Businesses of all sizes and across industries are investing in new ways to not only increase their revenue, but also create opportunities to drive positive economic growth in their communities. One key way businesses are accomplishing this is by diversifying their supply chains. Creating a diverse supply chain not only helps improve your brand’s reputation amongst consumers, but it can also help fuel growth of your company’s bottom line. If you are thinking about implementing a supplier diversity program for your business, or improving on your existing program, here are 4 tips that can help you with that journey:
1. Outline your program and define its purpose
Determining your business’s desired outcomes is an important initial step in developing a supplier diversity program. Remember to do your own research and dedicate the time to understand different groups in your community that help fuel your business. Once you understand your business’s target customer demographics, you can begin building a supply chain that better reflects that. Studies have shown that when business utilize more small and diverse suppliers, they cycle wealth more broadly through their communities, improving the economic standing of their customers and prospective customers, ultimately driving more sales of their products and increasing their revenue over time. Some examples of the types of businesses you can utilize in your supplier diversity program are:
- Women-owned businesses
- Minority-owned businesses
- Businesses owned by people with disabilities
- Veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses
- LGBTQIA+ owned businesses
- SBA-certified small businesses
Identifying the diverse suppliers already in your supply chain, and understanding the role they play in the success of your business,will help you understand how much your supply chain reflects your customer base and where you might need to improve to make your supplier diversity program successful.
2. Secure commitment from leadership
Implementing or expanding your supplier diversity program will likely require the trust and commitment from senior management. Meet formally with leadership at your company to outline the ways supplier diversity can impact the growth of your business, and your plans to implement it. Creating a supplier diversity program helps include potential suppliers that can bring in a significant level of diverse goods and services to your supply chain. This increases vendor competition and the quality of goods and services, and decreases costs to you. This sort of job creation stimulates the economies of communities where many companies with successful supplier diversity programs find their customers.
3. Create a system of accountability
Setting impactful and achievable goals and holding your team accountable to them will play an important role in the future success of your supplier diversity program. Work with senior management to come up with measurable goals that can be tracked on a regular basis and drive impact to your business. Goals can be anything from including a certain number of diverse businesses in your RFP process, to allocating a certain amount of money spent in your supply chain to diverse businesses. Work with your team to research what other companies are doing to create diversity in their supply chain and develop standards and processes that work for your unique business needs. This will not only help accelerate your program by leveraging the learnings of others, but it will also encourage innovative ideas that help align with your desired outcomes.
4. Partner with business networks to find diverse suppliers
Work with organizations that have databases of diverse businesses you can tap into. This will help you find diverse suppliers that can fit the needs of your supply chain. Organizations like the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, National Veteran-Owned Business Association, and Disability:IN are great places to start, but you’ll need to take the unique needs of your business and program into account to pick the partner or partners that are best for you. Organizations like these are also a great way for businesses to build relationships with suppliers and their customers through advisory councils, ambassadorships, and programs that help bring recognition to their business.
Convoy celebrates diversity in its carrier network. If you’re a carrier and want to learn about new opportunities, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our supplier diversity page for more information.