Sourcing the Next Level in Supplier Diversity

By Jamie Crump

There has never been a time when sourcing and supplier diversity has received as much attention as right now. Between the supply chain impacts of the pandemic and the global unrest that is causing businesses to take a social stand, the two areas are front and center. It doesn’t matter if your supplier diversity program is just getting started or has plateaued, there are a few things that can elevate what you are doing to turn your program into a huge success.

Third Party Reporting

If you are not already utilizing a third party for your data, give it strong consideration. A third party provides so much more than spend numbers. Manual processes do not scale and take up a lot of valuable resource time. Save your bandwidth and outsource to a company who has this as a core competency. Not only will a third party keep the certificates up to date, but will also provide financial reporting credibility to your data.

One of the benefits of a corporate membership with WBE Canada is Supplier Diversity Data Services. This service provides a complimentary data scrub/supplier diversity assessment, analysis of the current vendor list to identify diverse-owned businesses and a detailed tabulation of the results.

Source Everything All the Time

One of the easiest things to do to drive up spend dollars is to be on the lookout for diverse-owned suppliers for every single thing the company purchases…all the time. Looking for suppliers when you need suppliers is a poor time to be meeting a bunch of new suppliers.

When I hear talk about procurement giving supplier diversity their upcoming bid list I wince.

I have led a number of procurement groups over the years and one thing I learned is that I served at the pleasure of my executive team. I may have been able to plan about 65% of what I ended up sourcing in a given year. The rest came from projects that:

  • didn’t make it to sourcing until the last minute
  • was an existing agreement that didn’t work out and we had to unwind the solution
  • was otherwise an unplanned project

The fact is sourcing only knows what it is going to need part of the time. If you don’t source suppliers until you have a need, it may be too late to include diverse-owned businesses. That robs your company of innovation and drags your numbers down.

When attending events such as WBE Canada’s B2B Matchmaker series, look for suppliers who provide anything your company purchases. Establish a relationship with them, even if you don’t plan to source the product or service for some time. Then when the need arises, you can recommend multiple companies with confidence. Yes, it takes some time, but it is truly the best investment you can make.

Measure All Aspects of Success

Spend will always be a priority for supplier diversity, just like savings are for sourcing. That should not be the only measurement of success. Like any good strategy, measurement is key to success. Develop measurements to gauge things like the effectiveness of company outreach, new and ongoing meetings with potential suppliers. Keep track of how many diverse-owned businesses are being invited to bid, making the short list, being awarded a contract and expanding the services they provide.

Commit to more than the “one supplier on every bid” approach. Develop targets based upon opportunity. If a given category is made up of 40% diverse owned businesses and you have one on your bid list, you are shortchanging both your company and the diverse business community.

Finally, commit to publishing the progress. Supplier diversity shouldn’t be a secret. Let the company know what is happening. Measurement allows a dialogue on what is working and what isn’t as well as paving the way for additional needs to move the needle.

If you aren’t sure how to get started on these or other initiatives, WBE Canada has you covered. Corporate membership provides Supplier Diversity Accelerator at no additional cost. This consists of consulting hours, tailored workshops, and other tools that are provided. This advantage renews each year the company is a corporate member. Combined, the approaches and tools give companies a way to increase diversity spend and success to the bottom line.

About Jamie Crump

Jamie Crump is President of The Richwell Group, LLC, a global consultancy in sourcing and supplier diversity. She is a recognized global thought leader and speaker on both topics. Crump is also the author of Backstage Pass: Pulling the Curtain back on the Business of Supplier Diversity.