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What is a Supplier Diversity Strategic Plan? – Definition

What is a Supplier Diversity Strategic Plan? – Definition

Supplier diversity is an important part of any business’s strategy. It’s a way to ensure that your company has access to a wide variety of suppliers and products, while also making sure that you are supporting businesses owned by minority groups. But what exactly is a supplier diversity strategic plan? Well, it’s essentially a document that outlines how your company plans to increase the diversity of its supply chain. It takes into account the goals and objectives of the organization as well as any potential challenges or limitations. In this blog post, we will explore what supplier diversity is, why it’s important and how to create an effective supplier diversity strategic plan.

What is supplier diversity?

Supplier diversity is the proactive pursuit of business opportunities with certified minority-owned, women-owned, small businesses, and other businesses that have been historically underutilized. The goal of supplier diversity is to create a level playing field so that all suppliers have an opportunity to compete for business based on their ability to meet the customer’s needs.

A supplier diversity strategic plan is a roadmap for implementing and measuring progress toward achieving supplier diversity goals. The plan should be tailored to the specific needs of the organization and may include goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics.

The benefits of supplier diversity can include improved financial performance, enhanced innovation, strengthened relationships with customers and suppliers, and increased social responsibility. Creating a diverse supply base can also help an organization mitigate risk and build resilience.

What is a supplier diversity strategic plan?

A supplier diversity strategic plan is a formal document that outlines an organization’s commitment to and strategy for sourcing goods and services from suppliers that are owned by women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups. The goal of a supplier diversity strategic plan is to increase the utilization of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) within the supply chain in order to create more economic opportunities for these groups and help foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

An organization’s supplier diversity strategic plan should be aligned with its overall business strategy and objectives. The plan should lay out specific goals and target percentages for MBE utilization, as well as strategies for how to achieve these goals. Tactics may include setting aside a certain percentage of procurement spend for MBE-owned businesses, working with certified MBE development organizations, or establishing mentorship programs between established suppliers and MBEs.

The benefits of implementing a supplier diversity strategic plan go beyond promoting social responsibility – studies have shown that organizations with diverse suppliers tend to perform better financially. Diverse suppliers bring new perspectives and innovative solutions to the table, which can lead to cost savings, improved quality, and increased efficiency. In addition, working with MBEs can help build strong relationships with local communities of color.

Creating a supplier diversity strategic plan is the first step toward achieving greater inclusion in the supply chain. By taking the time to develop a comprehensive plan, organizations can ensure that they are best positioned to capitalize on the many benefits of supplier diversity.

The three elements of a successful supplier diversity strategic plan

In order to create a successful supplier diversity strategic plan, there are three key elements that must be taken into account:

1. Defining the Goal: The first step is to define the overall goal of the supplier diversity strategic plan. What does your organization hope to achieve by implementing such a plan? This could be anything from increasing the number of women- and minority-owned businesses that you do business with, to increasing the spending with such businesses. Once the goal is defined, it will be easier to create actionable steps to achieve it.

2. Conducting a Supplier Diversity Assessment: The next step is to conduct an assessment of your current supplier diversity situation. This will help you identify any gaps or areas where improvement is needed in order to achieve your desired goal. Additionally, this assessment will also provide valuable insights into which suppliers may be best suited for your particular needs.

3. Creating Actionable Steps: Finally, once the goal and assessment are complete, it is time to create actionable steps that will help you achieve your desired outcome. This could include setting specific targets for spending with minority- and women-owned businesses, as well as creating procurement policies that give preference to such businesses. By taking these concrete steps, you can be sure that your supplier diversity strategic plan has the best chance for success.

How to develop a supplier diversity strategic plan

The first step in developing a supplier diversity strategic plan is to assess the current state of your supplier diversity program. This assessment should include an evaluation of your internal processes, supplier base, and commitment to diversity. Once you have a clear understanding of where your program stands, you can begin to set goals and objectives for improving supplier diversity.

Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. They should also align with the overall objectives of your organization. Once you have established your goals, you can start to develop strategies for achieving them. These strategies might include diversifying your sourcing approach, increasing communication and outreach to diverse suppliers, and offering training and support to help them succeed.

Execution is key to making your supplier diversity strategic plan successful. Make sure you allocate adequate resources to implementation and track progress towards your goals on a regular basis. Adjust your strategy as needed based on feedback and results. With a well-executed plan, you can make significant strides in increasing supplier diversity and supporting the success of minority-owned businesses.

Why have a supplier diversity strategic plan?

There are many reasons why organizations choose to implement a supplier diversity strategic plan. By proactively identifying and engaging with qualified diverse suppliers, organizations can expand their supplier base, increase competition, and improve business continuity. Additionally, supplier diversity can help build relationships with local communities and create social and economic opportunities for marginalized groups.

Organizations that have adopted supplier diversity programs report numerous benefits, including improved quality, increased innovation, better customer satisfaction, and reduced costs. A well-designed supplier diversity program can level the playing field for small businesses and disadvantaged individuals, while also providing bottom-line benefits for the organization.


A supplier diversity strategic plan is essential for businesses to ensure that the suppliers they use are diverse. It helps companies to build relationships with minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses, which ultimately leads to better financial performance and greater customer satisfaction. Additionally, having a clear strategy in place can make it easier for organizations to meet their supplier diversity goals and objectives. With careful planning and execution, businesses will be able to achieve more success when it comes to their supplier diversity initiatives.

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