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Ensuring Diversity Among Suppliers in Procurement: Tips for Chief Procurement Officers

from  July 1, 2024 | 1 min read

Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) play a critical role in promoting supplier diversity, which not only encourages creativity but can also boost the reputation of companies and foster community involvement. Most importantly, with increasing scrutiny on the supplier base used by many large organizations, CPOs must be mindful of their degree of supplier diversity for both regulatory compliance concerns and broader public relations.

Supplier diversity involves intentionally integrating businesses owned by people of color, women, veterans, and other sometimes bypassed groups into a company’s supply chain. Here are key recommendations for CPOs to implement and uphold supplier diversity in procurement: 

1. Crafting a strategic blueprint

Start by developing a strategy for supplier diversity. This blueprint should be in line with your company’s core values and objectives as well as outlining targets, measurement criteria, and timelines. Establish goals like increasing spending with suppliers by a certain percentage or incorporating a defined number of diverse suppliers into your supply chain annually. You should consider both short-term and long-term goals in this approach to ensure that supplier diversity is not a one-time effort, but an ongoing commitment. 

2. Involving leadership and stakeholders

Gaining support from management and key stakeholders is essential. Present the rationale for supplier diversity by emphasizing how it can spur innovation to boost market competitiveness while also enhancing the company’s public image. Backing from leadership can help allocate resources and ensure that diversity objectives are given priority throughout the organization. It’s important to showcase examples of other companies that have embraced this strategy and reaped the benefits.

3.  Expand your supplier network

Make sure to look for and connect with a variety of suppliers. Participate in supplier diversity events like fairs, trade shows, and networking gatherings. Make use of databases and tools offered by groups such, as the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and local chambers of commerce. These avenues can help you find suppliers who are well-suited to fulfill your purchasing requirements.

4. Implement inclusive policies

Make sure your purchasing policies and procedures are fair to everyone. This involves making it easier for diverse suppliers to qualify by providing training programs to help them grasp your needs and giving feedback to bidders to enhance their prospects in opportunities. Inclusive policies can promote fairness. Attract a range of businesses to get involved.

5. Leverage technology

Leverage technology to streamline your initiatives for supporting suppliers. Implementing Supplier Management software enables you to monitor and disclose diversity-related data effectively. Moreover, utilizing e-sourcing platforms expands your scope by simplifying the process of identifying and assessing a range of suppliers across different geographical locations.

6. Develop your suppliers

Enhance the growth of your suppliers by providing mentorship, training, and financial guidance to help them expand and align with your requirements. This not only reinforces your supply chain but also showcases your dedication to their prosperity. Engaging in partnerships and nurturing lasting connections can result in shared advantages and continuous development.

7. Monitor and measure progress

Regularly overseeing and assessing the advancement of your supplier diversity endeavors is key to tracking ongoing metrics. Define key performance indicators (KPIs) such, as the proportion of spending with certain suppliers and the number of contracts granted; more importantly, tracking increased influence on innovation and accompanying cost savings is going to be the most impressive metric for the bottom line. Use this information to hone your approach and to best communicate progress to stakeholders. This will support your vision of upholding transparency and responsibility.

8. Share successes

Acknowledge accomplishments in supplier diversity both internally and externally. Share stories of success such as case studies that showcase how diverse suppliers contribute to the growth of your enterprise. Publicly acknowledging these triumphs can enhance your brand’s reputation and possibly motivate entities to embrace similar principles.

9. Support an inclusive culture

Nurture an environment within your procurement team and across the organization that appreciates a diverse network. Encourage team members to appreciate diversity and actively seek out suppliers who you may not have considered in the past. Share best practices with your team to encourage ongoing success, both internally and externally.

Upholding supplier diversity in procurement goes beyond fulfilling an obligation; it becomes an asset. Harnessing untapped potential by connecting with formerly overlooked suppliers can open a world of new growth opportunities. By incorporating these points, CPOs can construct a well-rounded supply chain that propels long-term prosperity. 

Henrik Leerberg

Vice President, Global Procurement Marketing - Marketing Scanmarket

As Scanmarket's Vice President, Global Procurement Marketing Henrik oversees all marketing activities globally by fueling growth and creating value for both existing and new customers. Henrik has worked in software and electronics businesses throughout his entire career, operating in B2B markets. With more than 25 years of leadership experience from a range of software companies, Henrik has built a solid foundation for a broad business understanding within all aspects from engineering over marketing and sales to administration. Henrik holds degrees in Marketing and Business Administration and in Electrical Engineering.