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Learn how Aramark was able to increase their small and diverse suppliers by 25% over 12 months.

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Aramark Corporation is a global leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, focused on delivering experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives around the world each day.

Over the past decade, Aramark has built one of the strongest supplier diversity programs in the country, from its purchasing and development of small and diverse suppliers, to measuring its economic impact on spend, tax revenue, and job growth on a Tier 1 and Tier 2 level.

“Be Well. Do Well.” is the mantra that Aramark uses to communicate their vision for a better world. The strategy focuses on 2 goals:

  • making a positive impact on people
  • making a positive impact on the planet

Aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, Aramark prioritizes four commitments to measure their impact of each goal. Under the People goal, supplier diversity helps to support the vision of the company to “Source Ethically and Inclusively.”

Strategy: Connect and Collaborate

In 2011, Aramark leadership held a meeting to identify ways to better connect and communicate its supplier diversity strategy with internal and external stakeholders. The drive for change was a result of an uptick in requests surrounding supplier diversity data from customers and a desire to understand how an improved program could support company goals.

Natily Santos, Associate Vice President of Specialty Supply Chain, began her work on this initiative with the intent of ingraining supplier diversity into the culture of the organization to better achieve its goals. To do this, Santos developed a 2-part strategy. First, Aramark embarked on understanding its purchasing activities – who was Aramark buying from and what were these suppliers providing? Next, the corporation started to identify opportunities for qualified diverse suppliers (MWBEs). Where were the opportunities for more MWBE spend and how could Aramark develop MWBE’s to compete for them?

In using this strategy, Santos connected with multiple key functional groups to convince them of the need to build a foundation relying on data to better support client requests for increased diverse supplier inclusion.

“Having good data really supports the drive and value of supplier diversity” says Santos. Connecting with CVM (now allowed the supplier diversity team to utilize technology and establish key data points to assist Aramark’s functional groups.

Starting in 2011, Aramark used’s data enrichment to identify small and diverse suppliers in their supply base and formulate an action plan of small and diverse supplier growth.

This was only the beginning, however.

As Aramark’s supplier diversity program grew, the type and quantity of data managed grew with it. Aramark invested in its supplier diversity tools to support its growing program by implementing solutions such as supplier registration and diverse spend reporting. In just a few years, Aramark’s supplier diversity team was able to support many more groups by helping provide content and value for community engagement, support marketing and community leaders, and even report on the economic impact of its program in potential markets.

Today, the supplier diversity program collaborates with multiple functional groups to complete over 200 RFPs, with supplier diversity goals ranging from diverse spend targets set by customers to reporting Tier 1 and Tier 2 diverse spend. This number is steadily increasing and partnering with helped address the challenges of meeting evolving customer requirements.

Aramark’s strategy led to continually improving results across its program, some of which include.

  • Tier 1 diverse spend increasing from $630 million to $750 million between FY17 to FY19
  • The number of registered small and diverse suppliers increasing by 25% over the past 12 months
  • Tier 2 diversity spend increasing by 133% from FY18 to FY19

Aramark’s Commitments

Looking ahead, Aramark is already preparing for the next phase of challenges while staying committed to its core values.

Aramark is committed to increasing overall spend with small and diverse suppliers to 25% by 2025. During the COVID-19 pandemic, while Aramark makes it clear that they will not compromise cost, quality, or safety requirements, the corporation is doing its best to work with qualified businesses as they navigate today’s challenges.

An example of this includes Aramark reinforcing its commitment this year to support minority business growth and capacity building by sponsoring the ChicagoMSDC PIPE Program (Progress, Insight & Performance Education), an advanced business management program for minority-owned businesses. Under the partnership, Aramark will sponsor 20 minority-owned businesses through the ChicagoMSDC — more than doubling the program’s participation.

Annually, about 14,000 jobs are attributed to Aramark’s supplier diversity program, adding tax revenue of about $250 million. Aramark has made clear that it will continue its economic measurements to ensure proper community support.

In addition, Aramark is utilizing its Tier 2 diversity spend portal to increase reported spend to customers. This has led to a further increase in program awareness within the company’s procurement group as well as with its Tier 1 Prime Suppliers.

These efforts in conjunction with the collaborative achievements over the past decade have established Aramark’s Supplier Diversity initiatives as a world-class program. Staying true to its overall values have helped the corporation grow and proved that Aramark is committed to improving the well-being of people through sourcing ethically and inclusively.

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