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Walking the Walk: The Diverse Vendor Showcase & Importance of Supplier Diversity

October 15, 2021

By Tamesha Keel


As part of this year’s fantastic Summer Conference Planning Committee, it is hard to believe that the Summer Conference was three months ago! It seems like just yesterday that the Diverse Vendor Showcase debuted with over 50 diverse vendors, a collaborative brainchild between the DEIB and Summer Conference Planning Committees sponsored by SkillBurst Interactive. 

After the introduction, I challenged everyone to follow the PDC and SkillBurst Interactive’s lead in this important endeavor by examining their procurement processes and consider diverse vendors as one way to combat systemic inequality.

Many studies underscore the commercial and social benefits of supplier diversity programs, which involve businesses at least 51% owned and operated by an individual or group that is part of a traditionally underrepresented or underserved group.  Noted benefits of supplier diversity programs include:

  • Improved corporate citizenship
  • Reduce supply chain risk
  • Drive competitive supply or service rates
  • Fill gaps in service or product coverage
  • Source innovative ideas
  • Influence supplier ecosystem development
  • Drive top line by resonating with customers
  • Attract and retain talent
  • Inclusion = profitability

Further, the Hackett Group found that every $1 million that a diversity supplier program spends on procurement operation costs adds $3.6 million to the bottom line.  Clearly, these benefits are ROIs that we can all get behind.

Although these programs are more important than ever, given the link between economics and injustice, too few organizations have them and those who do have allowed their diversity initiatives to become token gestures.

Moreover, the idea that corporate spend is a lever for change and impact is poignantly highlighted by this quote from Vijay Eswaran, Executive Chairman of QI Group: “Business has the transformative power to change and contribute to a more open, diverse, and inclusive society. We can only accomplish this by starting from within our organizations.”

Now, time for a progress check: how has your organization fared with this summer conference challenge? If efforts have been less than stellar, it is not too late. Conference attendees can access the Diverse Vendor Showcase for three more months by clicking the Showcase tab in the Whova app. This invaluable resource will also be updated and available to all PDC members in the future. Stay tuned!