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How To Scale Your Supplier Diversity Program

Leanne Strickler
Published September 08, 2021

The pool of diverse businesses has been significantly increasing in the past few years.

According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, there are over 4 million minority-owned companies in the United States with annual sales totaling close to $700 billion.

However, many corporations still face the challenge of scaling their diverse supplier engagement in a meaningful way. In other words, expanding the supply base to be more inclusive of companies that are owned by minorities, women, veterans, LGBT and other demographic groups can seem easier said than done.

After more than 20 years of offering supplier diversity solutions to thousands of organizations of all sizes, we have found that technology can be your best friend, empowering you with almost limitless capabilities. The “magic” of digital tools enables you to quickly scale your program quickly and efficiently, even while you’re building and maintaining strong supplier relationships.

The Benefits of Scaling Your Supplier Diversity Program

If you’re wondering why scale matters, consider the following benefits that are available to you when you have a robust supplier diversity program:

That said, to achieve your goal of scaling your supplier diversity program for maximum impact, installing new software is not enough. Best practices strongly suggest creating a detailed and concrete plan, and being realistic and disciplined about your implementation goals and timeline – some would say this is the hardest part. The following five methods are great starting points to make full use of technology to achieve your objectives.

How to Scale Supplier Diversity

1) Leverage Your Existing Supplier Relationships

Before looking for more diverse suppliers in the open market, take the time to review your existing supplier population first. You might be surprised by how many diverse suppliers are in your existing supplier base that already meets your requirements, but you didn’t know they were diverse. Expanding opportunities for those suppliers minimizes risk, expands your impact and gets things rolling quickly.

Data Enrichment is a quick and painless way to figure out the demographics of the companies that you are doing business with. It also gives you a chance to establish some baselines for measuring improvement and inclusion growth later.

2) Utilize Supplier Databases To Find New Suppliers

Suppliers of all sizes try their best to maximize their visibility by registering on platforms that allow them to find new opportunities with potential buyers. This is no different for diverse suppliers. It doesn’t hurt to leverage software to find new potential sources, and you may find exceptional value within easy reach.

SupplierGATEWAY’s database is the world’s largest active diverse supplier community with hundreds of thousands of suppliers from different demographics making this your one-stop shop for finding diverse suppliers. Beyond access to important supplier capabilities information, we also make it easy for you to find and engage suppliers of all types and with all certifications, including the new Enhanced Digital Certification.  

In addition to searching for suppliers using advanced tools, you can make the process easier by taking advantage of other tools such as the opportunity posting system to find the specific supplier you need. 

Our QuickConnect Matchmaker is a unique solution to take things one step further by enabling you to quickly and conveniently organize and schedule one-on-one web meetings, conference calls, or even in-person with potential suppliers at your convenience, with automated scheduling and screening.

3) Promote Your Supplier Diversity Efforts

Another best way to expand your network is to publicize your supplier diversity efforts. There are many channels you can use, such as social media, press releases, podcasts, etc. Depending on your goal, budget and scale size, you set a specific plan for each channel to deliver the messages and potentially reach out to new diverse suppliers. 

Innovative programs are not shy about letting prospective suppliers know about the ins and outs of doing business with their company. One popular method is via webinars and briefings through platforms like the SupplierGATEWAY event calendar or other technology tools.

Once your efforts gain traction, you not only attract more potential diverse suppliers but also lead to a positive brand reputation in the public. According to a study in The Hackett Group, top supplier diversity programs have relied on social media to increase market share and promote supplier diversity initiatives.

4) Encourage Suppliers to Become Certified

When talking about doing more business with diverse suppliers, the topic of certification is usually front and centre. The good news is that SupplierGATEWAY’s recently launched Enhanced Digital Certification (EDC), a new fast and low-cost option for suppliers to get certified.

Certification as a diverse supplier opens up access to new networks and new opportunities.  Certification also helps buyers meet compliance requirements for small business reporting – so it’s good for both buyers and suppliers.

With this in mind, SupplierGATEWAY Enhanced Digital Certification (EDC) provides a digital platform for diverse suppliers to get certified in less than a day at a low cost of $25. 

With more than 11 million diverse businesses in the US and countless more around the world that are currently not certified, SupplierGATEWAY’s Enhanced Digital Certification is proving to be an affordable and attractive fast track way to certify a wide range of suppliers such as sole proprietorships and independent contractors. 

5) Sponsor Diverse Suppliers

Depending on the corporate diversity programs, buyers can sponsor certification programs for diversity suppliers at a very low cost. Many of our corporate buyers have found this to be an attractive solution. 

For example, for the low sum of $2500, a corporate buyer can sponsor 100 diverse certifications while at the same time having access to SupplierGATEWAY’s multi-million record database of suppliers. Furthermore, as SupplierGATEWAY’s EDC is a one-stop diversity certification for all categories of diverse suppliers such as minorities, women and veterans, buyers do not have to pay separately for access to the different categories of diversity suppliers. 

About SupplierGATEWAY:

SupplierGATEWAY is a leading cloud-based, instant-on, low-priced digital supplier management platform, which automates and simplifies supplier and vendor management. SupplierGATEWAY’s tools and solutions can be deployed individually or in any combination, and easily integrated with existing AP/ERP infrastructure.

The tools and solutions capabilities encompass Supplier Registration and Enablement, P2P Sourcing & Procurement, Supplier Management, Financial Risk Monitoring, Supplier Compliance Management, Corporate Responsibility/Diversity and Vendor Credentialing.

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