Keeping the Business Focus
e-Commerce is still a work in progress, says the NMSDC's Michel, and therefore it is still not clear what the eventual impact will be on supplier diversity. "While the general feeling is that this could be detrimental to a lot of minority business efforts on the part of corporations, who knows? Everybody suspects, but nobody knows."
Ultimately, all the stakeholders involved in a supplier diversity initiative must bear in mind that, at the end of the day, it's a business proposition, and both corporations and MBEs must benefit for the diversity efforts to be effective. Minority suppliers want to expand their market share with current and potential customers by leveraging whatever advantages they have at their disposal, including their low-cost structures, agile business models and MBE status. Corporations want to ensure that, with minority spending power rising rapidly, they capture the loyalties of minority consumers. As JCI's Layton puts it, "The way we look at it at Johnson Controls is that if we keep it in a business paradigm — meaning what can we do to help our customers reach minority consumers and, by helping our customers, exceed their expectations and get more business — then you end up with more jobs being created, more opportunities for minority individuals and more opportunity for minority companies."