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Effective strategic sourcing starts with inclusive procurement

DiversityCPOSupplier CollaborationOrganisational AlignmentProcurement ExecutiveProcess & PerformanceTeam and TalentSRM & InnovationStrategic Supplier DevelopmentCategory Management & Business AlignmentFunctional PlanningSupplier OnboardingSupplier IntegrationOrganisational Structure & HeadcountSMESupplier Development Programme+-

Diversity without inclusion is a lot like making bread without using any yeast; the dough will fail to rise without such an integral component to the recipe.


Similarly, having a supplier diversity programme without a plan to include diverse suppliers in your strategic sourcing process is not a recipe for success.


Inclusion is the key ingredient that will bring your sourcing strategy together. Too often, we hear about corporations with great intentions and plans to develop their own supplier diversity programmes. Although they will validate their diverse supplier data or acquire a supplier registration portal to track their spend, we often don’t hear about their plans to include diverse suppliers in their overall strategies and supply chains.


Many of these organisations have supplier diversity experts who don’t collaborate with their larger procurement teams - these professionals are incentivised differently and often don’t communicate with those they need to or they simply aren’t aligned on strategy.


As a result, corporate supplier diversity programmes often lack the intent to include diverse suppliers in their overall sourcing process.


Supplier diversity can be measured by many tools and metrics, but that doesn’t guarantee that any programme will be inclusive. Inclusion strengthens relationships with suppliers, both diverse and non-diverse, and transforms them from transactional to symbiotic ones. Bringing suppliers into your overall strategy allows them to the opportunity to help you solve challenges and develop innovations. Rating your suppliers and getting feedback in return fosters communication, promoting transparency and trust.


The success of your strategic sourcing strategy requires intent and inclusion. To drive that, you need to ask the following questions to gauge the current state of your supplier diversity and sourcing plans:

  • Are your diverse suppliers included in your corporate supplier development programmes?
  • Do you have a three- to five-year strategic sourcing plan?
  • Do you include suppliers in your innovation and ideation planning sessions?
  • Do you challenge your suppliers to be inclusive themselves with their own supply chains?
  • Are you measuring the economic impact of your spend and being strategic about where you’re sourcing your diverse suppliers from?
  • Do you rate your suppliers? Are your suppliers rating your inclusion in return?
  • Does your procurement team have the same incentives and goals?

It’s easy to start a supplier diversity programme and turn on a portal in the hope diverse suppliers will register with you. But it’s much harder to create a deliberate inclusion plan.


The lawyer, author and diversity expert Vernā Myers once said: "Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance."


Develop and challenge your suppliers; ask them to dance. You may be surprised at the results.


Procurement Leaders’ Primer on supplier diversity provides members with advice on establishing an supplier diversity programme


Daryl Hammett is the COO and co-owner of ConnXus, a SaaS-based global supplier management platform.


This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.

Daryl Hammett
Posted by Daryl Hammett

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