Member Profile | Resources
BDR Speaker Bureau
What are some of the key factors you attribute the success to your company's Supplier Diversity Program?
Diversity and inclusion are strategic priorities for Toyota and we believe in engaging with people who believe there is always a better way. This means we have the support and leadership of Toyota’s executive team in cultivating a company-wide culture that recognizes the importance of having a diverse base of suppliers. Our supplier diversity processes incorporate internal education and outreach to purchasing teams and decision-makers to ensure they understand how the Supplier Diversity Team can support the achievement of their objectives.
Our Supplier Diversity team members are continually expanding Toyota’s relationships with diversity-minded organizations at a national level as well as within the communities where we’re located. Through activities and events, we are able to connect with diverse entrepreneurs and expand our network. Additionally, we seek strategic partnerships with peers within our industry as well as colleagues outside of the automotive space to gain knowledge and perspective on best practices, trends and challenges.
It’s an honor to be part of the important, ongoing conversation about how we can contribute to creating a more equitable and diverse economic landscape in North America.
How do you think Supplier Diversity professionals can continue to make a strong case for the need of diversifying the supply chain?
Well, to me, it’s a matter of fact: the demographics of America have shifted dramatically, and will continue to evolve in the future. As a result, we have to watch the trending data to ensure our targets and objects are in alignment with what is really going on in North America. For example, what may have been an assertive goal several years ago may no longer be appropriate today due to changes in certain population sectors. It’s imperative to continually challenge ourselves to remain aware and be sure our supplier diversity structure is flexible enough to adapt to dynamic environments.
I also believe having a diverse supplier base demonstrates respect for your customers and team members. Engaging an inclusive perspective across all aspects of business operations --- not just with suppliers --- allows companies of all types and sizes to be more responsive and responsible. The ultimate result, generally, is increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. In addition, many of today’s consumers make buying choices, which are equally, if not more, influenced by ‘who’ you are as a company. As WBENC says – they “act intentional” when making those purchases.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the Supplier Diversity Programs? How would you like to see the BDR address these challenges?
Diversity encompasses more than gender and ethnicity. It represents a wide array of characteristics, perspectives and experiences. And inclusion is about more than just making sure there is an appropriate balance of different people at the table. We need to be certain our diverse relationships are meaningful, mutually beneficial and that opportunities to participate in conversations and processes are equitable. Additionally, as American demographic continues to shift, the time is soon coming when we need to rethink our traditional definition of “minority.” For example, during a ten-year span, Hispanic growth has outpaced that of the US population by more than four times (2010 Census).
In the end, I see these as important steps forward in the evolution of Supplier Diversity and essential to being progressive, relevant, and economically impactful in the marketplace and in communities across the country.
What advice would you give other corporations and/or public sector agencies considering implementing and/or improving their supplier diversity program?
There’s a saying at Toyota that “what gets measured gets done,” reflecting the importance of accountability in our company processes. While having a clear, strategic vision and an integrated approach to building and sustaining a Supplier Diversity program is crucial, I’ve learned that attentively tracking your program’s success can make all the difference in overall impact and development. To identify growth opportunities, start by establishing real goals for your team— ones that are actionable, extend beyond the status quo, and, most importantly, can be realistically achieved. Then, I’d recommend collectively measuring your team’s progress against internal and external benchmarks to ensure continuous improvement throughout the organization.
What do you find as the key value of being part of the BDR?
Every day, our team strives to achieve world-class standards across every area of our operations. In more ways than one, our Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR) membership more strongly positions us to accomplish this goal, particularly in the area of Supplier Diversity. One, it continues to challenge our team - as passionate champions of diversity in American business - to be innovative in our outreach. Second, the ideas and best practices shared amongst the group help develop more versatile processes that continually increase our engagement levels with diverse entrepreneurs. Creating a united front amongst leading companies passionate about diverse entrepreneurs – many of which are competitors in the marketplace – BDR continues to cultivate allies and advocates for a better (and more inclusive) tomorrow.
Provide some bullet points on the requirements of doing business with your corporation.
Patience - remember establishing a direct supplier relationship doesn’t happen overnight.
Shared belief and practice of the Toyota Way – ‘respect for people’ and ‘continuous improvement’ – in all facets of the organization
Commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience and innovative products of the highest quality
Tier II opportunities are important, even if you already have automotive customers. In many cases, the initial opportunities will be with our supplier partners, creating the opportunity to do business with Toyota indirectly.