supplier diversity Content

The Sourcing Industry Group’s Procurement Technology Summit discusses diversity, sustainability and technology disruption in procurement

Last week, the Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) hosted one of its Procurement Technology Summit virtual conferences that brings thousands of procurement practitioners together to share the latest ideas and understand the latest developments in the industry.

The three-day event featured keynote speakers addressing diversity and inclusion, more than 30 discussions, and many sessions with procurement practitioners and technology vendors covering topics like sustainability, contracting and technology disruption.

The summit marked the 60th event for SIG since its inception in 1991. Over 1,300 attendees joined from more than 60 countries, showcasing the global nature of procurement in today’s day and age. The summit focused on procurement technology transformation through the lens of a post-pandemic world.

One common theme was a call to action: “The time is now.” This can mean anything from deploying new technologies to implementing a new diversification strategy.

Amid the Covid disruption, procurement is having a moment in the spotlight, and practitioners were eager to find out more about the concepts and technology shaping the industry.

Here are some of the highlights of the SIG summit.

Putting the spotlight on supplier diversity conversations


Kevin Frechette, CEO and co-Founder of Fairmarkit, puts the spotlight on supplier diversity conversations. "Last year, diversity and inclusion rightfully rose to the forefront of conversations across the US. In the corporate world, we saw a lot of performative activism, from empty commitments on social media to obligatory statements in the press, but we also encountered real opportunities for change. In the procurement world, teams across medium-size to large companies put a stake in the ground, committing to increased spend toward diverse suppliers ... yet, when I get on the phone and dig into these companies, I see a lot of 'checking the box' exercises instead of real change that actually drives more purchases to the diverse supplier community." He looks at three actions companies are using to judge success in their supplier diversity initiatives. 

SIG Summit discusses why diversity and inclusion matter in the contingent workforce

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2017 that 55 million people in the U.S. are gig workers, compromising about 34% of the workforce. That number is expected to become 43% in 2020, and probably higher with COVID-19 placing pressure on traditional work environments.

These numbers show the need to take a critical examination of the contingent workforce and its diversity/inclusion practices. A SIG Global Executive Summit discussion aimed to provide procurement professionals with tangible information and tips for increasing diversity and inclusion within the contingent workforce.

Ask the Expert – NMSDC, Supplier Diversity, and San Diego [Plus+]

We're pleased to announce that this week's event features TWO experts: Thomas Kase, our VP of Research and resident supplier diversity expert, and Ronald Garnett, the head of San Diego’s Council for Supplier Diversity. In the second half of 2014, the Council was forcibly disaffiliated from the NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) and has since opened its doors as a more inclusive Council working with most diverse categories – covering minorities, women, and service disabled veterans. Thomas and Ron will discuss the background of the organizational change, with some details around what transpired after the NMSDC reorg last year, and then look closer at what the San Diego Council is doing in Supplier Diversity more broadly defined. Plus and PRO members, click through to register for NMSDC, Supplier Diversity, and San Diego held this Friday, May 2, from 10-10:30am Central.

How Should You Think About Supplier Diversity? Let Us Count the Ways [Plus+]

It's Ask the Expert time again. This Thursday, 3/6 from 3-3:30pm Central, Spend Matters UK/Europe's Peter Smith will discuss how we should really think about supplier diversity. How far does it go beyond a "feel-good" initiative? What are the real reasons to consider it? Spend Matters Plus/PRO members, we hope to see you on Thursday!

What Does Supplier Diversity Mean for Procurement? [Plus+]

Freshly returned from last week's NMSDC conference in San Antonio, Spend Matters analyst Thomas Kase will give a webinar this Friday, 11/8, from 10-10:30am Central to answer all of the burning supplier diversity questions from Spend Matters Plus and PRO members. Thomas says: "From sell-side contractual obligations, to buy-side policy requirements, to broader philosophical strategies, we will take a quick look at how procurement and supplier diversity overlap. Some of the main certifying organizations such as NMSDC will be mentioned, as well as IT solution and service providers focused on meeting corporate procurement and data reporting needs. We’ll also chat a bit about providers like ConnXus, Early Morning Software, CVM Solutions (Kroll), AECsoft USA (SciQuest), Supplier Gateway & DIR, VIVA IT, and Browz." Click on through to register!

NMSDC Consolidation – Breaking News Around the True Story! [PRO]

On my way home from San Antonio, I had a chance to gather some more information from a few seasoned supplier diversity managers that I know – and there’s actually a good deal more to the story than I mentioned in the earlier article. The consolidation is officially around merging several chapters – where, as I mentioned, the San Diego chapter is supposed to join with Arizona, and Las Vegas should sort under Northern California, with the St. Louis area going to Indiana, and Ohio’s two councils becoming one. As it turns out, this is the national NMSDC position, several local councils including the ones listed above have not gone along with the plan – no can do! In fact, they’ve more or less waved a stiff one-fingered New York salute and walked out the door – allegedly taking their corporate members with them. In other words, we have a split under way! This just took place, so the story will undoubtedly take on more wrinkles as it unfolds.

Advanced Supplier Diversity: Addressing The Real Legacy of Triumph [Plus+]

In supplier diversity, most firms make attempts to connect the SMWBEs (small, minority, woman-owned business enterprises) they know of with the procurement opportunities they are aware of. There are many ifs and buts along that path, and even if there is a good fit with the supplier in question, the timing might be completely off. This area is well covered under standard strategic and even tactical sourcing processes. The main challenge for supplier diversity is to stay close enough and early enough to the activity to be effective. Even then, it is still an introspective approach, since the opportunity usually goes to already known vendors.

Overcoming Supplier Diversity Capacity Challenges – When Suppliers are Too Small (Part 1) [PRO]

In working with diverse suppliers, many take the phrases “capacity constraints” and “supply base consolidation” too lightly. Even the best prepared diverse supplier – the one walking in the corporate door fully registered in the company’s SLM (supplier lifecycle management) tool, with their current diversity certificate already uploaded, prepared with exciting products, and several client references – can still easily fail to get any business.

Supplier Diversity – Creating Shared Value for the Future of the Nation (Part 2) [PRO]

To summarize in a nutshell, supplier diversity is about these steps: Identify able diverse companies. Introduce them to your supply chain. Build capacity and capabilities. Grow together – develop a lasting mutually economically beneficial relationship.