Can we make supplier diversity a priority post-pandemic?

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Mayank Shah, MSDUK, explores how supplier diversity could become a priority in the far-flung post-pandemic realm

The disruption of the pandemic has created a new and often unfamiliar landscape for businesses. For many companies, supplier diversity has been on the back burner throughout the global pandemic.

But for, other companies realized they needed to turn to local suppliers to maintain continued supplies, especially when the pandemic disrupted overseas supply chains.

During these test periods, many companies have managed to continue to deliver. Large companies spend millions of pounds with their suppliers every year, but changing their supply chains to include more diverse suppliers is beneficial for both the company and the supplier.

Additionally, by sourcing products and services from minority-owned small businesses, these diverse and smaller businesses are also contributing to the recovery of the economy in the UK and around the world.

The importance of strong supply chains

By looking at local and minority suppliers, some companies have created strong supply chains despite the disruption of the pandemic. Improve their partnerships and collaboration, successfully deliver a diverse supply chain and achieve the best results for all stakeholders. Additionally, when properly instilled, diversity in sourcing creates social value to build and embed resilience in our local and wider community.

A brilliant case study of how a diverse supply chain helped global name Sony Pictures UK was in the midst of producing its summer blockbusters at Pinewood Studios and locations across the UK when the pandemic hit. hit in early 2020. As a member of MSDUK, they contacted us to recommend various suppliers who could supply certified PPE products. They were looking for a diverse supplier to supply certified PPE products that could offer a flexible and agile approach to delivery and service all regions of the UK.

For Sony, Brocks Compass have lived up to their high standards for their PPE products and on many occasions the team have gone the extra mile to accommodate last minute requests at various filming locations across the UK. Additionally, Brocks Compass has expanded its business to provide promotional items and ergonomic equipment. Sony Pictures demonstrated its ability to be agile and underlined its commitment to supplier diversity by integrating Brocks Compass into its procurement systems to work more efficiently.

Andrew Edgeley, Director of Sony Pictures Strategic Sourcing at Sony Pictures, said, “Sony wants to send a message that small, diverse businesses can add value to the bottom line. Not only did they deliver, they were competitive, providing the flexibility we need to keep our latest productions from Cinderella to Venom 2 and many other films safely on track. Dee Patel from Brocks Compass has been quite phenomenal as he doesn’t let me down and always goes the extra mile.

We’re also noticing that increasingly it’s something new hires are looking for, a motivated generation with higher expectations.

Gen Z is woke enough to want real evidence of change

For many companies, as a general rule, include social responsibility, equality and justice on their websites and in their mission statements. However, the next generation of employees is more Wake up and want more than a statement on a website; they want proof.

The last two years of the pandemic have forced a change in needs; it is no longer enough to have a statement on the website. When graduates apply to us now, they ask us what they are doing about climate change, local communities, etc.

Additionally, employees are looking for organizations to have a more ethical approach, especially in the pandemic where we have seen frontline workers living in poverty and the Black Lives Matter movement. These are hugely influential messages that have seen young people demand change and see companies take a more ethical approach.

Five steps to a more diverse supply chain

The first step is always the hardest, and it can often be difficult to know where to start as a business. So I thought I’d share five steps towards a more diverse supply chain.

Step 1: Look internally and make a solid business case. Share the “whys” and “whats” that supplier diversity brings to the business

2nd step: Engage the leadership team and ensure genuine leadership engagement and commitment, as well as training

Step 3: Training is the key. Invest heavily in training people on your supplier sourcing team

Step 4: Responsibility. What gets measured gets done. Empower supplier diversity and set goals.

Step 5: Join an organization like MSDUK to learn from your peers and from the success of other organizations with effective supplier diversity programs.

It takes two to tackle supply chain diversity

Diversity in supply chains cannot be addressed by companies alone. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and we also need ethnic minority small businesses to be open to change. To intervene and engage with the companies they wish to work with. Without EMBs, companies can create a diverse supply chain.

Corporations, businesses, community and government agencies are all stakeholders in creating a diverse supply chain. Everyone has a role to play in making supplier diversity viable. Their relationships increase the chances of success of such programs.

Incorporating supplier diversity goals is a great way to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Supporting small businesses and minority-owned businesses, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or any other potentially discriminatory factor, benefits everyone.

Furthermore, integrating this support into an inclusive business development continuum contributes to economic growth and will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic in the UK and abroad.

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