Supplier diversity is not a new corporate initiative. In 1968, General Motors started what is generally recognized as one of the first supplier diversity programs in America.
The death of George Floyd in 2020 raised awareness of supplier diversity programs in the C-suite. Widespread demonstrations and public outcry drove renewed corporate interest and activism across industries and in companies of all sizes.
Almost immediately, the operational challenges associated with turning those intentions into reality at scale set in. Finding suppliers to partner with, setting the most appropriate KPIs, and positioning supplier diversity relative to other ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) programs is not easy. Companies must embrace the cause as part of their overall culture to make it sustainable.
In this Dial P for Procurement interview, Kelly Barner welcomes Ken Yearwood, an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company and one of the authors of the research based-article ‘Expand diversity among your suppliers—and add value to your organization.’
In this interview, Kelly and Ken discuss:
- The key success factors he has observed in companies that are leading the way and fulfilling their vision with regard to partnering with minority-owned businesses
- How procurement can help decision makers overcome their natural reticence to try new things in order to introduce new suppliers into the company
- Why companies should be measuring and reporting on their economic impact of their supplier diversity program