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Diverse suppliers can remove risk

Plus other tips from the MSDUK supplier diversity conference

Could a diverse supplier base be the solution to your business problems? Yes, believes James Gruwell, executive director for supply chain strategy at manufacturer Cummins. “When you run into trouble – geopolitical risk, financial risk, technology risk, cost challenges – answer those challenges by going more diverse,” he said, at MSDUK’s supplier diversity conference.

We also learned...

Get top table support
If you don’t have support from the top, you may as well give up, said Harish Bhayani, senior partner at consultancy PRM Diversity. “If there ‘ain’t commitment at the top, you ‘ain’t gonna get very far, period,” he said.

Make the business case
Diversity is 51% culture, said Gruwell. “The other 49% is about standards and strategy.” Integrate diversity into category strategy. Take advantage of new platforms, get regional suppliers on board and reduce barriers for entry for SMEs. “We’re evolving that to make real business reasons [for diversity],” said Gruwell.

Change your KPIs
“If your company is still [using] savings as the primary measure, the rest is just add-ons,” said Accenture CPO Kai Nowosel. Start to think about the “value story”: procurement is there to enable the business; finding innovation through supplier diversity does so.

Take a risk
What risk are you taking by inviting a small supplier to an RFP or backing an emerging talent who is female or minority, asked Jami Bliss, global head of GSK’s Procurement Center of Excellence. “If we want to cause change then we need to be the change, so get out there and do it. Don’t wait for the organisation to give you permission.”

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Historic Royal Palaces
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