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Making the Business Case for Supplier Diversity

It's more than just a matter of doing the right thing.

Ahold USA’s supplier diversity program is helping the company meet its financial goals and benefitting efforts in certain categories, according to James Sturgis, Jr., director, Supplier Diversity, Ahold USA.

Sturgis, who spoke at an FMI workshop, said the retailer has looked for creative opportunities to involve minority- and women-owned supplier businesses, and he cited private label as a category that has meshed well with this diversity program.

“We’re trying to grow in private label, and that is a perfect avenue for these suppliers to grow their businesses with us,” he said. “We’re having success with bringing minority- and women-owned businesses into that.”

Sturgis said a lot of these suppliers have lower overhead, which produces a savings for the retailer. “They are adding sales and profits and removing costs,” he said.

Another workshop speaker, Kathryn Mazon, senior business development lead, Supplier Diversity, Target Stores, said she urges these suppliers to interact with the retailer.

“They should be patient about opportunities, but they should be involved with us so when the time comes we can have inclusion,” she said.