Creating the Culture of Supplier Diversity | DCR Workforce Blog

Creating the Culture of Supplier Diversity

On 18, April, 2012 the TV network, ABC faced charges of racial discrimination over its “Bachelor/Bachelorette” show. The case may take forever, but the numbers sure speak against ABC: 10 years and 23 seasons of the show – and 610 participants – with no Black, Latino or Asian in the lead, and only 16 Black contestants, says a report. This tarnishes the established reputation of the Walt Disney Corporation and its commitment to diversity, for owning ABC.

Companies formulate diversity policies diligently proposing to encourage, assist, develop and facilitate supplier diversity. They promise business opportunities and mentoring assistance for continuing growth to businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, service-disabled and other historically underutilized businesses.  All may not fail spectacularly and publicly, but many do experience a variance in their plan and its execution.

Truly successful companies do not seek diversity in all areas of talent sourcing and vendor relations just so that they can meet their advertized targets in numbers or spend. They ensure that they adopt it as a culture and make it an essential part of their organizational DNA.

Let us consider the some of the procedural aspects of achieving such adoption:

  • Leadership (including the CEO) display their strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, through a participative approach with regular statements championing the cause,
  • Leadership roles have performance and incentives tied to diversity goals.
  • Leaders are encouraged to identify and champion the products of diverse suppliers, provide them with the necessary visibility and business opportunities.
  • The champions of diversity are trained and knowledgeable on the need to achieve the goals of supplier diversity.
  • Champions of diversity work alongside the sales and marketing teams through the RFP process to align the procurement process to achieving the targets.
  • The champions mentor the supplier to understand the exact needs of the customer, the specific challenges faced by the customer and the ways in which value can be offered by their specific contribution.
  • Some invest the necessary time and effort to mentor and guide the suppliers to improve their internal processes and achieve high standards in performance, while others provide even timely and short-term financial support to help these small businesses to establish themselves.
  • Build clauses into contracts with Tier 1 suppliers on stipulating the level of diversity expected from their sub-contracts.
  • The program targets of each officer having supplier-diversity and mentoring commitments are tracked through regular audits.
  • The audit process must track more than just spend on supplier diversity; to ascertain the actual contribution made to support diversity businesses directly and not as a pass-through to Tier 2 suppliers.
  • Some companies set themselves specific targets among the diversity businesses and split their budget among the various groups. This helps to ensure that their efforts are judiciously shared between businesses owned by women, veterans, disabled and so on.
  • Diversity is not aimed at as a compliance requirement, but growth-oriented businesses are courting it specifically to target interesting developments through collaborative efforts and complete commitment.
  • Diversity is not aimed at as a compliance requirement, but growth-oriented businesses are courting it specifically to target interesting developments through collaborative efforts and complete commitment.
  • Challenge the status quo, bring in more responsive, creative, innovative and flexible outlook and restructure existing ideas to improve the product and its performance and attractiveness,
  • Achieve superior results by tapping into a larger skill-base, and varied cultural approaches, diverse perspectives and viewpoints, gaining a better understanding for the needs of customers belonging to other cultures and demographics,
  • Aim at innovative features, higher quality and improved marketability for the product/service, imbuing it with the range and scope to prove competitive in local as well as international markets, by meeting the needs of various demographics.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.