Consider the most frequent request made to a purchasing department, not only from diverse suppliers, but from anyone looking to do business with an organization: how can I get on a bid list, or is there a supplier diversity database or program?
Buyers and end-users are also looking to be inclusive and want to be informed when new potential suppliers have been identified, as well as their capabilities and past experiences – a soft vetting. The good news is that you don’t have to have a fancy portal or a formal database to collect the same data and use it to connect and advocate for your diverse suppliers.
All this information can be collected in a spreadsheet and organized so that this schema makes this process as simple as it appears above. Managing this process on a regular and consistent basis will ensure the effectiveness of the schema and that it meets the objectives for which it was designed.
Once this schema is put into practice, a search for suppliers that can provide a product or service in response to an upcoming RFP will be an easy task, and information can be shared with buyers in a timely manner. While not every supplier encounter will warrant an introductory meeting, having a schema in place will help to identify which ones should.
Think back to the principles of management listed in the first installment: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.
Bottom line, it’s all streamlined when we develop schema. We need to do this so we can continue to make advances in this practice profession without exhausting our valuable bandwidth.
Veronica Cook-Euell, M.A., M.B.A., M.Ed is the Supplier Diversity Program Manager for Kent State University. She is responsible for developing strategies to increase minority business representation in securing contracts, driving supplier diversity initiatives, and serving as an advocate and a liaison for diverse suppliers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.