Achieving diversity within supply chains is a growing area of focus for many companies. The goal of these programs is to move from the “good ol’ boy” network and into a more inclusive way of engaging suppliers. Below are some tips when creating or growing your supplier diversity initiatives.
Benefits of Supplier Diversity
Understand that there are clear benefits in including diverse suppliers into your procurement processes. Recognize diverse suppliers are obviously different than those with whom you may be accustomed. Those differences bring a difference in perspective. A difference in perspective can bring a different way to view problems and how best to solve them.
Often, we choose to do business with people with whom we are familiar. There is no adherent evil in that approach. However, not finding new ways of thinking and new perspectives can create blind spots in your business. We can grow comfortable in our known universe not aware a unique solution to our problem may exist outside of our comfort zone.
Let us view things from the disadvantaged businesses perspective. From a sales viewpoint, one of the most challenging obstacles in reaching a new account is knowing the right contact. The second difficulty is getting time with that person. The old way of doing things kept the doors closed to those not already networked into an organization. It may be comfortable to you, but they may have an exclusionary effect you have not considered.
New ideas await. If you have been buying from the same group of suppliers for years, find a new perspective. Purposefully seek opportunities to invite someone into your supplier network who otherwise would still be knocking on an unwelcoming door. Their perspective may be just what your business needed.
Work with Advocate Groups
Now that you have a working supplier diversity program, then the next step is to find diverse businesses who can help you. The good news is there are organizations who help champion diverse suppliers, certify their credentials, and help bring buyers and diverse suppliers together. Partner with entities such as the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Vets First Verification Program. They will be able to connect you with diverse suppliers who can broaden your diversity partnerships.
Work with Partners that do More
One way to broaden your diversity opportunities is to think beyond primary categories. If you buy fuel from a diverse supplier as an example, then what other products and services might the supplier offer. Thinking beyond the primary category may unlock additional opportunities. Below is a sample of fuel related questions that may create new possibilities:
- Besides your truck fleet, do you have company cars that could benefit from a fuel card?
- Do you use diesel generators for your facilities?
- Are your fuel tanks below ground and need to follow environmental regulations?
- Do your diesel trucks use diesel emission fluid?
- Do your mechanics use fuel treatments for winter or improved engine performance?
- Who is responsible for making repairs on your fueling infrastructure?
- Will dramatic changes in fuel prices adversely impact your bottom line?
Diversified Energy Supply is a certified, woman-owned business. We work to assist our customers with all the challenges fuel may bring. DES offers a wide variety of products and solutions, and we are very good at what we do in service to our customers. Click “Let’s Talk” on our website to schedule time with one of our fuel experts to see how you can use fuel to expand your diversity program.