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Some have been overwhelmed with where to start? How do I

know this company has the right certification and is truly a diverse supplier and not simply a pass through? How will this impact my current supply chain in adding a new supplier? Being a smaller company, will it be able to support my supply channel in the way I am accustomed with our big national suppliers? How do I find certified diverse suppliers that will partner with me? How can my company mentor a diverse supplier to succeed?

These are all sincere, legitimate concerns. After all,

purchasing professionals are held responsible for the decisions they make in their supply channel. For this reason, I reached out to several purchasing and diversity professionals in our industry to share their viewpoints, concerns and successes.

I asked the contributors to consider the following questions:

1) What comes to mind when you think of a diversity supplier?

2) In what way does your company encourage utilizing supplier diversity?

3) Can you identify any specific areas where a diversity supplier has added value beyond your best in class supply channel partners (or could)?

4) Do you sense a level of concern when a company expresses a desire to utilize a diversity supplier and, if so, what steps do you take to ensure the quality of service they provide?

Cono A Letizia, small business liaison for SCI Technology

Ask twenty different people to define diversity and you will get as many different responses. Each will carry the same tone of ‘social responsibility’ mandated or required by existing Federal, State and municipal laws. The Webster’s

dictionary definition of diversity reads “To

increase the variety of products or services, or to engage in a variety of operations”, which is conducive to the growth of business development. All the regulatory actions have occurred

12 | February 2014

in an effort to level the playing field for the small entrepreneurs to have a chance in their development and growth. However, the unintended consequence has been to create a form of resistance from those who believe in the laissez faire approach when it comes to economics.

The intelligent and practical CEOs realize that another famous

quote (When in Rome…) comes into play and build their business by not only operating within the established guidelines, but by honing the types of businesses they are required to use to their advantage, while balancing the requirements to provide a return on investment.

Today’s small business owners provide their larger

counterparts and potential customers/mentors with the opportunity to manufacture and service a variety of small to moderate size contracts that the larger corporation would generally not bid for due to reasons such as the cost­ effectiveness of tooling.

Social responsibility is a nice by product of the main purpose

of contracting, sub­contracting, purchasing and supplying goods and services is the development and proliferation of the free enterprise system. When all its facets are exercised in just the right measure, job creation and cost savings are realized, competition is inevitable and healthy, and where free enterprise exists, creative business solutions are a natural by­product.

Blair Daniels, senior buyer and diversity liaison for Automated Logic, a division of United Technologies

Many folks have apprehensions on supplier diversity. They think that their costs will go up and that they will be forced to use a supplier or type of supplier that they will have issues with down the road. A big challenge is finding a supplier that meets the criteria a company has for adding a new supplier to the supply channel. In my search for diverse suppliers, I have found more in the service companies and not in electronics or direct material. Another big concern is 

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