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The Future of Work- How Supplier Diversity Will Impact D&I

Many companies are sitting on the golden key to their diversity and inclusion goals and don't realize it. For the last couple of years, the primary focus of diversity and inclusion has been the workplace diversity portion - trying to figure out how to reach and engage new demographics to improve diversity within the organization. While this is beneficial and contributes to overall D&I success, it is but the first step in the journey of making a substantial, sustainable impact. Most companies find themselves lost after their initial phases, but we've cracked the code and are ready to help organizations take their most significant step forward: supplier diversity. 

What is Supplier Diversity? 

Supplier diversity focuses on the organization's supply chain, ensuring that individuals or groups from diverse communities are incorporated and represented. It's a business strategy that focuses on diverse business partners and the sourcing of goods and services. The purpose of this strategy is to combat discrimination, highlight diverse groups of business (namely small business) owners, encourage innovation, and increase market share and profitability, all while making a positive social impact. 

What Makes a Supplier Diverse? 

A diverse supplier is a business that is at least 51% owned and operated by an individual or group that is part of a traditionally underrepresented or underserved group. Common classifications are small-business enterprises (SBEs), minority-owned enterprises (MBEs), and women-owned enterprises (WBEs). Over time, the definition of diversity has expanded to businesses owned by other minority groups such as LGBTQ, veterans, and proprietors with disabilities. (Harvard Business Review)

Why Supplier diversity is a Crucial Part of an Organization's Success

What most organizations want, or should wish to, is to create a win-win environment. An environment where business operation, bottom line, and social responsibility do more than coexist but operate together in symbiotic harmony. Traditionally, there is always a sacrifice - either you're socially responsible but not wildly profitable, or you're highly profitable but at the sacrifice of any significant socially redeeming work. But a successful supplier diversity program is the convergence of both worlds in a way that is rare yet has tremendous potential of becoming a new model of success. One success story is CVS Health. In 2018, they reported that what they spent towards supplier diversity contributed $5.5 billion to the U.S. economy and sustained 31,095 jobs.

What are the Benefits of Supplier Diversity?

The majority of diverse suppliers are small businesses, which are the backbone of American economic health and the cornerstone of the American dream. Additionally, many of these businesses are comprised of individuals from underserved communities who bear the weight of the detrimental effects of systemic discrimination and injustice. Investing in supplier diversity is an investment into those same underserved communities because those smaller businesses will do business with other companies from those same communities, contributing to the rebuilding and empowerment of these areas. It's a trickle-down strategy that's actually successful. 

Aside from the positive social impact, there are many business and financial benefits, including:

  • Innovation through diversifying product and service providers
  • A variety of avenues to source products and services
  • Better prices for products and services due to competition amongst the providers
  • An overall increase in profit - From a report by The Hackett Group, 

"Companies that allocate 20% or more of their spend to diverse suppliers attribute 10%-15% of their annual sales to supplier diversity programs."

Thinkzilla Will Bring You to the Next Level

If you need to increase diversity across your supply chains, Thinkzilla will develop, launch and oversee the execution of supplier-focused diversity programs that will target, vet, engage, and match minority-owned businesses and help recruit them to your organization. With a custom, expertly tailored supplier program, we will guide your organization through every step of the process, from internal recruitment to training programs and the complete marketing execution. 

Be ahead of the curve, blazing a path to become a leader in your industry through an undiscovered strategy. Don't worry if you don't know the following steps or even where to begin. Thinkzilla has a network of over a quarter-million suppliers and a team of D&I, media, and public relations experts who will bring you from next steps to success in no time. 

Contact us today, and let's get started!

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