Cultivating a Diverse Supplier Base
At Kellogg, we believe it’s important to support and encourage a robust supplier diversity program. In 2015, we spent more than $376 million on goods and services from companies owned by people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals; service-disabled veterans; differently abled individuals; and women.
Our program has grown substantially since we first began it more than two decades ago. Today, we’re consistently recognized for our best practices in fostering a diverse supply chain. For example, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) honored Kellogg at the Silver Level as one of 2015’s top corporations for women’s business enterprises. And in 2016, the National Business Inclusion Consortium, a coalition of national diverse business organizations, named Kellogg one of only 30 companies to be recognized as the “Best of the Best.”
Honors such as these indicate we are on the right path when it comes to achieving greater diversity among companies within our supply chain. What follows are some examples of the work we are doing, both in our headquarters state of Michigan and nationally.
Michigan Diversity Connections
Kellogg helped to launch Michigan Diversity Connections (MiDiCo) as a way to bring diverse suppliers together to network and gain a better understanding of each other’s needs. Although several large companies participate, Kellogg leads the monthly meetings, providing training on topics ranging from use of social media to generational differences in the workplace. Ultimately, the goal is to help greater numbers of small, diverse businesses align with corporate expectations so they, too, can become suppliers.
B2B in Battle Creek
Debra Q., Manager, Supplier Diversity
B2B in Battle Creek, Michigan, is an annual networking event in our headquarters community that has grown progressively over the four years it has been in operation. Buyers from area corporations, governments, health care facilities and universities host networking tables to meet with potential suppliers, with a focus on diverse and locally owned small businesses.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for small businesses,” said Debra Q., Manager for Supplier Diversity at Kellogg. “We want to make sure that Battle Creek businesses know that they are welcome and that we want to speak with them.”
Six times a year, our Supplier Diversity office invites a potential supplier to come to the Kellogg Battle Creek campus and present to us, one-on-one, about their capabilities. The companies, most of which are not currently suppliers to Kellogg, also participate in a question-and-answer session with members of our Procurement team.
The suppliers get a unique opportunity to demonstrate their abilities to Kellogg. Our Supplier Diversity office assesses them first to be sure that they are legitimately qualified and certified as diverse suppliers.
The National Veteran Business Development Council
Kellogg is a founding sponsor of the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC), which certifies businesses owned by veterans.
Many companies offer opportunities for veteran-owned businesses through their supplier diversity programs — an estimated $80 billion in annual spending, according to the NVBDC. However, veteran owners of medium- and large-size businesses in particular found that they couldn’t take advantage of corporate diversity programs because there was no nationally recognized mechanism for certification. The NVBDC was established in 2014 as a certifier of veteran-owned businesses.
Debra Q. of our Supplier Diversity office is the chairperson of the NVBDC’s certification committee.
Each year, Kellogg gives the Sojourner Truth Award to the diverse supplier that spends the most on other diverse suppliers within its own supply chain. In 2015, the award went for a second year in a row to Bay Corrugated Container Inc. of Michigan, which reported that 5.45 percent of its total spend in 2015 was with other certified suppliers.