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As the recent economic uncertainties brought on by COVID start to fade, healthcare systems have continued advancing supplier diversity programs. This effort has resulted in agile operations that simultaneously support historically underserved and underrepresented minority business owners with a minimum 51% stake in their companies.

This pool of suppliers has been instrumental in the healthcare industry’s rebound from the scarcities brought on by the pandemic over the past two years. Diverse suppliers have also added a new level of innovation that revealed new revenue streams for medical organizations to serve.

How Lack of Dedication Hurts Healthcare Supplier Diversity Efforts and Alignment

One clear challenge to supplier diversity is aligning vendors with corporate objectives held by healthcare organizations. According to a 2020 survey conducted by Gartner, an IT research and consultancy agency, a mere 14% of procurement leadership believes their diversity programs have the necessary support for long-term success. Further than this, only half of these systems offering diversity initiatives had a full-time equivalent (FTE) to manage these programs.

Statistics like these underscore the challenges healthcare systems and hospitals face when trying to align their suppliers with crucial business goals. How can medical companies create a partnership with suppliers that supports a larger business strategy? It starts with an organization-wide commitment to its diversity program and implementing some crucial best practices outlined below.

Don’t Keep Targets in the Dark

Organizational transparency comes with many benefits, especially in matters of supply chain success and creating greater diversity within it. One of the biggest obstacles of supplier diversity programs is failing to offer an in-depth presentation of the organization’s needs, goals, and products. This crucial information can create an obstacle-free path of engagement for diverse suppliers interested in creating a relationship with these healthcare systems.

Nurturing Diverse Supplier Relationships

Leadership demonstrates expectation and creates compliance. Much of a provider’s alignment efforts will focus on the relationship with its suppliers, communicating its needs, brand vision, and long-term objectives. Having a mentor to guide a procurement team in prioritizing diverse suppliers can channel their passion for supporting their communities. It also empowers them to build these crucial relationships, which provides further local market knowledge that aligns with corporate goals.

Create a Defined Supplier Diversity Policy for Corporate

Another aspect of aligning suppliers through diversity programs is determining which groups would best help the healthcare organization meet its objectives. This could involve creating a program that prioritizes women-owned businesses because its services focus on that particular gender.

Suppliers that personally relate to the goods and equipment healthcare organizations need can generate a more personalized supply experience. It also makes creating a procurement-driven corporate policy toward this standard easier and saves the extra effort spent on mismatched sourcing.

Create a Path for Suppliers to Join the Team

Supplier diversity programs have specific criteria that vendors must meet to earn business. Providing a clear path with actionable steps not only achieves this goal but creates an opportunity to communicate what corporate objectives a healthcare organization hopes to reach.

Including additional support for diversified vendors to navigate the process can also help them sync with the organizational goals of the business they’re trying to earn.

Stay on Track and Committed

Once objectives are clear and suppliers are on board, continuous monitoring and adjustments are necessary as milestones get achieved. Businesses must be able to pivot as trends change and markets become volatile. Regularly communicate with suppliers about these potential changes so they can be in lock-step as supply chain demands fluctuate. This step ensures a healthcare organization’s commitment to supplier diversity remains constant while not sacrificing its objectives.

Leveraging Supplier Diversity to Achieve Corporate Objectives is Within Reach

The primary takeaway of this topic is that aligning diverse suppliers with business goals starts with clear communication and a path to achieve them. Providing key organizational milestones, absorbing supplier knowledge of the local market and latest medical products, and fine tuning the corporate procurement process to focus on relationship-building with vendors, makes alignment possible.

The results of these efforts create a broader supply chain asset that provides more than basic purchase and spending prioritizations. Healthcare systems can also enjoy the innovative solutions acquired through supplier diversity which are normally overlooked, creating an additional benefit to their programs.

For more information on Supplier Diversity, please contact our Vice President of Marketing & Supplier Diversity, Stephanie Armstrong:


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