DRIVING VALUE THROUGH SUPPLIER DIVERSITY

BY RAJ SHARMA AND RUSS WITT (Conseco Study)
"Supplier Diversity is no longer simply a funtion of social responsibility, but an innovative pathway to true, competitive advantage."

In evaluating the study's findings, two key characteristics clearly stand out amoung successful, mature supplier diversity programs.  First such programs demonstrate a deep strategic understanding of their organizations sourcing needs and the role they play in identifying opportunities for diverse suppliers.
 Rather than waiting for customers to approoach them with needs organizations with successful programs proactively assess spend and work with customers to forecast future needs.  Second, high-performing supplier diversity programs demonstrate proactive eagerness to work with customers and potential suppliers through process--from understanding customer needs to identifying, selecting, and intergrating diverse suppliers.  These programs engender credibility within their organizations while nurturing supplier relationships that may one day be integral pieces of their companies supply chains.