Marcus Lemonis, the host of “The Profit” television program on CNBC, works with ailing businesses to turn them around. Shayna Rattler is a diversity business strategist who works with organizations on supplier diversity initiatives through her Supplier Diversity Academy website.What both Lemonis and Rattler have in common are their focus on what they call the 3 P’s to business success. Lemonis advocates on his show that People, Process and Product hold the key to fixing broken businesses. Rattler espouses People, Product and Profits at seminars and in articles as her 3 P’s for achieving sustainable business growth.
There is merit in both Lemonis’ and Rattler’s approach about the 3 P’s, and these principles can also be applied directly to supplier diversity.
The people aspect is vital in the pursuit of workable supplier diversity initiatives, both from an internal and external standpoint. Simply put, a successful supplier diversity program is one that aligns its goals and objectives with its stakeholders, or its people. For external stakeholders, or suppliers, alignment should occur through constant, well-thought outreach about your supplier diversity program, including goals, opportunities and requirements. You want to impart to your supplier base that supplier diversity matters as a function of good business. Focusing on the needs of your suppliers, for instance, helps you identify those diverse suppliers that are and can be strategic to your business mission and dynamically contribute business value to your supply chain.
It is just as important to outreach with your internal stakeholders, the people who are leaders of business units who procure goods and services on behalf of the organization. Unless you reach out within your organization and show your own people how they can contribute to the supplier diversity mission, there likely will be resistance. While areas like distribution, manufacturing and production traditionally produce significant supplier activity, why not also ensure the mission is being communicated as well to non-traditional areas, such as legal, human resources and advertising. Unless everyone within the organization is on board with your supplier diversity initiatives, you may have difficulty growing spend, and promising procurement opportunities for diverse businesses will fall by the wayside.
When it comes to people, everyone must be in the people loop. Diverse suppliers need to understand how to address procurement opportunities, along with being versed in your expectations. In order to boost its diverse supplier spend the organization, needs to ensure that all levels of the company understand the business imperative for supplier diversity.
One way to think of a supplier diversity program is as a product. No, it is not a commodity or a consumer packaged good like a candy bar, a bar of soap, or a pair of shoes, but it is the product of collective efforts to build a program with many moving parts that all contributes to the of the company. To ensure that your supplier diversity program is a product that is functioning properly, be sophisticated. Rely on enriched supplier data for accurate reporting and metrics. Ensure communications are ubiquitous and traverse multiple platforms, whether that is online, mobile, video or print. Ensure your communications tools and templates are easy to use and representative of your efforts. Your supplier diversity program is your product. It represents the face of your program. Products, much like that candy bar, needs to be pleasing and endearing to your stakeholders as well as tell the story that your program is productive, viable and essential to your organization.
Lemonis focuses much of the attention of his television show on process. That’s the element of the 3 P’s where everything comes together. The process is the operational aspect of business, and a successful supplier diversity program will be no different. If the process works, that is where you are able to drive efficiency and effectiveness in your operations, then it will have been a process that was well designed and well executed. Yes, a successful supplier diversity program pays attention to operational processes. Processes simply are procedures. In supplier diversity, as with all principles of management, you need well-defined and established procedures for operating the program, and these procedures need to be consistently applied throughout. Thismay include how to manage process essentials like contracts, procurement regulations, performance metrics and business relationships.