Data collection one of the biggest challenges for supplier diversity, conference told

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
17 October 2014

Establishing a baseline, agreeing definitions and setting targets is the way to promote diversity in your supply chain, a conference was told.

Denis Ford, corporate indirect purchasing leader EMEA, Asia and South Pacific at engine makers Cummins, said getting the right data was “one of the biggest challenges for us”.

Speaking at the MSDUK conference in London he said: “Baseline where you are, make sure you can agree definitions to start with, go forward and set targets.”

Ford also said it was important to educate workforces about the importance of diversity. “We have a strong culture of diversity within our workforce but what I found going out to the plants was they were asking ‘Why should we do this?’ So we had to develop a business case for using ethnically diverse businesses.”

Harvey Butler, global head of supplier diversity at Barclays, told delegates he was from Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, New York, the same neighbourhood as rapper Notorious B.I.G.

“You get street cred when you can demonstrate a certain swagger,” he said. “It was a tough neighbourhood but I also found the most brilliant people in that neighbourhood who never got an opportunity to demonstrate the talent they had in the right manner,” he said.

“You have to make sure those who look different are given a platform so those coming behind them can emulate those characteristics and ambitions.”

Butler said Barclays was holding a supplier day to encourage ethnic minority-owned businesses (EMBs) to work with the bank and they also had a development programme for existing suppliers. “Our door is open,” he said.

 

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