Smart procurement for education sector

Driving up buying power, driving down prices

Mike Haslin, Chief Executive Officer at TUCO, The University Caterers Organisation, discusses how to achieve value for money in these unpredictable times

“Ultimately we want to offer market-leading value for money. TUCO procurement services are available to all education sector caterers, and can be used to leverage buying position, ensuring members secure the best available pricing.

“With as much as 80% of the hospitality sector but only 5% of the education sector using an eProcurement system, the sector is fast catching up to the benefits of online procurement systems. It’s estimated benefits of up to 50% can to be made in administration savings alone and a further 10% through transparent product pricing.

“As catering procurement experts, TUCO is a wholly transparent, not for profit organisation. Delivering elevated levels of value for money it has a strong heritage in the higher and further education sector, but all public-sector catering operations including schools and local authorities can join and benefit from its procurement frameworks.

“Over the past few months, we have introduced several new and exciting procurement tools to support caterers cut costs and increase operational efficiencies.

Already purchasing over £140million of goods and services for our members through 20 EU compliant frameworks agreements, we deliver in excess of £8million in savings per annum through our procurement services.

“TUCO aim to embed sustainable procurement within all aspects of their members’ businesses. We aim to play our part, not just in driving down prices but in delivering a true value for money, sustainable service.”

The University Caterers Organisation focuses on four key categories; Share, Learn, Buy and Grow

For members to share best practice UK-wide through working groups, regional meetings and networking events

As an organisation we are committed to supporting and engaging with our members in all aspects of their business. Our annual event, the TUCO Winter Conference, coming up in December at Queen’s University, Belfast is the perfect opportunity to start engaging with TUCO and realising the opportunities it can bring to your business.

To boost skills, knowledge and development through our award-winning TUCO Academy where you can join a range of accredited courses and study tours

The TUCO Academy aspires to be the first-choice provider for learning and development. All courses, whether face to face or online, and all Development Days and Study Tours have been designed and created to meet specific demands from members, including business outcomes, and to recognise emerging trends in hospitality and catering. The courses span training and development needs from entry level to senior manager and director level in Universities and Colleges.

New to 2018, the academy collaborated with London South Bank University (LSBU) School of Law and Social Sciences to deliver a master’s degree in Hospitality Leadership in Universities and the Public Sector. The unique post-graduate course has been a working process for approximately two years, with the first candidates starting in January 2019. More information can be found at where registrations are now open through UCAS.

To cut costs without compromising on quality, increase profit and improve sustainability through smarter procurement

Benefits of TUCO procurement
Spend analysis: TUCO can conduct a detailed evaluation of your institution’s food and beverage spend, identifying opportunities to create further value.
Further competition: We can run mini-competitions on our frameworks, asking approved suppliers to tender for your specific basket of goods; maximising additional cost savings.
Product switching: TUCO can help your institution cut costs further by ensuring core list compliance. We can also help you find lower priced, comparable products to create added savings.
Product rationalisation: Refining the number of lines you purchase can generate big cost savings. Let TUCO help you shrink your basket and see the benefit to your bottom line.
Supplier rationalisation: Managing masses of suppliers is costly and laborious. We can prioritise your supply base - reducing numbers if necessary; improving engagement and cutting costs.

By using TUCO’s research and case studies, keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and consumer preferences helping to build your business

At TUCO we recognise the importance and the power of intelligent insight. An example of this is our Global Food & Beverage Trends Report. In this report we seek to help caterers achieve financial advantage in the market place. Our report delivers an in-depth understanding of current and emerging market trends which are influencing Millennial and Gen Z consumers. Proactively responding to these trends can have a positive impact on bottom line.

Through our TUCO Research platform benchmarking surveys, intelligence reports and case studies are available for everyone to view via our website. This insight is a powerful tool for caterers to gain market acumen and help catering operations take financial advantage.