Supplier Diversity: Essential in Era of Supply Chain Disruption

Global Supplier Diversity Conference September 21

Supplier Diversity: Essential in Era of Supply Chain Disruption Supply chain professionals and business leaders have typically strived to consolidate vendor relationships to place larger orders with fewer suppliers. The goal is to drive costs as low as possible and maximize efficiency. However, as the global pandemic demonstrated, limited supplier relationships can wreak havoc when supply chain disruptions occur. Even during periods of stability, companies can miss out on product innovation, access to new markets and more agile customer service with a narrow supplier network.

With a better understanding today of the value of supplier diversity, business leaders are eager to build new relationships. However, they need support and a game plan to identify suitable suppliers and navigate new ways to work between multinationals and diverse-owned small businesses. That’s the focus of the Sixth Annual Monica Motivates Global Supplier Diversity Conference (GSDC) September 21, live at The Orchard in London, England and streaming live around the world.

Our own Monica Motivates research conducted by One Poll highlights this growing business priority: 56% of HR respondents reported their companies are pursuing strategies to facilitate supplier diversity, and 36% said they planned to create a supplier diversity strategy.

The basics of supply chain diversity

Supplier diversity programs represent a commitment to include more women- and diverse-owned businesses when an organization sources goods and services. That commitment typically reflects a business’s self-interest in creating a more agile supply chain and a desire to fulfill DEI goals and generate positive social impact.

Supply chain diversity shows up in myriad ways including:

  • Sourcing goods and services from a range of geographic regions to mitigate disruptions from specific areas.
  • Engaging with small businesses rather than only other multinationals to gain access to agile suppliers who may require less lead time or offer more flexible fulfillment options.
  • Purchasing from women-owned and diverse-owned businesses that may offer unique and innovative products and services not available elsewhere and who may provide access to new markets through their product lines.
  • Innovation through a greater variety of purchase options.

Taking first steps

Participating in the GSDC is a great engagement opportunity whether you are building a supplier diversity program from scratch, building upon your existing program, or are a diverse business owner looking to expand your network. As you advance in your journey, you will want to:

  1. Examine your current situation. You need to understand who you are currently buying from to track growth in the diversity of your suppliers. If procurement staff doesn’t have that data, a brief survey can provide essential insights and let suppliers know your commitment to diversity.
  2. Make the business case. Research shows supply chain issues are second only to inflation as top concerns that worry business leaders today. Help leaders understand the proven benefits of a diverse supply chain, from providing strong support for DEI initiatives to building greater flexibility and innovation into procurement efforts and even creating a strong selling point with potential employees.
  3. Set targets. Once you understand where you are today, you can set meaningful targets for expanding the presence of women-owned and diverse-owned businesses within your tier-one suppliers and then direct efforts to tier-two and three suppliers.
  4. Identify diverse suppliers providing goods and services you need. The Monica Motivates GSDC, and our network of diverse business owners, is a great starting point. You can also tap into the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the Black Business Association.
  5. Remove obstacles, monitor performance and share successes. As with all supplier relationships, you must monitor how well the goods and services received meet your needs. It will be crucial in forming new relationships with diverse small business suppliers to keep communication open. Proactively address issues such as payment terms, paperwork requirements and modes of communication to ensure they do not make it harder for small businesses to succeed.

The Global Supplier Diversity Conference (GSDC) provides both business-expanding content and an environment and format that facilitates conversation between corporations and diverse suppliers so you can explore opportunities and capabilities with one another.  It’s full-circle economic inclusion in one purpose-driven day. REGISTER today to participate live in person in London or via livestream around the world.