What’s Trending – Supplier Diversity

When it comes to supplier diversity initiatives on campus, the terminology may be varied, but the goal is the same. Whether it’s considered MWBE (Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises), SWaM (Small, Women-owned, and Minority-Owned Business Enterprise), or SMDB (Small and Minority Disadvantaged Businesses), these initiatives focus on providing diverse businesses with greater access to purchasing opportunities.

America To Go (ATG) has worked closely with E&I members to create innovative initiatives that make it easy for staff to find, access and order from diverse restaurants and caterers in their local community and to track diversity spending through customized and detailed reporting.

Here is a brief overview of how ATG assists institutions to meet its diversity goals with local vendors –

  • Specify Standards – Begin by identifying the standard. Some institutions adhere to a state standard, some use federal guidelines, some allow self-identification. It’s crucial to clearly specify the standards and what is required for compliance.
  • Conduct Vendor Outreach – Using your diversity standards, ATG surveys current and prospective vendors to identify which qualify and even assists them with certification. ATG initially collects all necessary documentation showing compliance with a member’s standards and maintains such documentation by conducting ongoing outreach to vendors to ensure all certifications are up-to-date and on file. ATG also reaches out to local vendors in the community to identify new restaurants and caterers that meet the member’s standards in an effort to consistently increase diverse offerings to campus.
  • Update the ATG Platform – ATG works with members to highlight diverse vendors on their customized ATG platform. Customizations include:
    • Diversity highlight ‘tile’ that provides information about the initiative
    • Diversity filter that allows users to sort the list of vendors accordingly
    • Diversity icons on the vendor listing to indicate those vendors meeting your standards
    • ‘Thank you’ language on the order text to reinforce the initiative with both users and vendors

Cornell found that, without adding new vendors, making these changes to their platform alone generated an immediate increase in spending going to diverse vendors.

  • Campus Outreach – ATG looks for ways to piggyback on a member’s existing events and communications to ensure successful outreach to campus. These events and communications may include diverse vendor tradeshows and showcases, as well as regular campus newsletters promoting new and existing diverse vendors. ATG also arranges department tastings so users can meet the owners and sample offerings from local vendors in a low-risk environment to consider for their next event.
  • Reporting – ATG offers extensive and customizable reports in the specific format requested by the institution – whether an institution reports to a state agency or to internal stakeholders. For example, diversity spending can be broken out into categories such as veteran, women or minority-owned or small business. At the individual level, reporting can spur friendly competition through an on-screen dashboard so users can see how their diversity spending stacks up against other users or departments within the institution. ATG also helps members define metrics that allow them to track the initiative’s progress, make modifications, and steadily improve over time.


About America To Go

America To Go is an online food ordering and expense management solution that streamlines all of an institution’s restaurants and caterers into one customized platform. This E&I contract helps institutions lower transaction costs through automated billing and payment, automate and enforce catering ordering policies and can easily integrate with any e-procurement system. To learn more about how ATG can help you better manage your catering expenses online and support your institution’s supplier diversity initiatives, please visit www.eandi.org. You may also contact Paul Harris, E&I Portfolio Support Executive – Athletics, Culinary & General Services, at pharris@eandi.org.

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