Megan Stowe, Intel's international supplier diversity manager, receiving the CIPS SM award
Megan Stowe, Intel's international supplier diversity manager, receiving the CIPS SM award

Case study: Intel, a more inclusive space for business

12 October 2018

Making it company policy to encourage women-owned and ethnic minority suppliers has paid off for Intel.

Diversity and inclusion has been embedded in the culture of technology giant Intel for many years, cascading down through the business and out to its supply chain. Its efforts have seen the company ranked sixth in the Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 last year (fifth this year) and receive several awards – a list to which it can now add the CIPS Supply Management Award for Best Procurement Diversity Initiative. 

Catching up with Megan Stowe on the awards night, the international supplier diversity manager and strategic sourcing director for greater Europe said: “We were one of the first to go into international diversity.” 

About eight years ago, the US-based supplier diversity team was expanded into the international space. The focus began in India, the UK, South Africa and Ireland, and now there are supplier diversity team members around the world. 

Having created a baseline list of women-owned and ethnic minority businesses it already used, the company set out to drive that forward with the help of sponsors in each country, such as the president of Intel India and the UK VP general manager.

The plan was to disrupt the traditional tech supply chain, and because many diverse businesses are small, with limited resources, the programme set up opportunities, creating workshops and meetings to educate and grow their businesses and help them not only become part of Intel’s supply chain but also to thrive in the industry. 

Intel supported the launch of a German diversity programme, committing to spend $100m over three years with women-owned businesses globally. 

Supply chain management processes have become more supportive of supplier diversity, Stowe explained. “Now whenever there is an RFP we have a diverse supplier in the mix.” And they often win. 

Last year procurement introduced into its tier-one, non-diverse supplier contracts an expectation that by 2020 they will be spending 10% with diverse suppliers. As part of their scorecard, “now they must have started a diverse supplier programme” and be able to identify the exact job they have been given. “We are pushing that down to first and second suppliers,” said Stowe. And it is creating awareness - one US-based HR firm has reached more than 40% diversity.

The 2020 supplier diversity roadmap commits to spend $1 billion a year with such suppliers, and the company says it will be open about its progress. 

Interconnected

Intel works with organisations that support diversity, and Megan Stowe herself is a board member of WeConnect International, which supports women-owned businesses, actively collaborating beyond the company to encourage and support supplier diversity in the wider business world. 

In the UK Intel is involved with MSDUK, which supports ethnic minorities, and with similar franchises in China and Australia. 

While many of Intel’s suppliers embrace diversity, there are some difficult areas, such as the direct side, the silicon and the factory environment, Stowe said. “But they are finding ways to push down to their suppliers. They are being creative and working with the WeConnects and MSDUKs of the world.”

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