Supplier Diversity > Articles

From Program to Strategy

While a supplier diversity program is essential for a company competing in today’s global economy, the most successful organizations are those that move from program to strategy.  These organizations use supplier diversity as a strategic asset that is aligned with the corporate vision, a contributor to global growth and a competitive advantage in a highly diverse economy.  How did they do it?

Engaged senior leadership

Without senior leadership fully supporting and heralding supplier diversity, a program will quickly become irrelevant.  Supplier diversity should have executive leadership whose performance is tied to the integration of supplier diversity within the organization.  

Ownership by key operations and business unit executives

It is not enough to have a supplier diversity lead or even VP.  Senior business unit executives–the ultimate stakeholders of procurement–should equally own the success of the company’s supplier diversity initiative.  This is achieved through both leadership at the highest levels and ongoing training and development.

Measurable link to market share and long-term shareholder value

While senior leadership and supplier diversity management know the impact of supplier diversity, the metrics for its success should be tied into those for the company’s most essential goals–market share and shareholder value.  That way, everyone in the organization realizes its impact and can therefore contribute to it.

Pool of capable and available MWBEs

Not only should a pipeline of diverse businesses be established and nurtured, but great suppliers should be treated as partners.  Capable MBEs with the ability to grow with the organization are a key element to a successful initiative.

Savvy supplier diversity organization

Supplier diversity leaders who not only deal in supplier diversity, but deeply understand company culture, know finance, operations and marketing and are able to fluidly communicate with senior leadership, partners and staff support further contributes to supplier diversity success.