When searching for a diverse supplier’s venue, I stumbled across an article devoted to the challenges faced by procurement professionals relating to supplier diversity. I was a little stunned when I read the line about “deciding what types of suppliers will be considered diverse suppliers”, because I thought that decision had been made. Then I remembered … there were some groups left off the SBA’s list that are lobbying to be included (bravo!). These include Gay or Lesbian owned firms and those firms owned by disabled people who didn’t become disabled in the service of a US military organization. So, I can see how the procurement organization might need to define its own goals. Listed second, however, was “Tracking the use of diverse suppliers …” which you will see talks about how to count those potential suppliers who might meet the organization’s diversity spend goals. This is where I get hung up … on being counted.
This month alone, I received seven different emails telling me that I needed to submit an updated copy of my certification. Not one of these seven companies has returned a call, replied to an email or invited us to bid on a procurement opportunity. This happens every month. We take the time and expend effort to comply with every request and so my business is being counted as a potential WBE supplier by all of these companies. But, I’ve been wondering about whether our business really counts in the larger scheme of these procurement databases.
How many times have you registered with a government or prime vendor’s supplier diversity program? How many times have you followed up with those diversity supplier contacts? And, what or how – as one of those diverse suppliers – do you measure your net return? How about sharing your experiences with us? Click here to take survey.