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A Diversity Process that Works!


Joseph A. Leister, C.P.M., A.P.P.
Joseph A. Leister, C.P.M., A.P.P., Director - Network Contracting, SBC Services, Inc. San Antonio, TX 78215, 210-886-3740,
Joan N. Kerr
Joan N. Kerr, Executive Director - SBC Supplier Diversity, SBC Services, Inc. San Ramon, CA 94583, 925-824-5507,

86th Annual International Conference Proceedings - 2001 

The SBC family of companies is a national leader in Supplier Diversity. For over 30 years we have built a proud history of working with small, Minority, Women and Disabled Veteran-owned businesses. We spent over $1.6 billion dollars in 1999 with certified M/WBE-DVBEs, representing over 21% of our procurement base. The key to success is commitment to a program followed by the implementation of a well-designed program and processes. The elements include; goals, leadership commitment, action plans focused on goals, tracking & reporting and continuous improvement. In addition, a critical success factor that we will explore in greater detail is the full inclusion of key suppliers in the supplier diversity process.

SBC's Commitment to Supplier Diversity.

SBC Communications is committed to our Supplier Diversity Program. We have a long history of program growth which is based on the sound business value that diversity suppliers have added to our products and processes, on our increasingly diverse customer base, and on our commitment to grow together with the communities we serve. We believe that a diverse supplier base will help us best serve our customers.

A critical component of developing a supply chain that includes minority owned, women owned and disabled owned veterans is the work we do with our largest manufacturers, distributors and service providers — our Prime Suppliers. We established a Prime Supplier Program to assist these key suppliers in developing diversity participation in the business that they do with SBC.

This program supports our Prime Suppliers in doing three things:

  1. Establishing or enhancing their own Supplier Diversity Program to include minority, woman and disabled veteran business enterprises through subcontracting and the establishment of diversity business solution partners and value added resellers;
  2. Developing an Annual Plan outlining how each company can provide better business solutions to SBC companies by working with M/WBE and DVBE Value Added Resellers and subcontractors;
  3. Submitting Quarterly Results which report on each supplier's specific progress in developing diversity subcontractors and business solution partners.

Our Prime Supplier Program focuses on the role our suppliers play in creating competitive advantage through a diversified supplier base. As a customer, we expect nothing less than high quality goods and services, delivered on time, at the lowest cost. We also expect our suppliers to support our business goals. We believe that our Supplier Diversity Program is an important business initiative that provides SBC with a competitive advantage in the increasingly competitive telecommunications marketplace.

Workshop Content.

This workshop will provide participants with best practices in the development and management of a Supplier Diversity Prime Supplier Program. Attendees will also receive a Guidebook for Prime Suppliers that can be utilized by both sourcing managers seeking to establish a program and those who wish to better meet their customers' requirements for diversity participation in the supply chain.

What Does "Supplier Diversity" Mean?

Supplier Diversity means achieving a base of suppliers which includes qualified Minority, Woman and Disabled Veteran Businesses (M/WDVBEs), as well as non-M/WDVBE suppliers.

Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) include businesses which have been verified by an approved agency to be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a minority individual or group. Minority includes, but is not limited to: Asian Americans, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and other groups defined as disadvantaged by the Small Business Administration. Foreign-owned firms operating in the U.S. are not included in these definitions.

Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) include businesses which have been verified by an approved agency to be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.

Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE) include businesses which have been certified by the Association for Service Disabled Veterans or the California State Office of Small and Minority Businesses who are either a sole proprietorship at least 51% owned by one or more disabled veterans; or a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock owned by one or more disabled veterans; or a subsidiary which is wholly owned by a parent corporation, but only if at least 51% of the voting stock of the parent corporation is owned by one or more disabled veterans; or a joint venture in which at least 51% of the joint venture's management and control and earnings are held by one or more veterans. A disabled veteran is a veteran of the military, naval or air service of the United States with a service-connected disability.


A diversity process that works includes the full participation of key prime suppliers. The process needs to be goal oriented, with plans focused to the goals, followed by a tracking & reporting system that provides clear measures of goal achievement and what strategies are proving most successful. Implementing such a program may seem difficult, but the evidence shows that it is not only possible for suppliers and purchasers to collaborate in the achievement of significant supplier diversity participation, but also to improve the supply chain in the process.

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