A supplier base that represents our diversifying communities can help support economic inclusion by giving minority-owned businesses equal opportunity in the procurement process.
But diversifying a supply chain doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intentional actions to build a supplier diversity program and the processes to support it. Being an active member of the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC) offers additional resources that can help.
Connections that count
For corporations and suppliers alike, a core benefit NCMSDC membership is having expanded access to each other. Corporations get to connect with quality suppliers that are certified minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) and can meet their business needs. In turn, MBEs get to introduce themselves to corporate procurement professionals and get a proverbial foot in the door.
These mutually beneficial connections can help advance economic opportunities for the underserved minority business community. For example, Securian Financial sponsored the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s “In This Together” campaign, which provides services and resources to help minority-owned businesses overcome obstacles.
“Minority suppliers can face barriers to having established business networks and the support they offer,” says Kim Morelli, procurement consultant at Securian Financial. “Our NCMSDC and other supplier diversity memberships have introduced us to several minority suppliers who we might not have had the chance to meet otherwise. It allows us to bring diversity into our procurement process while helping these suppliers expand their networks, grow their businesses and increase economic opportunities.”
Addressing common challenges
Supplier diversity programs can go beyond purchasing from minority-owned businesses to learning about the challenges they face and helping to address them. When minority businesses are set up for success, it’s more likely they can help create jobs and have an economic impact in their communities.
For example, Kelly Lange, Securian Financial’s enterprise procurement director, has shared her expertise in a panel discussion NCMSDC hosted about supplier diversity in the financial services industry.
“This conversation helped shed light on the increased regulatory and cybersecurity requirements facing our industry,” Kelly says, “and how minority businesses may need a different approach for the relationship to be successful.”
Securian has also sponsored the NCMSDC annual meeting to connect, develop and advocate for our MBE firms and other corporations’ supplier diversity programs.