5 Supplier Diversity Best Practices

As you know from my previous blog post, supplier diversity programs bring great value your organization by:

  • Finding creative ways to approach and fund initiatives that will have a positive impact on the organization
  • Protecting the company from risk
  • Bringing integrity, accountability and transparency to the organization

So, how can you create a program that will have a strong impact on your organization?

Here are five best practices to help you develop a supplier diversity program:

1 – Do your research. Understand your internal needs and external market before implementing a supplier diversity program. It’s extremely important to collaborate with your leadership team and other internal stakeholders early-on. You might surprise yourself and learn about any upcoming corporate initiatives for diversity. Doing your homework will make best practice #2 a lot easier!

2 – Gain executive buy-in. Without executive support, you’ll have a hard time gaining momentum and making an impact on your organization and community. When you’re seeking executive support, answer the following questions as a team to ensure you come to the table prepared to defend your idea:

  • What are the expected business benefits?
  • How much change is required to realize these benefits?
  • How will the benefits be measured and rewarded?
  • Who should sponsor the project?
  • Is the climate right for the initiative to proceed?

At this stage, you should also collaborate to develop goals and metrics that will drive the program and measure success.

3 – Establish communication strategies and tactics. Communication is critical for any type of strategic initiative. If you want to create a supplier diversity program that’s successful, make sure every single employee understands the goals and objectives of the program. Share key supplier diversity metrics and milestones in company meetings, newsletters, and even videos or podcasts (when applicable) to inspire the company about all the benefits of the program.

External communication is important too. Work with your marketing or communications team to develop partnerships and alliances with other companies, non-profits, and media outlets that can further spread and strengthen your company’s supplier diversity mission. Don’t forget to promote the supplier diversity program on your public website as well.

4 – Dig deep. You need visibility into what your suppliers’ suppliers are doing and how they are performing. Make sure you work with 1st and 2nd tier suppliers in your supplier diversity program too!

5 – Monitor and act on your supplier diversity program. After you’ve developed specific goals and objectives, implement a strategic sourcing solution that allows you to better manage your supplier diversity program. It all starts from the very beginning – when you collect supplier information. Use a Supplier Information Management solution to allow your suppliers to update all relevant supplier diversity information and supports supplier self-registration. Once you run your sourcing events and develop new relationships with your suppliers, you’ll want to create supplier scorecards to collect valuable supplier data to improve your relationships, reduce risks, and achieve the corporate goals. Take advantage of tools that allow you to search for new suppliers. And most importantly, use a sourcing intelligence solution to gain visibility into your entire program and create custom reports to track process.

If you’re ready to embrace, implement, and adopt a new way of doing business – contact our sourcing experts to learn more about creating a supplier diversity program.

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