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that many companies claim to be diverse, but are not. You have to take the time to document who your diverse suppliers are and keep their current certifications noted. Additionally, many companies present themselves as diverse companies but are merely a ‘pass through’ company. This is not genuine and does not do what diversity set out to do. The benefits I have gained from my diverse suppliers are reduction in cost in certain areas with local stocking on products we use, which increases our inventory turns. Smaller suppliers offer more flexibility and customize products when needed. We get more personal service with diversity suppliers with more focus on us. Small business drives our economy, which benefits us all.

Louise Connell, TS­M­3 procurement North America, BMW Manufacturing Co

BMW believes that having a diverse pool of suppliers adds value to our company because it brings innovation and new ideas. We really try to enable a culture of inclusiveness at BMW.

We have a very diverse customer base and we would like to reflect that in a

diverse supplier base. BMW has launched a Tier 1 supplier matchmaking conference

as part of an effort to expand our MBE and WBE’s participation in our business. It opens the door for MBEs and WBEs to meet and interact with BMW Tier 1 suppliers. We see our Tier 1 suppliers as partners in the company’s diversity initiative.

Many companies and people believe that because you are a

MBE or WBE you are not large enough to handle the business of a big company. Sometimes this might be true for a startup company, but when BMW undertook the addition of a new assembly hall, an MBE was selected to install more than a million feet of cable in the 1.2 million square foot space. The project was a complete success. The same holds true for a supplier who met a relocation company at our supplier diversity event and is now handling BMW’s supplier’s relocation services nationally.

14 | February 2014

George J. Ehrgott, manager, strategic sourcing & supplier diversity, Communications Test Design

Communications Test Design (CTDI) has had a supplier diversity program since 1994 and acts to establish new supplier relationships that benefit the company, customer and communities of which we are a part.

Our suppliers need to be the experts in their field – having a

strong knowledge and skill base in their core business. Diverse suppliers within our supply chain are there as extensions of our own business – being expected to bring innovative ideas and solutions that improve how or what we deliver to the customer. We expect the diverse suppliers to have an ‘edge’ to them– knowing they will provide that extra effort in working a solution for us that proves to all how important they can be in our supply chain.

As with all procurement activity, supplier diversity efforts

should be continuously reviewed to ensure opportunities are followed through. Supplier diversity is an integral component to strategic sourcing and a natural aspect of ensuring fairness and supplier selection quality.

Becoming members of the National Minority Supplier

Development Council (NMSDC) and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) provides access to certified minority and women­owned business enterprises across the nation. Certification of an MWBE’s status is the first step in the process of supplier diversity advocacy. Once part of the NMSDC and WBENC networks, become involved – don’t just sit on the sidelines waiting to be invited into the game!

Looking at supply chain connections or finding gaps that could

stand some improvement are typical ways to identify opportunities for diverse suppliers. Another is finding a niche area where the knowledge and skills necessary can develop into a strong supply chain position for the potential supplier. We’ve found such supply chain partners who developed into key components of our customer relationships as they continuously make improvements to the service and products that they provide.


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