CVM’s comprehensive 2017
State of Supplier Diversity Report—Supplier Diversity Programs delved
into issues and processes supplier diversity programs of all sizes, from
multiple industries, deal with every day. One area we asked about was supplier
development, and our survey found that 35 percent of respondents have a formal development
program. Another 24 percent of respondents said they engage in informal
supplier development efforts.
Is your supplier diversity program among the 41
percent without any development initiative, formal or informal? Taking the step
into supplier development can offer a range of benefits for your organization
as well as the suppliers you are helping and the communities where they operate.
Here are some things to consider as you ponder if it’s time for a supplier
Is Your Supplier Diversity Program Strong?
A reservation you may have about the idea of supplier
development is that you are already waist-deep into trying to maximize your
supplier diversity program and have no time for anything beyond it. Although
striving for improvement and additional success is always important, a moderately
strong supplier diversity program is ready to take on a development strategy as
well. Moreover, dedicated supplier
diversity software can deliver so many benefits for your program that time frees
up that can be subsequently devoted to development. Be realistic with the
strength of your supplier diversity program, but give yourself some credit
where credit is due, and also be willing to take a minor risk and step outside
your comfort zone by adding supplier development to your overarching goals.
Supplier Success Is Your Success
Developing suppliers sets them up for improvement and
additional success. Diverse suppliers that can strengthen their business
processes and profit margins, become certified with appropriate agencies, and
cement themselves as trusted partners within your supply chain benefit not only
your diversity program, but also your company’s bottom line. Supplier
development ultimately increases diverse spend and reduces the amount of time
spent seeking new suppliers because most of the ones you contract aren’t going
anywhere. In this way, supplier development leads to more organizational
success, and organizational success leads to more supplier development …
Supplier development must be more than a stated declaration
and a few phone calls; this approach often leads to little or no development at
all. Clearly defined goals—whether in the form of key performance indicators
(KPIs) or something a little more (but not too much more) abstract—offer a
means to determine if development is proceeding as hoped and where any speed
bumps are occurring. You might not be able to peg an exact ROI to your KPIs,
but you can take away data and observations to show to executives that supplier
development has been worth the effort.
Seek Expert Help
If you have the means to launch a formal or informal
supplier development initiative, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. Supplier diversity experts
that guide your diversity program’s success can also help get your development
program off the ground. More pointedly, the aforementioned supplier diversity
software can provide a big development boost. Not every supplier is a good
candidate for development—the best supplier diversity solutions keep your diverse supplier
roster updated, identify areas of diverse primed for development, and, of
course, save time.
The first steps of supplier development might be the
trickiest to take, but once you do, everything that follows becomes easier and
builds upon itself. If your program is ready, your suppliers will welcome the
opportunity to strengthen their partnerships with your organization.
Do you currently have a formal or informal supplier