The top companies for supplier diversity and why they made our list
So what does it take to become one of BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Top Companies for Supplier Diversity?
To gain a clue, review Bank of America’s treatment of diverse vendors. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the nation’s second largest banking institution had a procurement spend of more than $2.6 billion with such firms in 2016. Beyond contracting products and services of MWBEs (minority- and women-owned business enterprises), it promotes a series of programs to develop their suppliers.
Its supplier diversity initiatives include:
- Awarding capacity-building scholarships for executive education and entrepreneurial programs
- Encouraging engagement in its Supplier Diversity and Development Mentoring Program, which has been customized for each participant
- Offering development training through BoA’s Supplier Diversity and Development Small Business Institute to help small and diverse businesses overcome challenges to growth and capacity building.
“We’re committed to supporting economic growth and development in the communities that we serve and believe that when diverse suppliers achieve success, the diverse communities we serve experience tangible and sustained economic benefits,” says Supplier Diversity & Development Executive Jennifer Mulley. “Our approach, of committing to spend Bank of America procurement dollars with diverse businesses while simultaneously investing in their continued development, gives rise to a meaningful, long-term impact.”
It has been BoA’s 25-year commitment to expand the numbers of suppliers that reflect its employees and customer as well as increase the dollar amount spent with them that made it the first financial services company to be included in the Billion Dollar Roundtable—corporations that spend $1 billion or more with certified Tier 1 women and minority-owned vendors. It also happens to be one of the leading criteria to make our exclusive roster as well.
BE‘s editorial team researched corporate purchasing programs, supplier diversity initiatives, and D&I surveys as well as talked with entrepreneurs, corporate directors, supplier diversity executives and experts to find the diversity procurement leaders among the 1,000 largest publicly-traded corporations. Our selections for this year’s 50 Top Companies for Supplier Diversity met the following criteria:
- Corporations that were members of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
- Companies that had been recognized and honored by the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council over the past five years as growth leaders in procurement spend and capital access for minority suppliers.
- Major companies that have completed surveys and consistently have been identified among our BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 50 Best Companies for Diversity and BLACK ENTERPRISE Top Companies for Supplier Diversity lists as leaders for minority procurement spend and supplier development, especially with African American firms.
- Companies that have been noted by chief purchasing officers, chief diversity officers and supplier development consultants, experts and advocates as having designed and instituted the best supplier diversity programs related to financing, outreach, orientation, mentorship and management development initiatives to strengthen vendors and place them on track to becoming prime suppliers.
An overwhelming number of the companies have selected the BE 100s—the nation’s largest black-owned companies—to be among their top suppliers. As such, a myriad of our listed corporations have contracted with BE 100s firms across sectors, from automotive and manufacturing to tech and professional services.
AT&T is among our listed corporations that count BE 100s firms as major suppliers. In fact, World Wide Technology (No. 1 on the BE 100 with $9.3 billion in revenues) represents one of their leading companies but it also seeks to develop smaller companies. In fact, the focus of the telecom giant’s global supplier diversity organization is to identify a mix of companies that will provide products and services to make AT&T more competitive around the world.
AT&T has “top-down” dedication to supplier diversity, AT&T Supplier Diversity Manager Yvette Mouton maintains. That approach is demonstrated in its setting annual diversity spend goal as 21.5% of the total procurement spend, During 2016, AT&T spent $9.8 billion with minority business enterprises and its contracting dollars with African American firms grew $168 million from 2015 to 2016.
Mouton continues: “Our program is structured around our internal and external initiatives. We have managers dedicated to working with our sourcing teams and business units to identify specific areas of opportunity and include diverse businesses in competitive bids. We believe diverse and women-owned suppliers bring value to our company through their unique skills and innovative ideas. Their efforts help us deliver world-class products and services to meet our customers’ diverse needs.
—Additional reporting by Jeffrey McKinney