Educational Procurement Journal - Fall 2018 - 18


When It Comes to
Supplier Diversity,
What's the Secret
to Success?
Here's a look at some best
practices and creative strategies
shared by three public institutions
setting the pace in this
important area.

It All Begins with Data

by Nicole Katz
E&I Cooperative Services


upplier Diversity
initiatives have
become increasingly
important for
today's higher ed
institutions and it's
easy to understand why. In addition
to maintaining a commitment to
social responsibility, a successful
supplier diversity program delivers
added value by benefitting the local
economy, promoting innovation,
and it can have a tangible impact on
institution's bottom-line.
So, what are the elements of
an effective supplier diversity
program? And how are today's
institutions increasing procurement
opportunities for small-, minority-,
and woman-owned business
enterprises (SMWBE) on campus?


It's important for an institution
to maintain a central repository of
data about diverse suppliers, and to
provide end-users with easy access
to this information. For Kent State
University, a nationally recognized
leader in the supplier diversity arena,
this data is a business imperative.
"In order to advocate or promote
diverse businesses on campus,
we need data, and that data forms
the foundation of a company's
capabilities statement," explained
Veronica Cook-Euell, Supplier
Diversity Program Manager at Kent
State University. As competition
has increased and more minority
businesses are vying for market
share, capabilities statements have
become critical to a company's
success, particularly in the state
of Ohio.
Cook-Euell has developed a
proprietary database to capture
this information, and as part of the
process, suppliers are asked to input
many of the pertinent details for their


organization, including a company
summary and skills, examples of past
projects, certifications, key clients,
and a description of products and
services offered. Suppliers can also
upload supporting documentation that
is shared internally among buyers and
Every buyer and end-user at
Kent State-and at all of its regional
campuses-has access to the database
at any time, making it infinitely easier
to identify these companies and to
find the information they need quickly
and efficiently. This database helps to
establish open lines of communication
and access to data regarding a
potential supplier-some areas such as
Construction and Information Systems
regularly use the database when
searching for viable candidates for an
upcoming bid or opportunity.


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Educational Procurement Journal - Fall 2018