A strong supplier diversity system can greatly benefit large scale corporations and the small businesses they work with, but how do you know if your partnership will lead to success? Or alternatively, how do you know if the company you want to supply for really cares about inclusion? Here’s how to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your supplier diversity partnership.
Communication is Present on Both Sides
As with a relationship of any kind, communication is critical. For a supplier diversity program to thrive, you not only need to keep clear and constant communication, but also invest time in nurturing your relationship. One of the best ways to do this is to assign a point of contact and create a feedback loop to help project owners and suppliers clearly relay their expectations. Establishing a point person early on will help in communicating any issues or problems that may arise during the exploration and production of a project. A feedback loop can be used to share successes, positive customer reviews or general status updates. The more comfortable each side feels about speaking up throughout the process, the less likely miscommunication will be an issue.
It Isn’t a Side Project
Committing to a supplier diversity program should never be taken lightly. It isn’t a side project meant to “make your business look good” —it’s a legitimate business relationship that fosters diversity and inclusion in the marketplace and beyond. If the company you’re working with—be it a corporation or small business—lacks communication, punctuality or any real commitment to the partnership, you may be in danger of receiving any kind of real profit or benefit.
Healthy supplier diversity programs keep constant communication, nurture their relationships, have clear leadership concerning partnership issues and keep diversity at the forefront of their company’s operations. When all of these aspects are in check, small businesses will be encouraged to supply quality products, corporations will want to continue their business partnership and the likeliness of overall business success is high.
A key way to ensure that your potential partner actually cares about diversity is to look within their organization. Do they have a diverse workforce? Are they working to recruit and retain diverse candidates? Do they publicly support organizations and legislation that promote inclusivity? If a business doesn’t show any interest in inclusion outside of their supplier diversity program, it could be telling of how seriously they’ll take your partnership.
They Work Directly with Diverse Outlets
Whether you’re a supplier or a distributor, a great way to increase strong business relationships is by working with organizations that specialize in supplier diversity. Earning a small business certification with an organization like the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) or the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is considered an asset. Certified businesses go through lengthy, detailed processes to ensure that they not only care about diversity, but produce a legitimate, quality product. On the other hand, corporations who choose to work with supplier diversity organizations prove that they not only care about growing proper connections with small businesses, but want to pursue a professional, diverse partnership. Working with legitimate certifiers will increase your chances of successful, stress-free supplier diversity partnerships.
If you’re looking for a great organization to work with you may want to consider:
- National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
- S. Chamber of Commerce
- The Small Business Administration
Sources: Fairmarkit, SpendHQ, Supply & Demand Chain Executive