NMSDC Response to “Spend Matters” Rant

Spend Matters welcomes a rebuttal from Joset Wright-Lacy, President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Please see links to the original posts by Thomas Kase at the bottom.

Thank you for writing about the strategic restructuring that is currently taking place within the network of regional councils affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). It is quite an undertaking, however, I am pleased with the progress we are making toward creating an equalized network that can meet the ever-changing needs of our local and national corporate members and certified minority business enterprises (MBES).

There are a few statements in the piece titled “Dispatch from the Annual NMSDC Shindig...” that require correction and clarification.

The historical focus of the National Minority Purchasing Council (the organization’s original name) since its inception in 1972 has been on creating procurement opportunities for Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American-owned businesses – not just Black-owned businesses as stated in the dispatch. NMSDC’s mission still focuses on those four racial/ethnic minority groups.

Second, our members are corporations – either local to a specific NMSDC affiliate or national, based on its coverage area. The term “diverse” does not apply to those corporate entities. Our certified MBEs are diverse based on their racial or ethnic identity, and categorized as Asian, Black, Hispanic or Native American – with sub-categories to include Asian-Pacific, Asian-Indian, etc.

There are also several points that need clarification regarding the transformation that is taking place within our network. Contrary to your article, NMSDC has had a national database of its certified MBEs since 1977. Certifying MBEs on behalf of our corporate members is our core capability, making certified MBEs our core asset. Our current database includes profiles of our certified MBEs, with detailed information about each company’s owners; size; location; annual sales; products, services and solutions; NAICS codes; geographic coverage area; number of employees; certification date, etc. National corporate members have 24/7, password-protected access to MBE profiles as a benefit of their membership. They use the data to determine the MBE’s capability or fit for procurement opportunities. The database also has a search function that many members find particularly useful. As with any information tool, the database must evolve with the organization and the needs of its users. We are working with a certified MBE to offer an enhanced national database with greater capabilities to meet the ever-changing needs of our constituents.

Our enhanced database will feature dynamic search capabilities that will allow our members to source MBEs by location, industry, product and service, and certification classifications. The database will be a great tool for our affiliate councils, with its management of supplier registration; certifications; as well as Tier 1 and Tier 2 spend analysis and reporting. We pride ourselves on having measures in place to ensure the integrity of the information contained in the database. Our corporate members rely on the validity of that information to meet their minority procurement goals. We will remain steadfast in this approach.

Finally, I want to address the NMSDC consolidation. As you stated, consolidations happen to all organizations. NMSDC is no exception. Over the years, the number of affiliate regional councils has grown and contracted. In the 1990s, we had as many as 44 affiliates. As recently as 2007, we had 39 affiliates. The market of potential and current MBEs drives the need for an affiliate council, as well as the location and sourcing needs of our member corporations. Working with Accenture, we evaluated a great deal of data to determine the best areas of the country to maximize corporate and MBE participation in the NMSDC Network. That data included empirical data from triennial studies conducted on the network, along with macro-economic data from the federal and municipal sources, highlighting the number of minority employers; geographic disbursement of MBEs and corporations; percentage of growth in the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP); percentage of the area’s contribution to the U.S. GDP; and market penetration.

The data suggested we reduce the number of affiliates to better serve our constituents. During our Leadership Meeting held this past January, the affiliate council presidents and their board chairpersons drew the new council map and began working collaboratively to implement the consolidation plan. The new council structure will go into effect in January 2014.

The consolidation does not automatically translate to job loss throughout the network. That is an oft-repeated misconception. It is simply not the case, nor our intention. A closer look at the current network configuration and council staff size revealed that the affiliates were not adequately staffed to efficiently and effectively serve their constituents. The restructure will address that situation.  From the onset of the strategic restructuring, I have encouraged the dedicated, talented leaders within our network and their staff members to recast themselves in new roles that support the new council structure. The new standards of affiliation agreement that will be signed between NMSDC and each affiliate council will include guidelines for a minimum operating model relative to staffing. As an example, in the case of a consolidation between three regions/councils, it is suggested that there be three senior leaders: a president of the new region, and an executive director for each of the former independent regions, as well as a certification specialist and an administrative assistant. This means more employment opportunities throughout the network.

Transforming the NMSDC and its network of affiliates is a challenge, but it will yield a stronger organization that is more equipped to serve its corporate members and certified MBEs.

The posts that started it all...

Who is Allowed to Take Part in the Supplier Diversity Debate?

NMSDC’s Recent Supplier Diversity Conference: Firms to Watch Out For

An Extra Intelligent Rant: Are NMSDC and Supplier Diversity at a Crossroads?

NMSDC Consolidation – Breaking News Around the True Story!

Dispatch From the Annual NMSDC Shindig, This Year in San Antonio

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