TealBook: Diversity in Higher Education Procurement

TealBook helps Virginia Tech University diversify its suppliers and enhance its current vendor master

The Challenge of Diversifying Suppliers

“Do business with those we’ve always done business with,” a historic mindset that procurement teams at Virginia Tech University used to apply to its supplier management before its introduction to TealBook

‘Reimagining how education and technology intersect’, ‘collaborating with diverse team members’, ‘crossing the traditional lines between fields and disciples to tackle global-scale problems’, and ‘pushing the boundaries of knowledge in order to make a difference in the world’, these phrases are core to the universities ethos, yet Mary Helmick, Director of Procurement for Virginia Tech University new that the university lacked a supplier management tool that could adopt this same diverse approach to its procurement. 

The university needed a way to enhance both its vendor master and the information it had from its current suppliers, as well as meet the expectations at federal, state and university levels for meeting diverse vendor utilisation percentages. 

The Challenge: knowing that there are diverse suppliers out there, but how do you vet those suppliers? How can you better introduce vendors and meet goals?

Why TealBook? 

First hearing of TealBook from her peers in higher education procurement, Helmick spoke to several colleagues, finally being introduced to TealBook direct through her account executive at JAGGAER; becoming interested in the TealBook business model.

“It became very clear that TealBook’s supplier data platform could greatly help Virginia Tech procurement teams meet their goals [...] They were able to close their contract with TealBook in less than two months, which greatly assisted in getting the product implemented into Virginia Tech’s systems sooner” - TealBook. 

Listening to Helmick’s concerns, TealBook designed a demo to showcase the solutions for her team’s specific needs. “Everything they showed us… [and] was demoed on that day has come to fruition, and I really appreciate that with TealBook,” said Helmick.

Following the first pass of the data enrichment, 70% of suppliers matched to real-time diversity certifications as well as other key data points. 

What Did This Mean for Virginia Tech University?

Since implementing TealBook’s solutions, Virginia Tech University have been able to provide large schools and other departments with diverse suppliers that, prior to the implementation, were a challenge to find. 

“When we were challenging the College of Engineering to increase their diverse spend, they immediately turned back to us and said ‘Well, you have to tell us who are the competitors for the diverse vendors for the vendors we have always used.’ That was on procurement, and we’ve used TealBook for that,” said Helmick.

Virginia Tech University has also been able to encourage vendors to pursue diverse certifications that apply to their state, Helmick added: “We can say ‘Okay, here are companies we’re doing business with, and we can see they have a federal diverse certification…but they’re not registered with Virginia as a certified diverse vendor. We can now outreach [to ask them to] go through our Virginia certification so we can recognize you as a Virginia diverse vendor.” 

With these capabilities, Virginia Tech University has been able to build stronger relationships and opportunities with its current suppliers. Helmick and her tea can benefit from the crucial data needed right at their fingertips. 

“TealBook leverages state-of-the-art machine learning concepts to deliver supplier data light years ahead of self-reported, manually collected and maintained data feeds. Unlike supplier data sources that repackage manually inputted data or depend on supplier self-reporting, TealBook uses a 5-step process to gather and refine supplier data through AI and machine learning.,” said TealBook.

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