By Barry Hochfelder
Minority-owned firms generate $1 trillion in economic output to the U.S. economy, creating almost six million jobs, according to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The agency says that the growth of minority-owned firms outpaced that of non-minority-owned companies from 2002-2007 (the latest statistics available) by a wide margin. The domination was in gross receipts (56 percent from 21 percent); employees (27 percent from 0.03 percent); and number of firms (46 percent from 9 percent).
All this makes diversity in the workplace vital, not only from a social standpoint, but a bottom-line perspective. At Duke Realty, diversity among its suppliers and vendors is woven into its culture.
The Indianapolis-based real estate company has installed a Supplier Diversity Program to reach out to qualified minority, women-owned, disadvantaged and small businesses. The company considers this a win-win opportunity "to expand our base of high-quality goods and service providers, while enhancing economic opportunities for these groups," Chairman and CEO Denny Oklak writes on the Duke Realty Web site.
With more than 139 million square feet of industrial, office and medical office properties in 18 major cities across America — as well as construction capabilities — Duke Realty's diversity initiative is formidable. To make it work, the company began using the Supplier Central Diversity Edition from CVM Solutions (Oakbrook Terrace, IL) about three years ago.
"They wanted to improve relationships with all of their suppliers, including small and diverse businesses," says Jon Bovit, chief marketing officer of CVM. "With the downturn in the economy, organizations increasingly want to improve supplier relationships across the board. In addition, a lot of companies are trying to put their arms around small and diverse businesses because those were the most hurt by the economy."
CVM, Bovit sees that trend unabated as we move toward the second quarter of 2011.
For Duke Realty, diversity is stressed throughout the company and its nearly 1,000 employees. "Everything we do is based on our core values," adds Ronalda Minnis, manager for supplier diversity at Duke Realty. "There are four pillars: business development, community outreach, supplier diversity, and recruiting and retention."
CVM's Cloud-based (via Force.com) software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution has three steps that allow customers to "connect the dots on suppliers": clean and enrich; collect and manage; and measure and mitigate.
- Clean and enrich: CVM reviews the company's vendor files, removes duplicates and appends data to indicate which are diverse and which are in the small-business class. The customer can look at the information and see what they're spending where.
- Collect and manage: Suppliers can go in and fill out basic information, including diversity statistics. The customer can review these when seeking new vendors.
- Measure and mitigate: This supplies even more analysis and measures vendor performance. It mitigates potential supplier issues by proactively alerting the customer to changes in information. This is accomplished by monitoring compliance and risk programs and tracking standard metrics, and automating corrective action plans and risk mitigation.
CVM's clients often start with just the first step because it's cost-effective and low risk. Then they add the other elements. "Like a lot of our customers, Duke Realty started out in one area and branched out with our other capabilities," Bovit explains.