Establishing an ‘open one-door’ policy for many major buying entities has found itself in a rather difficult outreach position. The marketing messages being sent forth by Corporate America caters to minority business concerns as new business markets and that produces results of a multi-door supplier engagement practice. Most apparent in the separate outreach management, is the specially designed marketing collateral that describes how to do business solely with those groups defined by the new emerging markets.
Corporate supplier program marketing literature is lumping ethnic and gender business classifications, and thereby leaving one group exclusively to itself and that is the group of white male entrepreneurs. Overwhelmingly, this separate, but supposedly equal language, outlines how to do business if you are one of the following; Asian, black, Latino, Native American, and/or female. The issue becomes one of the fundamental plans, which is, when do you begin to blend all entrepreneurs into one level playing field?
Managing inclusion takes full responsibility for long-term outcomes. Building management processes void of a strategy for full inclusion smacks never a fair supplier program with open access. What reasonable perspective can a white male-owned firm take away when he reads literature that excludes its’ respective profile? White males want to introduce themselves to procurement management personnel and possibly find it disappointing when they read that they are not the flavor of the month in the company’s supplier engagement material.
Similarly, white male businesses may find sympathy or eagerness from internal corporate staff members to bring them in through a separate engagement door. Since a white male is not listed, staffers may see a need to establish a more friendly treatment of hospitality and open a different door. Therefore the white male firm receives extra attention since his firm is not listed in the marketing literature and is thereby given a more royal treatment on how to do business.
White male supplier requirements cut to the chase quite quickly from that of their specially defined diverse counterparts. They will not have to bother with certification.
There will probably be no talk on how to establish a second-tier relationship, or mentor-protégé program. The supplier engagement talk will be straight ahead on business qualifications, such as product quality, pricing, and delivery.
One-door policies cannot be made with multi-marketing campaigns for supplier engagement. The focus has to be one stream of information at all departments and levels of the organization. To engage a supplier requires the same line of reasoning. Separate conversations will inevitably end up with separate intake methods, and thereby prolonging racial discrimination.
Major public and private buying organizations have to pause and take inventory of their respective personnel. The cultural background is more of a blend than our world has ever experienced. Beginning with the whole new generations over the past sixty years where mix bloodlines are too numerous to name. The whole Negro concept has been totally eradicated, and there are multi-racial groups too numerous to name like white and black, Irish and Italian, Mexican and Jewish, black and Spanish, German and Hawaiian, Japanese and Hungarian, with twists that are beautifully amazing.
The current workforce administering these supplier programs does not need added confusion about race. These management workers were probably educated in racially mixed educational institutions. Racially segregated school systems are a dying breed in the public school systems of America. Neighborhoods and churches are even slowly evolving to include multi-cultural groups, and major business organizations benefit from these new balanced communities.
Corporate outreach should only look at the past racial hatred and redlining exhibited by this nation as the purpose for fair supplier programs, but not view it as a method for change. Redlining white males out of the process only begets more separation. The change is already in place and what major buying units have to do is guide the effects of the change.
A sound supplier gateway has ONE entrance. The target audience receives one printed message reflecting that same gateway. To illustrate, when speaking with the treasurer of the company for cash flow investment opportunities, you will not find a separate language for black investment firms than that of white male firms.
When the world-renowned architect Paul Williams, whose career spanned from 1915 to 1980, would discuss blueprints with his clients he was required to do it from the opposite side of the table. Consequently, Mr. Williams learned to read the plans upside down in order to detail the layouts to his white clients. The business table symbolizes hierarchy and where you positioned yourself stated your level. Where during a business meeting most white clients refused to be seen on the same side of the table with blacks for fear that their level and status would be scrutinized as that of being lesser. This is a reminder why we have to remain cognizant that we position all suppliers on the same side of the table while outlining the business plan.
Today, most Fortune 1000 companies have their respective marketing campaigns labeling separate sides of the business table and expecting fairness. Unless we have equal seating at the same table at the same time, discussing the same thing, then fairness is not a possibility.
The glossy marketing brochures targeted to minorities and women are professionally ill prepared since they leave the assumption that white males have a different door to enter for opportunities. If white males are not addressed and they receive 80% – 90% of the corporate business, then there has to be another door that they are freely entering. Or is the understanding that white business owners know best how to conduct business and need no written explanation or documented formalities?