Supplier Diversity Is Transforming the Business Landscape

With the pandemic and the subsequent quarantine, many people lost their jobs as businesses shut down. Many were put into situations where they had to either relocate or find new work. Unfortunately, with everything being shut down, finding work was a problem. Which means many began to look at alternate ways to make money.

Thus it’s no surprise that so many began to look at online businesses as an at-home way to supplement their pay. According to the U.S. Census, about 4.3 million new business applications were filed in 2020. This is almost 1 million more than in 2019. Even now, many are still looking at opening their own business as a viable way to increase their income.

If this is something you are considering, there is something you should look into to help boost your sales and popularity: supplier diversity. Whether you are a company that has already been established or a small business just getting started, looking at diverse suppliers could help boost your company’s appeal to many. If you are a smaller company owned by one of the qualifying minority groups, knowing what’s available to you as a minority-owned company will definitely help you out.

What is Supplier Diversity?

According to NVDBC.org, supplier diversity is a program that focuses on purchases from underrepresented groups such as minorities, women, LGBT, veterans, and disabled people.

Supplier diversity is going to become more and more important as the face of America changes. The US Census Bureau predicts that by 2050, 55 percent of the population will be minorities. This alone should motivate businesses to create a supplier diversity program to handle these changing demographics.

Harvard Business Review tells us that the history of supplier diversity in the US is firmly rooted in the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. It was General Motors that set up one of the first supplier diversity programs following the 1968 race riots. Later, after the auto industry and IBM followed suit, Public Law 95-507 established a program to encourage government contractors to include minority-owned businesses in their supply chain.

Building a Diverse Community

Many companies will use their supplier diversity programs as a selling point when hiring and when promoting their product. In this rapidly changing world of different cultures and backgrounds, companies will need to adjust if they want to stay relevant. According to a study done for UPS, fifty-two respondents said they want to work for a company that has a supplier diversity and inclusion program.

Another study found that individuals who knew about a company’s diversity programs were 25 percent more likely to think favorably about the brands, and 49 percent were more likely to use the products. These perceptions could lead to an additional 670, 000 consumers using the company’s products more frequently. So you see? Doing the right thing helps your company and can help those in need.

Diverse Business Partners Are Here

If you don’t already have a supplier diversity program in place, there are many resources to help you get started like this supplier diversity quick start guide. It gives you a step-by-step approach to creating and establishing your supplier diversity program.

There are other start guides, but this is a good place to begin. Once you have a plan in place, make your program visible and center stage. Seek out minority-owned vendors that comply with a buyer’s procurement requirements. Companies can also seek out small, diverse suppliers that need help in the certification process and create mentoring programs to help them meet the standards. 

You can also partner with different councils and chambers of commerce that provide these support systems. For example, there’s the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce; National Minority Supplier Development Council; The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and the Women’s Business Enterprise.

Getting Diverse Businesses Into the Fold

If you are a small business owner who is just getting started and you are a member of one of the qualifying groups, you might want to consider registering as a minority-owned small business. Doing so could put you on several lists that can increase your sales and give your business more visibility.

 Many larger corporations and government agencies want to contract out to smaller businesses so putting your company on their radar could be the key to your business’s growth. Whether you are a larger company looking to stay with the times or a small minority-owned business trying to get started, in today’s changing world, diversity is the key.

Adam Hansen