The future is digital, the future is now

Mike Haslin, Chief Executive Officer at TUCO, discusses the age of digital procurement and what it means for campus catering

For years we’ve been helping our members to secure the best prices through our procurement frameworks, enabling them to source high-quality ingredients for their menus. It works well – hundreds of TUCO members will attest to that – however procurement has recently taken another leap, this time into the digital world.

Digitalisation of services has swept through countless industries over recent years. Making processes easier and enabling us to have instant access to a wealth of information at our fingertips; it has revolutionised the way that we all do business. It’s also proving to be a disruptive force which we all need to develop strategies to cope with. Now it’s the turn of university catering establishments to benefit from this technology – by digitalising procurement processes we can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Traditionally procurement in foodservice has been an inherently time-hungry process, taking up valuable local management man hours that could be better spent on front-line services. Outdated spreadsheet systems can result in price discrepancies and make it harder to switch suppliers to get a better deal. It’s also difficult to keep track of what comes from where and to build up relationships with smaller businesses and local suppliers. Our frameworks are already designed to take many of these headaches away with core pricing enabling even the largest organisations to save 10 per cent on average. With the philosophy that efficiency gains shouldn’t come at the cost of quality, we’ve now moved the education procurement process into the digital era with the development of TUCO Online.

TUCO Online is a strategic investment; a revolutionary e-procurement system that provides complete visibility and control across an entire organisation through one easy to use system. It maintains all the benefits of the TUCO frameworks – passing on cost savings through scale and volume – and delivers ‘just in time’ management information, enabling organisations and their suppliers to automate many of the manual and labour intensive administration tasks. Allowing each purchase to be individually audited, the digital system ensures contract pricing is delivered. It also provides an invaluable, online receipting and payment platform – meaning paper transactions will become a thing of the past. In addition, TUCO Online integrates with a large number of accounts packages so that electronic invoices can seamlessly flow into the payment system.

Mike Haslin, TUCO Chief Executive Officer, said: “This really is a first-class procurement framework. It eliminates the potential for discrepancies that you might have experienced using traditional spreadsheet-based reporting and provides real opportunities to increase efficiency and profit margins. We’re fully committed to ensuring our members’ procurement is future-fit.”

Digitalisation of the procurement process enables catering outlets to keep all their records in one place – from costing recipes online and instantly accessing information about allergens and nutritional values to managing stock levels and adding their own local supplier information. Ultimately, this progressive, intelligent approach to procurement will help to futureproof purchasing procedures and contracts.

Benefits of digital procurement

  • Increased efficiency and control through streamlined processes and proactive decision making.
  • Electronic Purchase to Pay – electronic purchase orders, delivery notes, electronic invoices, prices and products in one place giving you complete control of expenditure and supplier relationships. 
  • Price & Product Comparison – best price purchasing through automatic product comparison between multiple suppliers at the point of order.
  • PO Controls – create electronic purchase orders, send for approval and interact directly with suppliers.
  • Food Stock Control – quick, effective and simple providing you with valuable KPI information in a fraction of the time.
  • Recipe, Dishes and Menu Management – linked to live supplier price files and allergen information, to reduce administration and streamline processes.
  • Flash Reporting – pin-point accuracy of real time gross margin data by automatically updating committed expenditure vs revenue.
  • Contract Management – effectively manage supplier contracts through online contract management diary.

FAQs about TUCO Online

  • How will it help me to order from my suppliers? The ordering process is streamlined through an easy-to-use web portal.
  • Can I still order from non-TUCO framework suppliers? Yes, you have full flexibility to order from local and national suppliers.
  • How will allergen and nutritional data be managed? Your suppliers can input and manage this data for you.
  • Do I have to move my stock management onto TUCO Online if I’m using it for ordering? No. TUCO Online is a useful tool for keeping all your processes in one place but it also allows you to send and receive goods automatically to third-party systems.
  • How much does TUCO Online cost? It is free to all members using TUCO-framework agreements with an annual spend of over £100,000.
  • How can I find out more and arrange a demonstration? Contact the dedicated TUCO team at

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