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Beyond HR Policy: Expanding DEI Through Supplier Diversity

Beyond HR Policy: Expanding DEI Through Supplier Diversity

Your business may be working hard to implement the changes outlined in your DEI policy. But change is rarely embraced wholeheartedly in any setting, from personal life to business life. Like most changes of habit, the road to corporate culture change is slow, long, and full of speed bumps, slippery slopes, and even brick walls.

Good news: There’s a way to lead by example and bypass some of those resistant roadblocks. While you’re moving toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive behaviors internally, your outward-facing activities should also reflect your commitment to DEI. Increasing your supplier diversity – an outward behavior – offers benefits that can change minds within your organization.

Take the evidence-based approach to DEI. Here are three easy steps to demonstrate your commitment to DEI in a way that has tangible, quantifiable benefits for your business:

  1. Collect current data – Dig into your current operations. What is the current cost of materials? What is the average turnaround for order approval, order placement, and order delivery? What percentage of minority businesses are on your vendor list?
  2. Increase supplier diversity – Using the data about your current vendors, set a goal to expand the percentage of purchases from minority businesses. Do your due diligence before buying, and monitor the supplier’s performance, just as you would with any other vendor.
  3. Collect new data and compare the numbers – After you hit your supplier-diversity goal, compare new data to the old. Have costs gone down? Is procurement more efficient? Is productivity up?

A recent report from Bain & Company shows a correlation between increased supplier diversity and lower procurement expenditures. Businesses that increased supplier diversity saved money. Moreover, procurement was more efficient, with higher use of electronic orders and faster order processing times. It all added up to a strong case for outward-facing DEI in the form of supplier diversity.

No business organization exists in a vacuum. Every day we look beyond the walls of our corporate operations. We buy from and sell to other organizations, and we team up with other enterprises to strengthen our mutual positions. It is this synergy that makes our business and our economy prosper. With quantifiable real-world results from supplier diversity initiatives, internal DEI resistance may just fade away in the glow of increased profits.


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