“Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a smaller organization, effective corporate supplier diversity programs like Cintas’s focus on providing current and potential suppliers with tools for success,” said Pamela Brailsford, senior director of supplier diversity and sustainability. “Suppliers should seek out organizations that enable them to learn new ways to better their businesses.”
1. Seek out award-winning organizations: Although awards aren’t the end-all-be-all, they identify organizations with a real commitment to working with and developing diverse suppliers. These are bestowed by both national and local organizations, often on an annual basis.
2. Attend effective business development courses: Organizations that truly care about supplier diversity often offer training classes for suppliers. These allow suppliers to learn critical strategies that encourage a competitive business advantage. After attending a training workshop, suppliers should be better able to promote their business.
3. Network: Networking with sourcing and diversity leaders at trade shows or local events allows suppliers to build relationships with people who make decisions in regards to supplier selection. Additionally, it allows suppliers to get advice and feedback on ways to improve their selling strategy.
4. Identify mentors early on: Suppliers should find at least one mentor, and preferably more, who can serve as coaches to employees and executives. Organizations with best-in-class supplier diversity programs may have formal mentoring programs in place to pair passionate leaders with minority and women-owned businesses to consult them on their business strategies.
5. Define your differentiators: Corporations today want and need suppliers that produce a quality product or provide a quality service at a reduced cost. Additionally, they want a supplier base that reflects their customers. Identify which factors set your organization apart from the competition and highlight them whenever possible.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than a million businesses.
Source: Cintas Corp.
Keywords: sourcing solutions, supply chain, supply chain management, supplier network, supplier network, supplier base, enterprise diversity, minority-owned businesses, women-owned enterprises