Advocating change is one thing, but being at the forefront of progress is another. That simple, yet cogent notion explains why at the end of fiscal 2005, Procter & Gamble, the multinational healthcare and beauty supply company, exceeded a goal to spend more than $1 billion with minority suppliers.
One vendor that has enjoyed a profitable relationship with P&G is Diversified Supply Inc. in Alabaster, Alabama. The company provides electrical and instrumentation distribution services to P&G at locations across the country. Company president Dan Anderson, who has been a P&G supplier since 1995, says Diversified Supply Inc., took in nearly $55 million in revenues in 2005.
So what are the secrets of Anderson’s success with P&G? Persistence and performance. “Don’t accept the first ‘no’ as the final answer, and remember that you just might be getting closer to a ‘yes,'” he says. “Be willing to fully demonstrate to the client why you are the best vendor and deserve the contract.” Anderson initially approached P&G with a bid proposal for an electrical service contract in 1995 and was awarded the contract later that year.
As with most organizations, the bottom line is always essential, so a service or product that will ultimately save P&G money will have the best chance of landing a contract, says Icy Williams, associate director of corporate supplier diversity for P&G. Add value, competitive pricing, high quality, and innovation to whatever service or product you are offering, she says. “These are basic measures of all our suppliers, and minority vendors are not an exception.” Williams says suppliers interested in doing business with P&G must be certified by a recognized licensing organization and have minority business enterprise or women business enterprise certification, such as a national electrical contractors group or a national trade or service organization. Vendors should also review P&G supplier diversity guidelines and requirements at www.pg.com/supplier_ diversity.
Williams’ advice to potential suppliers is simple: “Be prepared to provide capacity and capability to leverage P&G’s demanding and ongoing business. Vendors must … demonstrate how their product or service will match our business needs.”
Steps to Success
Here are the steps P&G suggests its potential suppliers follow to increase their chances at landing a contract with them.
Vendors must be certified as a minority-owned or woman-owned business by one of the following organizations: National Minority Supplier Development Council (www.nmsdcus.org), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (www.wbenc.org), Small Business Administration (www.sba.gov).
Once a vendor is MBE/WBE certified, the next step is to register with Diversity Information Resources (www.diversityinforesources.com/login_body_frame.asp). P & G uses this national database as a key point of reference when searching for minority-owned and/or women-owned businesses. Daryl Hodnett, group manager of P&G supplier diversity development, says, “By doing business with diverse suppliers, we also gain insights into consumers’ behavior and preferences as a value-add to the quality services our suppliers are already providing.”
Finally, a vendor must provide a proven track record of success and what it will be able to provide P&G. Dan Anderson, president of Diversified Supply and a 10-year P&G supplier, says his company