engage magazine issue 007/\'08 - Page 27

CORPORATE DIVERSITY 27 Merrill Lynch was recently voted the No.1 UK Corporate for Supplier Diversity by Engage Magazine: “Merrill Lynch demonstrates a real deep commitment to engaging with diverse suppliers and a willingness to pro-actively demonstrate this commitment through tangible actions.” Engage Magazine, UK, 2008 He further explained that some of the suppliers who would like to supply are not always ‘fit to supply’ but that Merrill Lynch would like to assist them to get ready to be in a position to supply. “We see this frequently with SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises] and it is mainly due to them not having experience of working with large corporates,” said Mr Kelk. “This is something we would like to address with MSDUK and WEConnect, to help to train and coach companies on how to deal with corporates and to ensure they understand all they need to do in order to be able to apply for and win contracts.” So, with a successful track record in the area of Supplier Diversity, how proud is Merrill Lynch of its record on Supplier Diversity? “We are very proud of how inclusive we are,” said Mr Kelk. “We feel we are very inclusive and open to people regardless of their background. However it is important to recognise that Supplier Diversity is really in its infancy in the UK and has a long way to go before it reaches the sort of level it is at in the US and before it becomes mainstream.” Mr Kelk said that in five years’ time he expects there will be significant progress on the Supplier Diversity front, such as a certification of diverse suppliers, which is already being implemented by MSDUK and WEConnect and which Merrill Lynch believes to be one of the keys to success. “We certainly need an organisation independent of us to determine whether a particular company is truly diverse in the way they describe,” said Mr Kelk. “Supplier Diversity is generally defined in terms of ownership and we need to feel comfortable that if someone tells us they are of a particular background that it is the truth. “Once there is certification for diverse suppliers there will be a lot more progress in terms of corporates moving on in relation to Supplier Diversity and that includes Merrill Lynch,” he added. Mr Kelk also hopes that in a few years’ time there will be more Supplier Diversity success stories, especially among the company’s Tier 1 suppliers. He said that for large companies like Merrill Lynch, it is not always realistic to deal with SMEs, so most of their contracts are with larger companies, but hopefully this is something that could change over the years. So what progress has Merrill Lynch made so far regarding Supplier Diversity? “We’ve taken several steps in the first quarter of this year,” said Mr Kelk. “We invited our partners MSDUK and WEConnect to come along and meet with our Tier 1 suppliers and for our Tier 1 suppliers to be introduced to those organisations. This is the start of a process that I see developing over the next few years and beyond.” Engage also contacted Merrill Lynch’s US office and spoke with Sandye Taylor, Head of Global Supp ƖW"FfW'6Gf"W'&ǖ6v6C( 66RG26WF2FRVwW&7WƖW"FfW'6G&w&RFRf66W'f6W2GW7G'W'&ǖ62FV7G&FVB&fV6֗FVBFFfW'6R7WƖW"6W6( 7V66W76gVFfW'6RvVB'W6W72FWfVVB26'&FR7G&FVwFB6G&'WFW2F7W7FW"6F6f7FB6&VFW"WVG( Рf"gW'FW"f&FW'&ǖ6( 27WƖW"FfW'6G&w&Rf6Bwwr6Р55TR4UdT#VvvRV