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The Case for Supplier Diversity

MPMSDC The case for supplier diversity

Convincing your company to support supplier diversity

So you think that diversifying your supplier base is a good idea for your business. But what if your company’s decision makers don’t share your enthusiasm? It’s critical that you present a proper business case for supplier diversity that explains the benefits of developing a supplier diversity program. Below you’ll find several common talking points that will help you gain support within your organization.

Doing good is good for business

Long gone are the days when corporations could choose to compromise their ethics in order to boost their bottom line. In today’s information era, consumers know more about the brands they buy from and demand more from them ethically than ever before. In fact, 76% of today’s consumers believe it is OK for brands to support good causes while making a profit, up 33% from just four years earlier. Business leaders agree that today’s economy requires them to do good deeds as part of their strategy for growth.

For this reason, corporations have begun heavily embracing the concept of cause marketing. By doing good deeds and then actively promoting them as part of the brand identity, companies are finding a competitive edge in the marketplace. Corporations are quickly discovering that in situations where their brand’s goods are similar in price and quality to their competitors, consumers favor the brand that supports an important social cause.

Make supplier diversity the centerpiece of your cause marketing strategy

Thirty-four percent of all consumers believe that economic development is the most important social issue for companies to address, topping both environmental concerns and human rights. Therefore, it goes without saying that your customers and prospects would be quick to embrace your company’s support of economic development among minority communities. By providing economic opportunities to underserved populations and then marketing your commitment to economic growth, you’ll be meeting the wishes of your customers while doing a good deed.

Supplier diversity is a natural extension of what you already do

U.S. corporations have been required to offer employment opportunities to all individuals — regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin — since the inception of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, which built upon the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today, this legislation is baked into our national consciousness, and corporations unhesitatingly refer to themselves as “EOEs” (Equal Opportunity Employers) in their corporate literature.

Supplier diversity initiatives are natural extensions of your EOE status, offering economic growth opportunities to those whom you choose to do business with. By extending these opportunities, your corporation grows from an EOE to what we call an “EOP” (Equal Opportunity Purchaser). The ripple effect that comes from being an EOP is profound, and will positively impact generations of your future customers.

Get ahead of the demographic shift in our country

By the year 2043, the racial and ethnic groups that today we call majority of the U.S. population. If your company expects to sell your products and services to these minority groups, you should be prepared to contribute to their economic well-being. After all, the demand for your products is limited first and foremost by the size of the market for them. If you’re not appealing to minority groups now, how will that affect your business when these groups become the dominant economic force in our country?

Let efficient MBEs pass on the savings to you

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, there are also tangible financial benefits to be gained from working with minority suppliers. Minority suppliers tend to be leaner and more agile than their majority-owned counterparts, effectively doing more with less. This allows MBEs to pass on their operational cost savings to you, the end client. That’s simply smart business.

Help mold the type of businesses you want to work with

For many MBEs, their primary goal is to serve the needs of top corporations, but they lack the opportunities to do so. They often possess a flexibility and willingness to adapt to their clients’ needs, and are willing to listen and change their businesses according to market needs. Supplier diversity initiatives provide a numerous mentorship opportunities whereby corporations can instruct their diverse suppliers on how to become a better business partner. Experience has shown that businesses with supplier diversity initiatives gain stronger relationships with their supply base, new business opportunities and a more agile supply chain.

Information provided by an affiliate council of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC): Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.