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How to Launch a Capacity-Building Program

Supplier diversity programs that work to maximize capacity benefit more than the suppliers themselves. Their impact rewards the corporations that implement them often for years to come. 

Know Your Suppliers (and Their Strengths)

Launching a successful capacity-building program begins with a close examination of existing diverse suppliers (MBEs). Targeted suppliers should demonstrate a stable performance and financial history while standing out from the crowd as thriving and active businesses. Once you know who your target MBEs are, you can then look for specific gaps in their capacity (i.e. efficiency and production) so that you can build the capacity-building program’s primary focus.

Focus on MBEs Aligned with Company Strategy

Based on an objective identification and assessment of each potential MBE participant, the next step is to select those companies that are aligned with the corporation’s strategy. This means that those suppliers that sell products or services that can feed into the company’s focus projects, those slated for roll-out within the next two years should be a top candidate for accelerated capacity building. This ensures that the company’s investment in capacity building feeds directly into its own most immediate needs making it a strategic asset to the company.

Facilitate Acquisitions and Joint Ventures

Once targeted MBEs are identified, the next step is to align these diverse suppliers with larger and/or prime suppliers.  These introductions should be focused on companies that complement one another’s services, gaps, or are primed to impact the same focus area for the company.  Through these introductions, suppliers can realize joint ventures and acquisitions that expand their range of contacts and, in time, their business’s reach and revenue.

Empower Others to Nominate MBEs

As a corporation’s capacity-building program takes off, continuing its success goes beyond the supplier diversity lead.  A successful program actively encourages internal partners (i.e. buyers, executives) to nominate the most viable MBE candidates. As company stakeholders, they are in the ideal position to also identify those MBEs that can be instrumental to the company’s needs.  

Collaborate With Industry Leaders

Finally, every capacity-building program can profit from the insight and expertise of veteran MBE industry groups like the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) whose mission centers on developing the resources and scope of minority-owned businesses. Reaching out to industry experts allows corporations launching capacity-building programs to make contact with new potential vendors or other corporations that have successfully launched similar programs.