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Supplier Diversity Blog by supplier.io

The supplier diversity metrics your leadership team expects to see

Introduction 

Tracking supplier diversity metrics and presenting that information to your leadership is essential to maintaining the record-high executive engagement and interest we’ve seen in recent years, as well as helping get your hard work recognized and gaining further investment and support for your program.  

As LaTisha Brandon from The Container Store says, “You need to learn to speak the language of the business.” That language is centered around metrics, specifically revenue drivers.  

Additionally, your leadership team expects you to run your program with a focus on data-driven decision making that holds people accountable to clear and attainable goals.  

Here are some key metrics your leadership team will expect to see.  

Spend  

This is the baseline for what leadership will expect you to be able to provide.  The amount your company spends with diverse suppliers is the most common and basic supplier diversity metric. Your total diverse spend—Tier 1 and Tier 2—provides a snapshot of your program’s health and effectiveness. 

But the story doesn’t end with that dollar amount. 

Put that metric into context for leadership by also reporting what percentage of the company’s overall spend it represents. For example, $10 million spent with diverse suppliers is worth celebrating. But if your company’s annual overall spend is $1 billion, then a diverse spend of 1% shows room for improvement.  

Benchmarking is another important tool in capturing accurate contextual spend data, and making things real for your leadership. You might spend 1% of your diverse spend with women-owned businesses, but if your industry’s average is 3%, having this information will be a great resource in setting clear and attainable program goals and help leadership understand where to invest in your program.  

Trends 

Over time, your supplier diversity metrics will reveal a bigger, more detailed picture of your supplier diversity program. When preparing a report for leadership, look for the trends you can pull out of the data.  

How have metrics changed year over year? Quarter over quarter? Are the numbers going in the right direction? How did specific initiatives, marketing campaigns (internal and external), or the implementation of new tools impact your program? How often did your supplier diversity program’s metrics align with the overall goals of your CEO? 

Spotting trends allows you to determine where to double down on your efforts or how to tweak your approach to see improvement to a specific key performance indicator (KPI).  

For example, if you’re seeing a decrease in spend, you may want to look at how many diverse suppliers you’re including in RFPs. If you’ve gone from including diverse suppliers 80% of the time to only 60%, that can explain your decrease, and give you a clear metric to hit.   

It’s easier to know which action to take and to gain buy-in from decision makers when you have metrics those decision makers want to see lighting the way. 

Risk & Opportunity 

Diverse spend is the supplier diversity metric that gets the most attention, but the number of diverse suppliers within the supply chain is becoming increasingly important to determine the health and effectiveness of a program. 

The mission of a supplier diversity program is to provide opportunities to many diverse suppliers, not just a few.  

We also know that overreliance on suppliers is risky—something the supply chain issues caused by the COVID pandemic have demonstrated globally. In the case of a supplier diversity program, overreliance on a supplier can impact your KPIs in addition to the supply chain. 

Suppose you have a diverse supplier that makes up 20% of your diverse spend, then they are purchased and lose their minority ownership status. (This is a fairly common occurrence because diverse-owned companies often demonstrate the innovation and agility larger companies covet.) That supplier no longer qualifies for diversity certification, and your spend just dropped 20%.  

This scenario might cause a minor panic attack, but this is exactly why tracking diverse supplier metrics is important. Are your buyers experiencing challenges when it comes to selecting diverse suppliers? Do you need additional resources such as training for buyers to source qualified diverse suppliers or a Supplier Explorer tool? Now is the time to talk to leadership about investing in your program’s sustainability. 

Economic Impact 

As consumers, employees, and other stakeholders increasingly call for diversity, equity, and inclusion from businesses, this metric answers the question, what are you doing to advance DEI in the real world? 

An economic impact report humanizes your supplier diversity program through both qualitative and quantitative metrics. The data you include here—jobs created, tax revenue generated, and wages earned—demonstrates the real impact your supplier diversity program has on the communities where you operate.  This knowledge becomes information your leadership can use to celebrate your program internally and externally.   

Conclusion 

A data-driven approach to supplier diversity through tracking, reporting, drawing insight, and adjusting your strategy will help you grow and evolve your program effectively and sustainably. But that data needs to go beyond your supplier diversity team.  

Sharing supplier diversity metrics with company leadership increases visibility for your program, keeping supplier diversity in the hearts and minds of management and helps you build a business case for growing your program.   

Looking for a new solution to gathering diverse supplier data? Book a consultation with one of our sales representatives to see how supplier.io can help you bring your program to the next level.  

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The team has a long history in driving innovative solutions in supplier diversity. We believe that companies deserve solutions that are effective and provide measurable value and results. Started more than a decade ago, supplier.io has rapidly become a prominent provider of supplier diversity solutions to leading corporations. We currently support customers in automotive, healthcare, insurance, retail, manufacturing, education, and banking. One in five Fortune 50 company relies on supplier.io.