Sustaining ‘Two-Door’ Equal Opportunity in American Procurement

When procurement professionals representing major public and private sector organizations recommend supplier certification is the business response one of volunteering to certify or one of absolute requirement. Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain to benefit another person, group or organization.  Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life.  Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served.

Since none of these aforementioned attributes result from supplier certification then the response from business owners asked to complete a supplier certification process is a response of necessity to gain access to purchasing opportunities. Consequently, the idea is that supplier certifications work in gaining access to purchasing opportunities.  The presumption of supplier certification is that once completed and approved the certification will help the participant capture a contract win.

If a certification does serve that purpose then it is a waste of time and money. If a supplier certification does not make a difference between bidding opportunities and not being considered competitive to extend a bid then it is an inequitable course of action, where ALL business owners considered white male are not required or guided toward wasting time and money in applying for a useless supplier certification.

If certifications are not useful for a protected class of U.S. citizens then those professionals carry out the policy of major public and private sector organizations practicing discrimination? Aside from supplier certification, purchasing management professionals review potential suppliers for their respective experience or skill over an ethnic business ownership certification.

Business certifications require that the holders study hard and pass a test, and others require that you have years of experience in a specific field before you can even apply to be considered. Ethnic business ownership hardly falls into the traditional definition of holding and earning a certification.

Sadly, this certification is not fulfilled by the major buying groups, but is completely complied by the very people presumed underserved who choose to believe that maybe getting a certification is their ticket to a capturing a contract. The vision is that their certification will get them a head start over the competition and eliminating the need to have high skills, experience, or product/service quality.

When certification policies began there was o financial burden placed on the applicant, where the cost of certifications were fully borne by the buying agencies. This process has dramatically changed where the applicant is paying for their certification, which increases the belief that once completed will enhance the access to opportunities over those not certified.