Denis Ford of Cummins Inc – Why Supplier Diversity Matters

MSDUK conference

We are looking forward to the MSDUK Conference and Awards event in London on September 21st-22nd, celebrating 10 years of the organisation’s existence. MSDUK is the UK’s leading non-profit membership organisation driving inclusive procurement. You can get 10% off the conference fee as well if you use code SM10 when you book here!

Today, we have some thoughts on supplier diversity from Denis Ford, who is an MSDUK Board Member. His day job is as Corporate Indirect Purchasing International Leader of Cummins Inc, covering a wide geography of EMEA, NE/SE Asia & S. Pacific. Cummins is a Fortune 500 corporation that designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products.

At Cummins, we appreciate and respect the culture and core values of our organisation, and we all have a role to play in adopting a growth mind-set to further develop the firm from a multi-national to a global company.  I have been with Cummins for almost 11 years now, and in procurement for a lot more, and have seen great strides taken on many fronts and especially on the journey of diversity and inclusion.  From on-boarding of new employees through to peer group adoption, we’ve taken it from a US based initiative to a truly global program, driven through diversity advocates and champions nurtured in all regions.

We have a long legacy of commitment and recognize diversity as one of our company’s six core values.   Cummins understands that businesses owned by diverse suppliers help contribute to the overall economic growth and well-being of the communities in which we live and work.  We also understand that establishing strategic partnerships with our suppliers helps create value for our customers and provides us with a competitive advantage.  Collaborating with such businesses to provide goods and services to our company creates a cross-cultural competency that only comes from multiple perspectives.

So Cummins works with suppliers who complement our values and operate across cultures, functions, languages, differing in age, gender, race, nationality, ability and language, as well as in personality, behaviour, sexual orientation and religious beliefs.

My purpose in procurement is to align potential diverse and under-represented supplier groups with the supply opportunities within Cummins, then enable evaluation and selection of the best suppliers for our businesses.  This includes:

-  Creating and implementing a regional diversity and inclusion plan for the purchasing organisations within regions

-  Working with recognised organisations to identify, communicate, educate and select potential suppliers to be included in Cummins sourcing opportunities

-  Participating in, and effectively contributing to, recognised organisation events

-  Networking with other Corporate organisations that are aligned with the same values and philanthropic beliefs to further enhance the diversity and inclusion work within Cummins and other Corporate entities for the benefit of minority groups

-  Communicating the business case for supplier diversity and inclusion internally with all stakeholders at every opportunity to ensure diversity becomes an integral part of the procurement process at all levels.

It is our intent that diverse businesses will have opportunities to participate as suppliers and contractors to Cummins in their area of expertise.  We are committed to fostering business growth through outreach efforts and supplier development. That helps to cultivate potential suppliers and educate them on the Cummins processes, so that they can compete on an equal level, and ultimately deliver excellent products and services to our stakeholders.   Through the Cummins Diversity Procurement Initiative, our goal is to increase purchasing opportunities with diverse suppliers by developing and engaging new and existing diverse suppliers.

I am proud to be a leader in a company that embraces diversity as a core value.  I am committed to supporting the work of our Cummins Diversity Procurement Initiative, both to help foster diverse and small business development and to ensure that Cummins provides excellent service and the best products to our stakeholders every day.

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