Mar 31, 2021

Supply chain’s diversity issue lacks concrete direction

Rhys Thomas
3 min
Though improving DEI is a goal for the majority of supply chain organisations, a lack of structure and goals hinders diversity efforts in leadership roles
Though improving DEI is a goal for the majority of supply chain organisations, a lack of structure and goals hinders diversity efforts in leadership rol...

A lack of concrete goals and targets may hinder the commitments supply chain organisations make towards improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), according to a new report.  

Though 59% of supply chain professionals surveyed said their company had DEI initiatives, less than a quarter had formalised measures of success. Gartner and the Association for Supply Chain Management spoke to 298 supply chain professionals between November and December 2020 for the study. 

Larger companies were found to be more likely to have initiatives aimed at addressing race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age or physical and cognitive diversity within their organisations. Just 24% of small business supply chains said improving DEI was an object, and organisations with consumer or retail customers were more likely to devote resources to the issue. 

In the context of the social justice movements of the past several years, Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, says this is unsurprising. “The largest global companies have globally recognisable brands, so they were under a lot of pressure to take action. In a global organisation, it’s more likely they’ll have a DEI officer or an HR leader that owns and cascades the DEI strategy. Where this is not happening fast enough, some chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) have designed and launched their own initiatives.”

People of colour missing from top management roles

Where even the biggest organisations fall down is diversity in the upper offices of management, particularly representation for people of colour. People of colour comprise almost a third of the total supply chain workforce, yet do not even account for a tenth of the top rungs of the corporate ladder: just 9% of VPs in supply chain organisations across the US, Canada and Europe are people of colour, for instance. 

In fact, the drop off begins even at the first levels of management, says Stiffler: “Compared to the overall representation in the workforce, there’s nearly a 50% drop once at the manager and supervisor positions.” The correlation between the size and revenue of an organisation is once again apparent.

Diversity “is essential, not aspirational”

“Building a diverse workforce is essential, not aspirational,” says ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. “Diversity of thought, influence and input — particularly from women and people of colour — is crucial to today’s global supply chains.” 

Eshkenazi admits that the issue is historic, systemic and not limited to supply chain - but much more could and should be done. “As supply chain emerged as a function, many of its management and employees migrated from other functions such as finance and engineering, which due to their own narrow talent pipelines were primarily staffed with white males. As in many fields, more progress is needed. Supply chain organisations can lead the way by creating an environment where diverse talent is valued, included and developed.”

COVID-19, though a strain on corporate resources, could be the turning point for DEI in the workplace. The shift to hybrid or fully remote work gives businesses big and small the opportunity to expand their reach when hiring talent. “Even smaller supply chain organisations will have the opportunity to hire diverse talent, simply because the available talent pool is bigger and more diverse,” Stiffler adds.

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Jul 24, 2021

DHL partners with Riversimple in sustainability move

3 min
DHL Supply Chain has announced a partnership with a focus on sustainable personal transport combined with green logistics with Riversimple Movement

Riversimple Movement, a Welsh hydrogen vehicle manufacturer, has found a new partner in the world's 11th largest employer: DHL Supply Chain. The two companies, who have recently signed an MoU, pledge to bring sustainable zero-emission vehicles to the UK, and their targets don’t stop there. The duo looks to be busy, with their sights set on developing sustainability initiatives, securing the necessary finances required to achieve the volume production of hydrogen vehicles, and designing and subsequent trialling of zero-emission transport.

DHL has already begun assisting its new partner in preparing for its first full-scale manufacturing facility, which will house the production of hydrogen-electric vehicles. 

“It’s exciting to be partnering with a highly innovative company like Riversimple, which has sustainability at the heart of its mission,” says Managing Director of DHL Manufacturing Logistics UKI, Mike Bristow. “As the world’s leading logistics company, it is our responsibility to guide the industry to a sustainable future.”

DHL has recently launched “The Sustainability Playbook”, designed to create a roadmap to implement the next generation of global supply chain. 

“Excellence. Simply delivered. In a sustainable way.”

As one of the leading drivers in global trade, DHL claims to be aware of its immense responsibility to steer innovation. Conscious of the impact their global operations have on the environment, the company initiated “Strategy 2025” - delivering excellence in the digital world. The goal: to focus increasingly on harnessing the potential for sustainable long-term growth and expanding the already-underway digital transformations within the business. 

“Strategy 2025” aims to cumulatively invest €2bn in digitalisation through to 2025, in the hope that this will enhance customer experiences. They also predict a €1.5bn yearly run rate by FY’25. 

Currently, DHL boasts a large green logistics portfolio, including carbon offsetting, green optimisation, and clean fuel and energy products, all as available ways to make the supply chain industry more sustainable. 

“We have repeatedly redefined logistics, from introducing the industry’s first green product to becoming the first logistics company to commit to a zero-emissions target,” says DHL. 

“In the past 15 years, we have continuously improved our carbon efficiency while introducing innovative green logistics solutions to make supply chains more sustainable and help our customers achieve their environmental goals.”

DHL move to lead supply chain sustainability

As the world’s 11th largest employer, and with around 570,000 employees worldwide, DHL is in a position to lead the supply chain towards a greener future. Its recent partnership with Riversimple hopes to inspire other companies within the industry to follow. 

Hugo Spowers, Founder and Managing Director of Riversimple, acknowledges DHL’s commitment to sustainability.

We’re very pleased to be collaborating with DHL to help us achieve mass production in the UK in the near term, and hopefully partner with us on a global level as we deliver our goal of systematically eliminating the environmental impact of personal transport.

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