Supplier diversity is not just a box to tick on a corporate social responsibility checklist; it is a dynamic strategy that can drive innovation, increase competitiveness, enhance brand reputation, and, ultimately, impact an organization’s bottom line.
In a recent AOP Live Session, Kelly Barner and I were joined by Daniel Dorr, VP of Marketing at supplier.io, and Lois Eichacker, their VP of Customer Success. In advance of the event, we had asked our community about the biggest challenges associated with building and managing a supplier diversity program. The responses were overwhelmingly consistent – half of the respondents said driving long term change was their biggest challenge, while another 30% said they struggled with achieving impact at scale.
Daniel and Lois’ response to these challenges was clear; achieving long-term, sustainable and scalable supplier diversity growth is not an easy task. And they acknowledged that procurement is often on their own when it comes to building and scaling the program.
A growing number of organizations are expressing their support for sourcing from diverse suppliers and see the business case for making it a top priority. That means procurement must establish the strategies and tactics required to make that vision a reality.
I asked Daniel and Lois about their recommendations for building a strong program able to sustain itself over time and scale along with the business.
First, they said, procurement must build a strong foundation for growth that includes a solid spend baseline and robust spend data that can drive decision making and facilitate improved category management.
Once that foundation is in place, it is up to procurement to unify the entire team around a set of clear, agreed-upon goals for the supplier diversity program. Establishing the expectation of transparency from the beginning better positions procurement to make a strong business case to company leadership and internal stakeholders about the ultimate value of a supplier diversity program and the steps procurement will have to take to manage it.
To learn more about building a strong supplier diversity program, you can watch the event on demand here.