A spotlight and interview chair

Supplier Spotlight: Avantor, delivered by VWR

An Overview of Avantor’s Commitment to Supplier Diversity

We sat down with Wade Colclough, Director of Supplier Diversity and Laboratory Distributor Services at Avantor to discuss the company’s commitment to supplier diversity and their plans for continuously growing their program in the future.

Please talk about Avantor’s commitment to supplier diversity. When was the program/strategy developed/implemented? What are the primary goals/focus? Why is this important to your organization?

Our Supplier Diversity program was formalized in 2009. Connecting niche and diverse suppliers to our customers provides unmatched choice and quality products and services—that’s why our commitment to supplier diversity is so important to our success. We are proud to work with BIPOC, Women, LGBTQ+, Veteran, and other suppliers.

Our Supplier Diversity team, in partnership with our Sales team, aims to find the most effective and sustainable way to engage a diverse firm/solution for our customers. Our strategy and policy confirm that we will:

  • Maintain commitment to dedicated resources, build mutually beneficial programs, set and track goals, and increase utilization of diverse suppliers
  • Provide capacity for diverse suppliers to increase their core competencies and educate our associates on the business imperative for supplier diversity goals
  • Support trade and external organizations charged with progressively creating best-in-class supplier diversity strategies and solutions

What are the benefits of supplier diversity for Avantor, the consumer, and the community as a whole?

When Avantor delivers on our supplier diversity commitments, along with our customers and diverse supplier firms, we execute on our mission to set science in motion and provide economic impact to the communities in which we do business.

How do you promote diverse suppliers within your organization?

We promote our Supplier Diversity program in several ways both internally within our organization and externally to our customers. One of the ways Avantor promotes diverse suppliers with our customers is by identifying products on vwr.com with icons representing Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and/or Minority/Women Business Enterprises (M/WBE).

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How does supplier diversity impact a community both socially and financially?

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What strategies/methods have you employed to attain buy-in for supplier diversity within your organization?

We’ve created a Supplier Diversity Council which includes associates from all functional areas to drive alignment, support, and associate education. Our Supplier Diversity team is part of our Strategic Partners Department and three levels below Avantor’s President and CEO.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced with regard to your supplier diversity program and how have you overcome that challenge?

We were able to formalize our Supplier Diversity program in 2009 with the implementation of a supplier diversity corporate policy. We understand that as we continue to expand our program, we must continue to address supplier diversity related performance and have included reporting on supplier diversity metrics in our Corporate Social Responsibility Benchmark Report.

How do you track, monitor, report progress?

Diverse suppliers are onboarded and managed in alignment with Avantor’s operational standards, which require them to provide superior customer service, quality, and overall value to our customers. We actively monitor and track our activity with certified diverse and small business suppliers. As a value-added service, we support our customers’ Supplier Diversity programs by providing diverse and/or small business reports.

What are some trends you are seeing in terms of supplier diversity and how is Avantor responding to those trends?

We continue to see our customer engagement with our diverse suppliers increase and they often request our suppliers to self-perform value added services.

We mentor and train our partners on our state-of-the-art customer service practices, such as allowing them to shadow some of our distribution practices like down-packing. Some business owners can provide kitting services or other services, which help a diverse firm ascertain new and improve skill sets.

What are the future plans for your supplier diversity program? How will you continue to evolve/grow the program?

Future plans for our supplier diversity program include continuing our work with national supplier diversity certification trade associations like the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC) and the Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) and engaging in supplier diversity best practices. Avantor continuously connects and gains insight from our fellow colleagues to ascertain their supplier diversity goals and objectives to deliver complete solutions and drive our mission to set science in motion.

Scientists observing and discussing data in a clean laboratory

About the Author

As Avantor’s channel brand, VWR serves as a leading global provider of product and service solutions to laboratory and production customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, industrial, education, government and healthcare industries.


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