Tennessee Board of Regents Streamlines Spend and Supplier Management
With 46 institutions and a combined annual enrollment of over 200,000, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) system is among the nation’s largest systems of public higher education. TBR comprises six state universities, 13 community colleges, and 27 technology centers. The system is a $2.2 billion per year enterprise.
The TBR’s Purchasing and Contracts Department is responsible for managing systemwide procurement and contracts within the laws of the State of Tennessee, federal purchasing and contracting regulations, and the policies and guidelines of the Tennessee Board of Regents, ensuring that they receive the best value possible. It’s an ambitious undertaking given the enormity of the system. Add to that a decentralized environment and things get much more complicated.
Many of the institutions within the TBR network were managing their own supplier relationships, which not only led to considerable inefficiencies, but it also meant that on a larger scale, the system was not taking full advantage of its aggregate purchasing power.
According to Angela Gregory Flynn, TBR Director of Purchasing and Contracts, one of the biggest challenges the TBR was facing was a lack of strategic sourcing. “It was difficult to begin any kind of effective strategic sourcing initiative since we did not have a system in place that allowed us to view our spend collectively. We were particularly interested in spend analytics, and being able to see the whole picture.”
JAGGAER’s spend management solutions have enabled TBR to centralize and automate previously manual and labor intensive tasks such as registering suppliers and uploading information to the network’s existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. According to Flynn, once implementation is complete, this means a supplier will only have to register once and that registration will extend systemwide. Currently, supplier registration is decentralized, meaning that each of the TBR’s 19 colleges and universities has its own registration process and the supplier must register with each institution on an individual basis.
By helping standardize supplier management processes across schools, JAGGAER will create operational efficiency improvements that free up existing resources and save money. Suppliers will also have the ability to keep their information up to date, enabling TBR staff to focus on more strategic initiatives.
TBR is implementing the JAGGAER system in three phases to ensure a smooth process for each of its institutions, as well as its central office. Full implementation typically takes between 16-20 weeks, and JAGGAER is readily available to provide hands-on training and support.
“Understandably, we’ve received some pushback with regard to the new technology, as well as concern about having to learn a new system and adjusting to the change,” Flynn said. “We’ve worked with JAGGAER on addressing these issues, and they’ve been flexible, when possible, in accommodating our schedule and our comfort level.”
Bottom Line Results
- Centralized and automated previously manual and labor-intensive tasks
- Improved operational efficiencies, freeing up existing resources and saving money
- Enabled suppliers to update their own information, enabling TBR staff to focus on more strategic initiatives
- Strengthened strategic sourcing activities by negotiating better rates for all TBR institutions
- Improved visibility into spend analytics, enabling more informed decisions on spend
The JAGGAER solution has allowed the TBR to focus on strengthening its strategic sourcing activities by negotiating better rates for all of its institutions. According to Flynn, the true value is in spend analytics and the ability to make more informed decisions based upon this information. She added that users have also benefited from the cost-saving efficiencies available through the new automated system.