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Supplier Diversity Blog by supplier.io

Learning from the Top 50 Organizations that Support Supplier Diversity

learning-from-the-top-50-organizations-that-support-supplier-diversity.jpgIf you’re starting a supplier diversity program from scratch or seeking to grow a current program, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There is no need to think up new diverse supplier development initiatives, best practices, or spend scenarios, but just to take a look at the latest installment for 2016 of DiversityBusiness.com’s list of America's Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business.

If you want to learn how supplier diversity is done—and done well—study the corporations on the DiversityBusiness.com’s list. These are the companies you might want to emulate and learn from when addressing the needs of your own supplier diversity program. If you need help establishing or building out your program, supplier.io can offer end-to-end strategic consulting through its portfolio of managed services.

According to DiversityBusiness.com, the list drew participation from more than 1.5 million diversity business owners in an online election to determine the top 50 companies for providing business opportunities to diverse business owners throughout the United States.

The verdict: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is No. 1.

Taking one look at Wal-Mart’s 2015 Diversity & Inclusion Report, you can see why the world’s largest retailer is a titan of supplier diversity. In 2014, according to the report, Wal-Mart spent $13.5 billion with diverse suppliers globally, including $3.1 billion in Tier 2 spend and $4.16 billion with woman-owned enterprises.

Hardly any company will have the buying scope of a Wal-Mart, but its approach offers a lesson in how supplier diversity can be viable even at lesser levels. Some of its supplier diversity approaches from its 2015 Diversity and Inclusion Report include:

  1. Increasing sourcing from businesses owned by people of diverse backgrounds, including minorities, women, and people with disabilities
  2. Fostering an inclusive supply chain that’s relevant to Wal-Mart customers and that meets their needs
  3. Supporting the supplier diversity industry

Wal-Mart’s annual Supplier Diversity Summit, for instance, is a one-of-a-kind event that brings together untold numbers of suppliers globally to connect with Wal-Mart buyers to “advise, advocate, and advance dialogue” between diverse businesses and internal Wal-Mart stakeholders.

Download the Report: The 2021 State of Supplier Diversity

Though the Wal-Mart summit program will be one of the largest, staging such events can be accomplished on almost any scale with impressive results. And Wal-Mart, no matter its size and influence, isn’t alone on its supplier diversity journey, as it partners with leading advocacy organizations, from the Billion Dollar Roundtable, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and U.S. Business Leadership Network to the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Latino Coalition, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

That kind of partnering is available to smaller corporations and many of these same advocacy groups have regional affiliates ready to assist.

Although Wal-Mart has the top spot on the DiversityBusiness.com Top 50 for 2016, other corporations on the list are just as formidable and worth studying for how they operate their supplier diversity programs.

Here are some snapshots of ways some others in the Top 50 excel at supplier diversity:

  • No. 7 Verizon Communications: Verizon’s commitment is detailed in a reader-friendly fact sheet targeting diverse suppliers and showing how they can compete for business. Check out also Verizon’s YouTube video on supplier diversity.
  • No. 13 Cisco Systems: Cisco talks in a recent article about its view that its “partner diversity initiative” approach to supplier diversity can be a game-changer for supplier diversity by targeting business-to-business collaborations.
  • No. 37 Hilton Worldwide: Hilton advocates that benchmarking against supplier diversity spend is at the foundation of an effective supplier diversity program. Such an approach allows for goal setting against overall spending and the availability of quality goods and services from minority-owned and woman-owned businesses, according to Hilton. Another approach from Hilton is to look at supplier diversity in the vein of developing strategic alliances with diverse companies.

DiversityBusiness.com notes that the Top 50 companies “truly differentiate themselves in the market place in a time when diversity is on the rise.” If you are looking to learn from the best of the best in supplier diversity, these Top 50 companies are among those leading the way.


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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.