Supplier Diversity: Evolution for impact
For the past decade, ConAgra Foods has been making strides in developing a Supplier Diversity program to better serve its customers, consumers and communities. They’re looking for the right mix of suppliers to develop a recipe for success, as indicated on their website.
ConAgra Foods’ Supplier Diversity program grew out of a small supplier diversity council made up of representatives from all of the company’s category teams. By 2013, this Fortune 500 Company, committed to making everyday food in extraordinary ways, had a mature supplier diversity program in place with all of the pieces and parts of a standard program, including a Tier-2 program and internal support.
In 2014, the organization decided to change the objective of the program to incorporate more than just tracking and increasing diverse spend. They aspired to drive the program to better engage with customers and communities. ConAgra Foods aimed to restructure their Supplier Diversity program to provide real solutions to the business, to change the perception of Supplier Diversity and drive innovation and imagination into the supply base. They focused on working with outside organizations and communities where they could source to make a significant, meaningful impact.
This was a big undertaking, so where did they start? J.P. Keating, ConAgra Foods’ procurement manager for Supplier Diversity, decided to start right back at the beginning. He crafted a plan that focused on the organizations purpose, ambitions and operating principles. The approach he took was constructed on the three simple elements of the business – PEOPLE, PRODUCT, and PROCESS.
CVM Solutions has shared in the success of ConAgra Foods’ Diversity program since 2008, when they first became a CVM customer. In a webcast hosted by CVM, J.P. Keating shared the story of the transformation of ConAgra Foods’ Supplier Diversity program. During this webcast J.P. Keating discusses in detail the steps he took to redefine their program goals and his approach to focus on impact. Below is an excerpt from the webcast describing his approach to Supplier Diversity: Evolution for Impact.
J.P. Keating on People in Supplier Diversity
“I adjusted the focus on the types of companies I look for…Not only am I looking at established, mature companies but I’m also looking at strong startups that have created technologies or products that will enhance our business – it might be a tool that helps us drive more sales, provide better insight to customers, a product that enhances our product offering and is something that we can help develop.”
J.P. Keating on Product in Supplier Diversity
“I got our CVM tools up and running. Yes, we use Supplier Locator, [Data Enrichment] supplier data cleanse services and the 2nd Tier reporting tool... However, I use the tools for more than that… Since the locator tool is an aggregator it gives me access to so much more… which really helped me decide to change my approach to memberships.”
J.P. Keating on Process in Supplier Diversity
“Getting suppliers connected to the right internal person has to be simpler. It’s a balance of access and excess…Since many decisions never even make it to Procurement I’m building a network of internal people who can help shepherd some things. Getting data to the right people at the right time also needs to be easier. In order to for the company to be successful we have to get it set up for success…The processes need to allow for flexibility and imagination while still incorporating discipline.”
If you’re interested in learning more about ConAgra Foods’ Supplier Diversity Program and their efforts to improve bottom line results through strategic engagement, watch this webcast featuring ConAgra Foods’ procurement manager for Supplier Diversity, J.P. Keating.