Technology meets Supplier Diversity

Imagine a database of 2 million minority- and women-owned companies that large corporations can search to find suppliers in fields ranging from hospitality to computers. Imagine too that some of America’s largest businesses, including Dell, Sprint, Marriott, and Merrill Lynch, are using this database and hiring more minority and women-owned businesses every day. Now, stop imagining. It’s happening right now.

CVM DiversityQuest’s drive to improve the field of supplier diversity began four years ago, when DePaul University M.B.A. student Mike Anguiano worked at a company that lost a $500 million bid for a contract by failing to meet supplier diversity requirements. Anguiano wrote a paper about how to effectively achieve supplier diversity. He raised startup capital, and in 2001, DiversityQuest was born. Later the company joined forces with another firm, CVM Solutions, to provide vendor management services.

CVM DiversityQuest’s ClassificationAdvantage program helps corporate clients save money and adhere to government regulations by comparing the corporation’s supplier information against DiversityQuest’s consolidated database of more than 9 million small businesses and 2 million diverse or minority-owned companies. It’s not just a database but a “tracking and reporting mechanism to detail all the money corporations are spending with diverse businesses,” says Anguiano, president of the data division.

He estimates that maintaining the database is only about 5% of what the company does. Additionally, it screens resumés that clients receive from potential suppliers and provides a detailed report. The company also offers spending analysis software, which tells clients how much-and in which categories-they spend on supplier diversity. Companies such as the Hilton hotel chain can tell, for example, how much each hotel is spending with Hispanic suppliers that provide linens.

Ford Motor Co. started working with CVM DiversityQuest about a year ago, in a collaborative effort to modify a system called MTier, which monitors Ford’s first-tier suppliers. By using MTier, Ford and CVM DiversityQuest can verify all the first-and second-tier minority suppliers involved in the process.

“They did a great job in helping us educate our suppliers and in communicating the intent of the system,” says Debbie Murdie, manager of Ford’s supplier diversity development office. “If you don’t communicate and educate, then you will fail.”

Diverse suppliers interested in registering with CVM DiversityQuest should contact CVM Solutions (,630-629-5800). Anguiano suggests becoming certified with the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council Inc. (,212-944-2430). Minority-owned businesses are certified by the NMSDC’s regional council nearest to the company’s headquarters.