It’s no secret that tracking data is the key to improving your supplier diversity program. In order to understand what’s working and what’s not, you need objective feedback to work from. As an added benefit, reporting on supplier diversity metrics is one of the most effective ways to gain C-suite buy-in on new initiatives and locate new growth opportunities.
That said, keeping supplier diversity numbers up to date can be a full-time job. If you’re still collecting and updating data by hand, it’s easy to get disorganized or delayed when tracking down supplier data. We’ve laid out four simple tricks to help you streamline your reporting efforts and make your job a whole lot easier.
1. Use payroll and procurement records.
As you focus your time and attention on supplier diversity initiatives, it’s easy to become siloed and feel isolated from the rest of your organization. If other departments aren’t educated on the benefits of supplier diversity initiatives, you may even feel like you’re on totally different teams. By collaborating within your organization on the reporting process, you’ll streamline your Tier 1 data tracking efforts and foster more internal alignment.
When it comes to tracking supplier diversity metrics, your payroll and billing departments can be a valuable source of information. Payroll and procurement records can help you track data month-over-month and alert you to growth opportunities. For instance, if you see that an older contract is due to expire in a few months, you can proactively look for diverse suppliers to fill that position. On the flip side, if a diverse supplier contract is reaching its conclusion, you can get in touch to make sure the supplier is prepared to renew or compete for a new contract.
By organizing all existing contracts into specific commodity categories, you’ll be able to calculate your diverse spend in each subgroup, set benchmarks and goals, and locate opportunities for improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask coworkers from other departments to alert you to contract, spending, or procurement changes that pass through their desks.
2. Establish a consistent reporting framework.
If you’re using Excel spreadsheets or another manual system to track supplier diversity metrics, staying organized is exceptionally important. Keep your reporting framework consistent by creating a reporting template that can be replicated each month. In addition, use consistent naming and date conventions so that reports can be easily located in your records. By keeping the layout and order of metrics the same in each report, you’ll make data input and comparison more intuitive.
Most manual data management programs have automatic calculation options. For example, Excel’s “Formulas” feature allows you to take data from different cells and automatically calculate values such as sum, average, and mean, or use a custom formula. As you input new data into empty cells, these preset calculations will streamline your analysis and reduce the likelihood of human error.
Finally, consider switching to a cloud-based solution that offers online document collaboration and storage. If your reports live in one place that can be accessed and updated by various members of your organization, you’ll be able to collaborate internally while maintaining version control. Many cloud-based tools also provide a real-time version and edit history for every document, so it’s easy to see when changes were made and by whom.
3. Use automated email surveys to collect tier-two data.
Your prime suppliers should be able to provide insight into Tier 2 diverse spend, but tracking down that data can be time consuming—especially as your supplier network grows in size. Rather than contacting each supplier individually, use free email automation and survey tools to streamline the data collection process.
A free email automation tool will allow you to create lists of your prime suppliers and schedule diverse-spend emails for the same time each month or quarter. Using a free survey tool (e.g., SurveyMonkey, Typeform, or Google Forms), you can create a list of questions you’d like suppliers to answer and include the survey link in your automated email. If you currently work in Excel or Google Docs, look for a survey tool that will automatically export survey data into that reporting system.
While a free email automation tool is a good starting point, remember that most free tools will max out at a certain number of emails sent or have a recipient cap. For truly unlimited automation, data enrichment, and integration options, it’s worth investing in supplier management software and creating a supplier portal.
4. Conduct data enrichment through a third-party provider.
What if there were a way to get access to real-time, accurate supplier diversity data without playing email tag with suppliers and coworkers? When it comes to collecting and updating supplier diversity data, you don’t need to go it alone. By partnering with a third-party data enrichment provider, you’ll gain access to diverse supplier records and be able to conduct more sophisticated reporting efforts.
With automatic access to better-quality data, you’ll spend less time and fewer resources updating supplier diversity numbers and gain greater insight into the impact of your initiatives. Better-quality data will also allow you to conduct more granular analyses to discover how to optimize, expand, and evolve your supplier diversity program.
For guidance on what to look for when enlisting the help of a third-party data enrichment provider, download our checklist below.