Developing a Successful Supplier Diversity Program


Developing a Successful Supplier Diversity Program

More and more organizations are interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their supply chains. According to a report by Jaggaer

“Seventy percent of respondents globally said supplier diversity is a high or medium priority for their organization, yet many are still in their early stages of implementation. Sixty-three percent haven’t started, or are just getting started, with these initiatives. Just over 25% actively source from vendors from historically disadvantaged communities today.”

While DEI is a priority for many businesses, Safe’N’Clear is aware that creating a supplier diversity program can be challenging. With a framework in place to secure diverse suppliers, Safe’N’Clear made this guide to walk you through the process. Read all the steps to get started!

Step One: Start From Within and Get Executive Support 

To build a DEI program with impact, you need to have the support within your organization’s leadership to make the changes in your supply chain. You need to have the right company culture and should be actively considering diversity within your organization to make sure you can diversify your partners. However, your organization may need the framework for DEI suppliers in place even with the proper foundation. 

When you bring up diverse suppliers and the value to your team members and upper management, you need to be able to answer questions like: 

  • Why do we need diversity in the supply chain and why now?
  • What actionable goals could we implement to make DEI happen in our supply chain?
  • How will Supplier Diversity actually happen?
  • Do you have ideas to get started?

Answering these questions will allow you to educate members of your team and executives on the value of DEI and how to implement within your supply chain. From there, you will be able to start sketching out how your organization’s program will look. 

Step 2: Define the Scope and Investment in Your Program 

Once you have the support to build a supplier diversity program, you need to determine how extensive the program will be and what resources you can devote to the program. Supporting your DEI program may even mean hiring a role within your organization to facilitate the program and developing internal checks to ensure the program succeeds. 

Investing in DEI is more than selecting a couple of diverse suppliers. You must provide support, networking, and opportunities to grow diversity throughout your supply chain. You will need to build DEI programming, content, and training. Working to construct DEI infrastructure is crucial. As you look at your budget, break down your organization’s capabilities, and your capacity to support your suppliers. 

Step 3: Identify Diverse Suppliers That Meet Your Business Goals

Once you have a plan in place, you need to identify businesses that fit your business model and are either founded or have most employees traditionally underrepresented in your industry. To be truly inclusive, consider who is underrepresented across race, disability, gender, sexuality, and more. To identify these businesses, you should research organizations in your community that highlight these businesses and the value of DEI. 

Because Safe’N’Clear is founded with the issues faced by the Deaf community in mind, making sure disabled-owned business enterprises (DOBEs) is a part of supplier DEI programs is critical to the team behind the mask. Including DOBEs can help you support these businesses and better serve the disabled community by sourcing products like The Communicator™, which can help deaf and hard-of-hearing people communicate in places where masks are required. Disability:In, a nonprofit dedicated to business disability inclusion, has resources on supplier diversity programs and diverse suppliers in the disability community. This resource can help you identify potential business partners to meet your DEI goals. 

You can start diversifying your supply chain by doing this research and reaching out to these organizations. 

Step 4: Collaborate with Suppliers and Track Growth 

When you have a program plan and have started with your suppliers, you need to track and measure how well the program is working and what improvements you need to make. You can do this by having an open line of communication with your suppliers to get feedback and track how well sales are going. 

As you collaborate and also have programming supporting your suppliers, you can ask yourselves questions like:

  • Are there ways for us to better support our suppliers?
  • What areas of DEI could we improve?
  • Is my organization getting good results?
  • Where is there room for growth?
  • How are DEI initiatives performing with customers? 

Asking yourself these questions and continuing to evaluate to improve will give you a more robust program that can sustain, making a more significant impact on the supply chain. 

Want to Add Safe’N’Clear to Your Supplier Diversity Program?

Of course, this is just an overview of getting started with supplier diversity programs. As a woman-owned and certified DOBE (Disability Owned Business Enterprise), Safe’N’Clear is passionate about diversity in supply chains. If your program is ready and you want to add The Communicator™ to your PPE supply chain, Safe’N’Clear can help you support clear, safe communication. 

Safe‘N’Clear markets The Communicator™ surgical face mask with clear window, the first FDA-approved medical mask. The mask is 100% sourced and made in the USA and is ADA-effective, allowing healthcare facilities to serve patients with accessible, transparent, and clear communication. The Communicator™ is also approved by Health Canada and Europe’s CE mark; The Communicator™ is definitely the best medical-grade mask quality-wise and communication-wise. If you are ready to get started, shop The Communicator™ mask here. You can also learn all about Safe’N’Clear here