Let’s Talk about Supplier Diversity

Pam’s Blog:  Insights
Pam’s Blog: Insights



Are you as perplexed as I am? I get workforce diversity, I get community diversity, I even get inclusive diversity, but supplier diversity? That leaves me baffled and unsure if it is an afterthought of procurement.




As a women, and minority-owned business that provides professional services, I sometimes feel like most MBEs are caught between a rock and a hard place, because of a non-commitment from corporate America to grow the diverse business community.

I hear companies often discuss prime, Tier 1, and Tier 2 suppliers and how they are so committed to helping small businesses grow capacity. Yet companies do not focus on accountability of their prime suppliers – making sure that they are, indeed, growing capacity or committed to small business growth. I am not ignoring the companies that are walking the walk, but there are not nearly enough companies building diverse businesses.

Before I get to the data, I will give kudos to the government programs that are designed to help build minority businesses; and I will give a shout out to my corporate partners who have stayed the course with DiversityMBA to grow our business.

Based on DMBA Inclusive Leadership Index, survey results tell an interesting story:

• 92 percent of companies have a supplier diversity program;
• 30 percent of Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) report to a C-Suite executive;
• 77 percent of companies have supplier diversity goals;
• 42 percent of companies goals range from 1-5 percent of spend or goal;
• 8 percent of companies with 21 percent or more of spend or goal

So what is wrong with this picture, one might ask? With so many companies with a formal supplier diversity program, why are the goals so low? Who is really benefiting?

This is just the tip of the iceberg; we need to explore more to modernize supplier diversity.