The key to creating compelling supplier diversity reports—the kind of reports that make the C-suite want to know more about your work—is collecting smarter data and using it in smarter ways. You already know tracking and measurement is pivotal to the success of your program, but how do you do it effectively? Try out these tips below to boost your supplier diversity tracking efforts.
Always get data straight from the suppliers themselves.
Do the hard work up front by eliminating guesswork and pulling supplier data from the most reliable source. This is key to laying a solid foundation for effective supplier tracking and measurement.
Create a supplier questionnaire that dives deeper than the standard supplier intake form.
Spend time thinking about what information would be most useful to your supplier diversity reporting efforts. Meet with other functions in the business to understand where they might benefit from a more in-depth understanding of supplier data—especially within procurement and supply chain. Take advantage of the opportunity to collect data that will help you create compelling economic impact stories, like workforce income, revenue, and tax data.
Implement a system to collect and house your supplier data.
The ideal system will allow your suppliers to log in and input their data and will work with your existing enterprise applications. This is important for enabling supplier data to be combined with data from other areas of the organization. You never know what kind of interesting insights will become possible until you start comparing data sets and looking for connections across the business, so the key is flexibility. Cloud storage and mobile access are also ideal for making data accessible to employees from anywhere at any time, which is great for productivity.
If needed, modify supplier profiles in your accounting system to include the new valuable supplier data you’ve collected.
Especially in cases where systems don’t automatically integrate, manually importing data may be an option for allowing users across the enterprise visibility and accessibility. But keep in mind, manually importing data from one system to another often creates more opportunities for errors and inconsistencies. The ideal state is to house the data within a system that doesn’t just connect to other systems, but connects well, correctly interpreting data and matching up like fields. Addresses are a great example, as the format varies widely from country to country. This aspect of data integration can be tricky and shows why generic one-size-fits-all data collection systems can cause more problems than solutions in the long term.
If you partner with a data analytics consulting firm, do your research.
Look for those willing to spend time understanding the unique complexities of your business and tailoring solutions and strategies that provide exactly what’s needed. Don’t be lured in by extra bells and whistles—always ask exactly how you will benefit from the solution they suggest. Look for firms that offer more of a partnership than a product, improving your organization’s data maturity from the inside out by building data literacy among your own employees.
Within your supplier data, create supplier and spend type categories.
Get creative about the different ways you could categorize your suppliers beyond just spend—by certification, for example. Giving yourself a variety of ways to segment the data offers different perspectives to view your data and discover insights.
Don’t limit your supplier diversity spend reporting to just your top five.
If something changes with one of those top five suppliers, and you’re not tracking spend with any others, spend reporting will appear to take a bigger hit than it actually did. If you don’t expand your focus beyond the suppliers where you spend the most, you won’t get much value out of your diverse supplier spend reporting and you may be tempted to neglect potentially valuable supplier relationships.
Once you’ve hit your stride with the above tips, add Tier 2 tracking to your process.
Eli Lilly does a great job of collecting Tier 2 information by partnering with their Tier 1 direct suppliers through a supplier registration portal. They encourage participation in Tier 2 reporting by letting suppliers choose their method of contributing:
Direct Method: Tier 1 suppliers report the spend dollars and names of small and diverse suppliers they subcontract with on Lilly business.
Indirect Method: Tier 1 suppliers determine what percentage the Lilly sales revenue is to their overall sales, and then multiply that percentage by their diversity spend amount for each small/diverse category.
Your work matters. Prove it.
As you know, the ability to quantify program results is essential for proving your program’s success to internal stakeholders. You can learn more about the top three benefits of a better data strategy here.
The last thing you need is a one-size-fits-all data solution that’s so difficult to customize for your business that you might be better off doing nothing at all. That’s why Onebridge spends time embedding our team within our customers’ teams and understanding their unique challenges. We create a customized plan designed to solve specific pain points in your program or simply take it to the next level of maturity. As an MBE-certified and woman-owned business, data analytics services for supplier diversity programs is an intuitive part of our DNA because we understand both perspectives in a way that sets us apart. Come chat with us about our supplier diversity experience at Booth #1245 at the upcoming NMSDC Conference in Austin or contact us now to find out more.