Understanding and Utilizing Diverse Suppliers
The term “supplier diversity” is becoming very popular, but what exactly does it mean for businesses in general and those within the clinical trial industry specifically? Below we look deeper into the definition of the term, how it came to be, and how to better embrace the practice moving forward.
Clincierge is a minority-owned business and an active member of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the largest advocacy organization in the US dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBTQ people.
The NGLCC is also the exclusive certifying body for LGBTQ-owned businesses, with a current membership of over 2,000 companies.
Clincierge was founded as a corporate meetings and events management company in 1994, so we have deep roots in the hospitality industry. In 2015, we became Clincierge, transitioning our high-touch concierge-level services to participants and caregivers in clinical trials.
Our pre-paid and preplanned services naturally increase access to clinical trials for all demographic groups, removing the emotional, financial, and logistical barriers to trial participation. Our commitment to improving the diversity within clinical trials is a component of our company mission, and our employees strive to provide the best service possible to our patients, caregivers, clients, and vendor partners daily.
Supplier diversity is the practice of utilizing vendors with at least 51% of ownership belonging to a minority or disadvantaged group in a company’s supply chain.
These minority groups include demographic populations such as:
- People of color: including those of Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, LatinX/Hispanic, and Native American descent
- LGBTQ+: including those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer
- Women: female business owners
- Military Veterans: including those who have served in one or more of the branches of the United States (US) Military, including the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard
- Disabled Veterans: veterans from the above branches who were injured/disabled during their time of service
Finally, they encompass small businesses that receive funding under a US Federal Government program known as The HUBZone Program:
- Small businesses funded by this program must be owned and controlled by US citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, an Alaska Native corporation, a Native Hawaiian organization, or a Native American tribe.
There are many benefits to companies that include diverse suppliers in the clinical trial industry. Pharmaceutical sponsors and CROs who partner with minority-owned companies like Clincierge will see benefits such as:
- A more competitive supply base: more supplier options lead to better pricing and higher quality products and services
- A more agile/resilient business ecosystem: supply chain issues are alleviated when business is shared among several vendors
- Increased innovation: new ideas and viewpoints abound as a result of unique perspectives and backgrounds
- Improved brand value: your clients see your commitment to ethical business values and DEI initiatives
- Attainment of DEI and ESG goals: companies can meet or exceed their supplier diversity goals by utilizing diverse suppliers
The origins of supplier diversity in the US can be traced back to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. In 1965, then-President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, compelling federal government agencies to incorporate affirmative action into their buying decisions.
The legislation “requires affirmative action and prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Contractors also are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or that of others, subject to certain limitations.”
The practice of supplier diversity has continued to gain traction throughout the last half-century. A 2021 Supplier Diversity Study conducted by The Hackett Group found 92% of 100 large global and US-based companies allocated funds toward supplier diversity. Of these companies, 69% reported plans to expand their supplier diversity programs globally by 2023. Companies worldwide understand the many values of supplier diversity and are adjusting their business practices accordingly.
Clincierge’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in Recruitment and Hiring Practices
A commitment to DEI initiatives begins at home, and continual growth in these three tenants is engrained in our corporate culture. We believe our success is a direct result of our team’s diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, and this diversity is vital when creating innovative solutions and strategies to support clinical trial patients.
While our headquarters are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we have a diverse domestic and global footprint. Our almost 70 fully-remote employees span nearly 20 states in the US, with Clincierge Coordinators supporting trials in over 40 countries worldwide.
Clincierge recently submitted our first sustainability assessment with EcoVadis, the leading platform for environmental, social, and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains.
We were awarded a Bronze Sustainability Rating, placing us above 50% of global companies within our industry and recognizing our positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives across company operations.
We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint as individual corporate citizens and as a corporate entity.
Moving forward, we will evaluate additional ways to attain the highest sustainability and organizational integrity standards.
Utilizing diverse suppliers is a win-win situation for all stakeholders. As explained above, there are immense benefits to both the company hiring the diverse supplier and the company supplying the service.
Hiring diverse suppliers reduces the monopolies large companies often have within the clinical trial industry, allowing for innovative ideas and new product offerings to flourish within a collaborative environment rife with balanced representation.
Many diverse suppliers also embrace diversity in other areas within their company, such as recruitment and hiring practices, DEI initiatives, and sustainable business practices. They continually focus on recruiting and retaining a strong team with unique backgrounds and a united drive to provide exceptional service.
Partnering with a well-rounded, diverse supplier like Clincierge will continue to add immense value to all clinical trial supply chain tiers moving forward.