Carahsoft’s Commitment to Supplier Diversity
We sat down with Martin Gavin, Senior Program Manager at Carahsoft, to discuss the details of their diversity supplier program.
When and why did Carahsoft decide to create a diversity supplier program?
Carahsoft recognizes the importance of partner diversity to the United States economy and has a longstanding history of collaborating with diverse suppliers (including small businesses, minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, and veteran-owned business, among others) that provide consulting, staff augmentation, and other professional services to meet our clients’ missions, needs, and goals.
We value and encourage the way these diverse partners support our customers’ corporate social responsibility initiatives, while maximizing economic development in their communities throughout the U.S.
We established a commercial Small Business Subcontracting Plan (SBSP) in 2018 to ensure that our diverse partners are afforded the maximum possible opportunities to participate in all phases of the procurement process.
This SBSP has been approved by the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
How does Carahsoft measure the success of its diversity supplier initiatives?
Carahsoft has several methods for measuring the success of our diversity initiatives.
In an effort to provide exceptional support to our joint customers at scale, we help these businesses develop vendor-specific partnerships, increase investments in technical capabilities and operations, and hire additional staff.
Carahsoft’s SBSP outlines our proposed annual subcontracting goals.
We measure our success in meeting our subcontracting goals via annual reports and review our historical subcontracting spend patterns to establish new goals on an annual basis.
What types of support and tools does Carahsoft provide to your diverse partners?
Carahsoft assists and notifies identified diverse partners, providing them with sufficient time to respond, participate, or prepare the material for bids and responses.
These efforts ensure that our diverse partners have maximum opportunities to participate and compete in procurement processes.
Carahsoft ensures that our diverse partners receive timely payments in accordance with established procedures and mutually agreed upon terms and conditions.
How does Carahsoft identify potential diversity partners?
Carahsoft leverages various source lists and organizations (including the System for Award Management, the General Services Administration’s e-Library, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Minority Business Development Agency Federal Procurement Center, among others) to better understand the needs and landscape of opportunities for diversity partners. We also attend industry events, such as manufacturer reseller forums, technology summits and similar events, to identify potential diversity partners. Our customers’ referrals are also tremendously helpful in identifying potential diversity partners.
How has your diversity supplier program benefitted educational institutions?
Carahsoft has collaborated with our network of diversity partners to help the education community (including higher education institutions and universities, community colleges, and K-12 schools) meet their unique supplier diversity requirements.
We deliver numerous benefits by proactively educating our partners on the intricacies of our vendors’ channel practices and requirements, and acting as product, service, and training specialists for our vendors’ unique offerings.
Our services also include acting as an extension of our vendors’ sales and marketing teams through joint call campaigns and marketing events, fielding pre-sales technical demonstrations on behalf of our diversity partners, and providing licensing and pricing expertise to help our partners develop the most cost-effective solutions for their education customers.
These best practices have allowed our team to build and support a vast ecosystem of partners capable of fulfilling multiple diversity classifications (including small businesses, minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, and veteran-owned business, among others), which assists our customers in meeting their diversity requirements and set-aside goals.