Over the past several years it has become increasingly common, even “trendy,” for companies to commit to diversity and inclusion goals. The spotlight on racial, gender, and economic inequalities in the U.S. workforce has intensified as the greater dialogue around topics like police brutality, healthcare access, and systemic injustices gains momentum. 

But while many companies, including major corporations like the Coca Cola Company, are making big promises about improving diversity, equity and inclusion, few have actually implemented the programs and strategies necessary to fully meet these goals. A recent survey of HR professionals across the country found that nearly 80 percent of companies do not have diversity, equity and inclusion goals and are simply going through the motions of making institutional changes. 

One important point to note is that diversity and equity in the workplace is about more than hiring policies or who is represented in advertising campaigns. To truly commit to systemic changes means to look at all internal and external business practices to see where changes can be made to provide equitable opportunity and representation for those of different backgrounds and identifications.

A supplier diversity program is one way that small businesses and companies are implementing diversity plans across the procurement process and the entire supply chain. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. businesses are minority-owned, and supplier diversity programs help ensure these businesses have access to opportunities as B2B vendors, contractors and suppliers. 

Businesses with supplier diversity programs not only effectively work toward diversity, equity and inclusion goals, but also experience many of the following benefits:

  1. Higher product quality. According to Harvard Business Review, supplier diversity programs expand the pool of potential suppliers, which in turn increases competition and improves the chance of a company procuring a higher quality end product.
  2. Lower vendor costs. The increase in competition created by supplier diversity programs can also drive costs down for companies while simultaneously improving product quality.
  3. Better applicants. A Glassdoor survey found that 3 in 4 job seekers prefer companies that value diversity. Implementing a supplier diversity program can improve the quality of candidates applying for internal positions, therefore improving the overall performance and culture of the company.
  4. Improved brand image. A recent study found that individuals who knew about the Coca Cola Company’s supplier diversity program were 25% more likely to think highly of the brand and nearly 50% more likely to use Coca Cola products
  5. Greater innovation. Studies have found that diverse identities, perspectives and backgrounds lead to greater innovation within a company. By implementing greater diversity along the supply chain, companies can see more creativity, innovation and growth.

Datalou is the only supplier diversity management system with over one million suppliers with specific capabilities in advertising, marketing, communications, and media. Our robust tracking and reporting system helps you document spending and sourcing efforts, manage certifications, and share data with stakeholders.