating third-party instant communications, because there are some plugins out there, but in the end we decided that it would be better if we kept the whole thing in-house, so we effectively wrote our own instant messaging.

“Since we’ve implemented it, we’ve found that it has gravitated the use around the product much greater, because customers were previously skipping outside the system every now and then to have telephone chats and email conversations with suppliers whereas it’s now kept self-contained within the system.

“It’s given us a much better opportunity to audit what happens between a customer and a supplier, especially if there is any kind of dispute – we can look back at an audit trail of communication between them without asking them to have to trawl through emails and telephone logs, and we can see exactly what happened in terms of communication between the customer and supplier.”

On the new module for supplier ratings, Roche added the business wanted to give customers the opportunity to tell Haybrooke about their experience with the suppliers, with the information then also fed back to the suppliers.

“Again, we thought about third-party plugins but in the end we decided that it would be better if we owned the intellectual property and so we basically wrote a star rating system, where at the completion of every order the customer rates the supplier out of five stars in terms of their quality, delivery, and communication.

“They’re also given the opportunity to add additional comments underneath those star ratings. We’ve already found that to be incredibly useful because sometimes when a customer has had an experience with a supplier that’s not 100% for whatever reason, often they’ll be happy to talk about that after the job in the comments whereas otherwise they would just keep it to themselves and remain disgruntled.

“So we can now actively follow that up if they have an issue, and we can try and address that problem before it becomes a major issue with one of the suppliers.”

Haybrooke’s revenues exceeded £1m for the first time in its history in its provisional accounts for the year ending 31 May 2022, representing growth of 70.6% year-on-year. A slight loss was also turned into "a decent profit" said Roche, who attributed the company's growth to the introduction of PaaS, launched in January 2021 as a trade-only outsourcing service that connects print buyers with printers.

He added the company is expecting to see continued growth, with a target of £2m turnover for the current financial year.

PaaS has also been recognised in various major awards schemes, with Haybrooke being shortlisted for five awards for the service in the last year.

PaaS was highly commended in last November’s Boss industry awards for Best Service Provider. It was the winner of LeicestershireLive’s Innovation in Business Improvement award in February and has also been shortlisted for an award in the Stationers’ Innovation Awards, taking place in November.

More recently, it has been shortlisted in the Business Innovation category in the SME National Business Awards 2022, with the ceremony set to be held at Wembley Stadium on 2 December.

It has also just reached the finals of the British Business Awards 2022 for the Most Innovative Business Idea of the Year for PaaS. The awards ceremony will take place in October in London.

In May, Haybrooke signed a deal with Specsavers to provide the optical retail chain with “a combination of print buying solutions and services”.