An Interview on the Five Benefits of Supplier Diversity
In our latest interview we welcome Jason Roberts, CEO & Founder of Kaleida, a B2B marketplace for tenders, to discuss the benefits of supplier diversity. Jason built the Kaleida platform in November 2020, which offers a fully inclusive approach for connecting buyers to suppliers, including diverse suppliers.
The story behind Kaleida
Jason explains that the idea for Kaleida was sparked when he saw both the challenges of sales on the one hand and procurement professionals on the other. Sales professionals were making an upwards of 50-60 calls per day, thus wasting considerable time trying to find opportunities. On the other hand, procurement professionals were trying to find innovation, products and services which would improve their offerings. However, the available platforms were not designed in a way that could easily connect businesses to other businesses. Jason saw that gap on the market, decided to capitalize on it, and Kaleida was born. Although he has had the idea for Kaleida for many years, the actual platform was only built late last year.
The benefits of supplier diversity
In the interview, Jason defines diverse suppliers as “those which are 51% or more owned by a marginalized or an underutilized community.” These could be businesses owned by women, black, Asian or other ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, veteran, or disabled owned businesses, which do not have the resources to compete for the attention of large, corporate buyers, in contrast to their competitors. As a result, supplier diversity programs have been developed by many organizations as a way for them to commit to spending a particular amount of money with diverse suppliers.
The rewards of undertaking this commitment are manifold, however five key benefits of supplier diversity include:
- It discovers innovation
- It is equitable and inclusive
- It drives competition
- It provides supports for local businesses
- It opens new markets
For example, in terms of innovation and the opportunity to open new markets, Jason explains how this is driven by people’s various backgrounds, “What you get access to when working with diverse suppliers can sometimes be a different way of thinking, a different way of approaching the problem and therefore the ability to provide a different solution,” he adds.
Typical challenges and how to get started
Jason continues to stress the importance of executive management sign-off for supplier diversity programmes, as it is critical for overall success that they understand and agree with the social benefits and the purpose of the programmes.
Additionally, he explains that a challenge also lies in technology and access to data. In this sense the US is slightly ahead as he points out, “Across the UK and Europe we actually don’t have those systems in place where we can – in a pragmatic and effective, efficient way – identify diverse suppliers to be included in a tender.” Jason claims that this is due to lack of supplier data as aside from general information such as name, address, legal entity type, etc., data around the suppliers’ diversity is simply not collected. This is one of the gaps that the Kaleida platform can help overcome. Jason finishes the discussion by highlighting an important point about the benefits of supplier diversity, which is inclusivity rather than exclusivity. The goal is not to invite only diverse suppliers to tender but to allow them the opportunity to be able to take part and ensure that they specifically are invited in.
Connect with Jason Roberts:
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