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Keys to Success

Keys to Success for Women and Minorities in Business

Researchers from the Atlanta business consultancy, The Hackett Group, surveyed 50 companies with median revenues of $7 billion and a median procurement spend of $3 billion (Wall Street Journal, August 2006). They found that firms that ‘focus heavily on supplier diversity’ generate a 133 percent greater return on procurement investments than the typical business. In these economic times, those numbers can not be ignored.

News of the many positive results of supplier diversity programs boosts support for these initiatives. It can also provide more opportunities for minority- and women- owned businesses (M/WBEs).
Starting with the supply chain, some organizations are establishing relationships in increasingly diverse markets and gaining a competitive advantage in the U.S. and globally. How can M/WBEs leverage the growing number of opportunities available through corporate supplier diversity initiatives? How can they sustain business relationships leading to the long-term growth of their business?
Here are 10 steps that are guaranteed to produce positive results:

STEP I
Produce High Quality Products. It is not sufficient for your products to be good. Differentiation of your products and services based on the highest level of quality provides insulation from competitive rivalry, often based on price, and creates customer loyalty. Introduce the unique benefits of your products and services to your customers, highlighting the high quality solutions it offers to their problems.

According to Paul Belliveau, Abbie Griffin, and Stephen Somermeyer, editors of The PDMA ToolBook for New Product Development, there’s another way to differentiate your product or service in the marketplace while improving quality: learn from your customers how to innovate.

Nabisco was proactive in this regard. Its engineering group designed modifications to bakery cooking and packaging equipment that increased efficiency and that were not yet available from the equipment manufacturers. Nabisco then contracted with the equipment vendors to incorporate the modifications into prototypes for its use. Eventually, the vendors included many of the Nabisco innovations in their standard designs, which Nabisco would then purchase since the commercial equipment was less expensive than the prototypes.

Whatever your company provides, whether a product or a service, must be both excellent and relevant if it carries your business name. (more…)

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