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Best Practices for Tracking and Reporting on Supplier Diversity Progress

The following best practices will help you track and report on the progress made by your supplier diversity program and then set it up for future success.

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As a supplier diversity manager, your role frequently requires you to collaborate with various key stakeholders in the business. Whether they work in procurement, Human Resources, or are part of the executive team, you are likely to hear the same questions asked repeatedly.

Common questions of supplier diversity often revolve around “How are we doing?” or “Is our supplier diversity program successful?” The best way to answer these and other such queries is by having data-driven insights readily available to reinforce the business case for supplier diversity and secure buy-in from decision makers.

The following best practices will help you track and report on the progress made by your supplier diversity program and then set it up for future success.

Establish Target Metrics

Clear, quantifiable objectives will create a solid foundation for your supplier diversity program. Once those metrics are selected, they should be reviewed annually. Regularly reviewing insights and using them to make recommendations for the coming year will lend your program valuable momentum and direction. In fact, leading programs include those goals in their regular business unit dashboards to continually track progress.

Setting clear goals is pivotal to track the progress toward your supplier diversity goals. Use these targets to hold the business accountable, creating a culture of responsibility and commitment towards a successful supplier diversity program.

Gather Data to Drive Future Action

One of the best ways to capture specific data for future opportunities is via a supplier portal. Now suppliers that come to you can answer specific questions you create to start gathering data for future opportunities. This data is invaluable for assessing the broader potential of your program and can help shape future strategies as soon as the time is right.

Dig into the Details

64 percent of companies have supplier diversity integrated into their spend analysis platform. This keeps the program front and center and it also makes it possible to segment the data by spend category, business unit, and geography. When the data aligns with the purview of the decision maker you are meeting with, they will be better informed and positioned to take action as well as able to compare their progress to that of their peers.

Focus on Measurable Impact

Supplier diversity programs are not just about allocating spend to certified diverse businesses. They also generate positive socio-economic impact, such as job creation and community development. Programs should track these broader effects to highlight the value of your program and show tangible human outcomes driven through your work over time.

Ensure Data Quality

Maintaining data quality can be a challenge in any part of the business, and supplier diversity is no exception. In fact, 64 percent of supplier diversity programs only request and collect supplier diversity information at the time of onboarding. A lot can change over the term of a contract, requiring a more sustainable and scalable approach to keeping supplier certification details up to date.

Managing this information manually can quickly become overwhelming. Supplier diversity managers should consider automating data collection and validation processes wherever possible. Collaborating with a third party can ensure your company has access to the most current and comprehensive data available, thus boosting the results that demonstrate your program’s effectiveness.

The most important best practice of all is to leverage your reports for maximum impact.

Data can be used to identify opportunities to increase business with current diverse suppliers and serve success stories. Sharing these internally will foster a positive organizational culture around supplier diversity and reinforce the idea that increased supplier diversity is not just possible, it is achievable.

Tracking and reporting on supplier diversity program performance is critical to the short term health and long term success of your program. With a strategic approach to data collection, clear goals, and investments in data quality, you can equip your organization with the insights necessary to drive progress and prove that it has been made.

Remember that supplier diversity performance is more than just specialized spend allocation. It is about the broader corporate brand, lasting community impact, and internal workforce culture.


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