WIPP's myContracting Magazine January 2015 - Page 31

Nicole: I understand the importance of this topic, and the impetus to act on it. My question is, how? How do you set up a program in the first place, and how do you prove you have a good program?

Phyllis: The first thing to understand is that it starts with your own RFP stage. Build it in as part of what you do, and don’t think of it as something that is added on later.

Nancy: It sounds like a process question – capturing the data at certain points, the RFP proces being one. But the question is where and how?

Christie: Yes, it is an opportunity that is best realized by making a commitment to get the data. You really have to take that on as a project.

Janet: But to get started, it really doesn’t have to be complicated at all. You can just start with a

spreadsheet, tracking the logical information you’re going to be asked about. You can have a very successful program, all tracked on a spreadsheet. You can add summing formulas to automate some of it.

Phyllis: For the reporting aspects, the expectation on the corporate end can be as simple as

providing a list of firms, what diversity category they fit into, and how much you spent with

them. A step further would be to track whether they are certified or not, and through what entity.

Beth: Another step would be to have the diversity data integrated to your financial software.

Christie: Especially on the larger contracts, some of your customers will ask to see the certifications from YOUR suppliers. We track this in a database, and we send out a form to our diversity program suppliers asking for this information. Because our diversity program is pretty mature, we are developing a custom program to manage this information.

Outline: Supplier Diversity Program Development

Following is an outline for Supplier Diversity Program Development, compiled from the group input. Get a base-line:

1. Start small, with a spreadsheet or within your current supplier database.

2. Identify and classify the current suppliers: which are women or minority owned?

3. Do this by sending a questionnaire or a verbally survey them.

4. At this stage, these are ‘self-declarations’ (meaning you are not asking for their certifications)

5. Do some math to come up with two numbers: your spend with women owners and with minority owners.

Augment your internal processes: Add these questions to your RFPs:

o Level One:

- Is your company woman owned?

 - Is your company minority owned?

o Level Two:

 - Does your company have WBE or MBE certification?

 - From what entity?

 - What is the certification number?

 - What is the expiration date?

o Level Three:

 - Does your company have a supplier diversity program in place?

 - What is your spend with WBE firms?

 - What is your annual spend with MBE firms?

 - Do you ask your suppliers if THEY have a supplier diversity program?

 - If so, how much do you track of the tier two spend?

o Level Four:

- Expand the tracking to include a more segmented diversity classification, such as veteran, economically disadvantaged, etc. (use the same classifications as the government has already created!)

- When contract is awarded, notate these items in separate columns on a spreadsheet (or database):

 -Track the project

 - Dollar amount

 - Award date

Track the above data as columns on a spreadsheet or in your supplier database (for all respondents or only for the winning awardee).

Integrate this supplier diversity data into your company’s accounting software; capture the spend as you pay your invoices.

At Level Two, be prepared to validate the certification by contacting the certifying

entity.

At Level Three be prepared to educate your tier one suppliers about the purpose and benefits of having their own supplier diversity programs, and why you are asking for the information.

Augment your supplier list:

Reach out to women and minority supplier firms and ask for their proposals.

 Add them to your supplier list.

 Create an internal process so this is done on a regular basis.

www.wipp.org

NWBOC Discussion on Diverse Contracting