Inside Supply Management Magazine

Supplier Diversity from the CPO Perspective

May 06, 2015

If you want to find out what some of the finest leaders in supply chain diversity are doing, the ISM2015 Tuesday morning session “Supplier Diversity from the CPO Perspective” was the place to be. Five heavyweights in the field shared their insights in an information-packed, one hour panel discussion.

Moderated by Joan Kerr, director supply chain social responsibility for Pacific Gas and Electric, the panel included: Gary Kallenbach, CPO at UPS; Al Williams, CPO at Accenture; Clint Grimes, executive director of procurement services and supplier diversity for Time Warner, Inc.; and Tamra Pawloski, vice president and global strategic sourcing manager for Chubb.

Some highlights and soundbites:

“Supplier diversity is fundamental to our (media) content. We need to reflect our audiences and to be authentic, we must engage diverse suppliers. … It can be a challenge to find small and diverse suppliers who can actually provide the services we need. We have metrics around specific categories and engage with groups like WEConnect, and are developing strategies to encourage diverse suppliers in areas where it is becoming more important to our business.” — Clint Grimes.

“As a multinational B2B, we have supplier inclusion efforts in a number of countries. When running an RFP, make sure it makes sense. If a Tier-1 supplier can’t be found, we go to Tier 2. … It’s important for category managers to know what’s available in their markets. Make supplier diversity expertise as much a hard skill for supply management as negotiation. We aren’t chasing a percentage of spend with diverse suppliers; it’s more about developing the market, developing companies. Our goal is broader, in terms of equipping companies to succeed.” — Al Williams.

“We are a risk-adverse company. We require that of our suppliers, as well. So we go to our diverse suppliers and help with their security issues. Many come back and say it has been eye opening, and they find risks they didn’t know they had. We also provide information to these smaller businesses on how, exactly, to work with big companies—how to market yourself and present your capabilities well. — Tamra Pawloski.

“Working with diverse suppliers is part of the DNA at UPS. We do it because it’s the right thing to do. I came in as a loader and then driver at age 19, and it’s the same philosophy and level of commitment throughout the entire organization. … To be successful, stakeholders have to believe in it, and you need the right suppliers to provide the right product at the right time and price. We make sure that even in times of cost cutting, spend with diverse suppliers is one area that will never be cut.” — Gary Kallenbach.