As the world’s fastest-growing procurement and supply chain event, Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023 was a disruptive learning and networking event that showcased some of the industry’s top speakers across innovation, thought leadership and strategy.
The Supplier Diversity Forum
Introducing themselves to the audience, Jim Townsend, Procurement Specialist, and Jean Chawapiwa, Head of Member Services at MSDUK outlined their background in procurement, their experience in leading supplier diversity programs, and their involvement in community engagement.
The two emphasised the significance of leadership engagement, especially from CEOs and CPOs, for driving supplier diversity in an organisation, as well as the benefits of strategies to improve access to innovative suppliers and diverse ideas.
"If a CEO doesn't believe it, don't bother doing it,” said Townsend. “Part of the CPO’s role, meanwhile, is to act as an ambassador on the subject and drive the agenda at the board level and the executive level."
Supplier diversity disparities across global markets
On how multinational organisations can approach supplier diversity disparities, Chawapiwa pointed to the importance of in-house champions and collaborations with diverse suppliers in order to understand "market nuances".
She also highlighted the need to invest in targets and mentorship programs to support diverse suppliers, emphasising the need for collaboration and understanding market opportunities.
Townsend concluded the discussion by stressing the need for a clear policy, leadership support, and the elimination of conscious biases if organisations are to overcome the challenges when implementing supplier diversity programs.
He also highlighted the need for internal champions in driving diversity initiatives within organisations, as well as the need for engaging executives.
"The onboarding can be very complex in an organisation, so all of the mentoring and coaching is important and we do some of that,” said Chawapiwa. "So having those internal champions who want to do supplier diversity and want the organisation to do supplier diversity can be a big a huge way forward as well."
To watch any of our other speakers from Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023, click here.
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