With Facebook, Supplier Diversity Is More Than the Right Thing to Do

As the Director for Global Supplier Diversity at Facebook, diversity is more than a program; it is an imperative reflecting our values as a company to promote economic opportunity. It is who we are and what we believe, and as a result, it is much more than a system with a scorecard.

Utilizing intuitive and progressive technology to quantify our activities’ results—like the platform we built internally—plays a critical role in our diversity efforts. I will get into the specifics regarding our technology, including the Facebook platform, shortly.

However, I think it is important to emphasize that a supplier diversity initiative goes well-beyond equating success by measuring the throughput of dollars. At its heart, its most significant impact is the recognition that by solving economic injustice, we will also solve racial injustice.

In today’s article, I will provide you with an insider’s view of our supplier diversity program and how by creating more and more equitable economic opportunity through our supply chain, Facebook is working to dismantle systems that stifle the potential of underrepresented businesses and their communities.   

Bridging Inequity

As organizations look to elevate their efforts to address systemic inequities and tap into the incredible talent in underutilized supplier communities, our supply chains are a critical conduit between buyer and supplier.

The question is, how do you identify suppliers to engage with?

Diversity initiatives are not new—there is an existing set of third-party organizations that certify a wide variety of diversity types like Small, Woman and Minority-owned (SWAM) businesses and disabled and LGBT-owned enterprises domestically. However, we live and do business in an increasingly diverse global marketplace. Expanding our engagement activities beyond national borders will enable us to tap into new supplier communities leading to even greater returns for all stakeholders.

The challenge globally is that the reporting and programs often take different forms, requiring increasing effort to identify potential suppliers on a regional, sub-regional, and country-wide basis.

It is at this point that processes and systems—specifically, technology—comes into play.

Looking Inward

Being a tech company, we have certain advantages.

To start, it provides us with the flexibility to move fast within a decentralized procurement framework to align our buying objectives with our diversity goals.

For example, we provide our buyers with the right tools internally, such as our DSUL—Diverse Supplier Locator—to discover, engage, and qualify suppliers.

In addition to the above, our internal source-to-pay applications—a custom hybrid of the best functionality available in the provider market—creates greater transparency beyond dollars spent. This transparency level means that both buyers and suppliers get a clear picture of our diversity initiative’s effectiveness. It also gives suppliers a chance to provide meaningful feedback in the way of suggesting improvements.

Social Reach – Removing Barriers

It’s part of Facebook’s DNA to help small companies connect to their customers, and it is this same DNA that leads us to utilize our social platform to promote suppliers internally and to the marketplace as a whole.

We use our Facebook page and Instagram business profile as the “front door” for suppliers to participate in our Supplier Spotlights which allow them to book 20 minute capabilities presentations which we then promote internally. Since we launched this feature, we have met with more than 100 prospective diverse suppliers and will continue to build on that number to ensure that underrepresented communities can grow and thrive.

The best way to sum up our approach to supplier diversity is to recognize that we are doing more than merely the right thing; building wealth and creating jobs while also looking to transform the way diverse suppliers connect to their customers, each other, and the tools and resources to grow.