A Commitment to Supplier Diversity
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) and Speedway LLC currently have more than 250 suppliers that are considered diverse – owned by women, minorities, veterans, or are considered small businesses. Of the top five, four of them are women-owned and the other is Native American-owned. In all, due to collaborative efforts across all organizations in 2014, the corporation was able to accomplish $230 million in diverse supplier spend. Notably, almost one-third of all strategic bids for projects in 2014 included at least one diverse supplier.
MPC’s Corporate Supplier Diversity Initiative is a joint effort facilitated by a team of employees from both MPC Global Procurement and Speedway Purchasing and Commercial Services. In 2014, the team assembled a formal three-year strategy, which began with benchmarking current processes, procedures and strategies to support a vision for continuous improvement.
“While tracking spend and seeking to include diverse suppliers in bid opportunities are important parts of driving success in our initiative, the team remains focused on our main goal: the growth and development of our diverse suppliers,” notes Bonnie Loch, MPC Supplier Diversity and Corporate Support manager. “Our team has worked hard to evaluate where we should focus our efforts and craft strategies to create more opportunities for diverse suppliers and foster meaningful business relationships.”
“While we are always focused on how we can improve, we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize the many achievements the Supplier Diversity Initiative has had as it has developed,” says Aaron Butler, Speedway’s Purchasing and Commercial Services coordinating manager. “To name a few, we have increased the number of diverse suppliers we do business with year-on-year by 18 percent, and our indirect spend with diverse suppliers has more than doubled, from $97 million in 2012 to $230 million in 2014. We have also increased the percentage of our overall indirect spend with diverse suppliers from 2.4 percent in 2012 to 3.5 percent so far this year.”
One factor in this success is the Supplier Diversity Internal Advocate Team, a team of volunteers who promote MPC’s supplier diversity efforts and take a leadership role in activities that promote diverse supplier inclusion, both internally and externally. Alongside other supplier diversity advocates, they understand the importance of developing diverse suppliers and have a passion for helping them succeed.
Supplier diversity is always evaluating new ways to seek continuous improvement. “We realized that a way to increase awareness of our initiative was through effective communication and recognition tools,” says Allyson Earles, Supplier Diversity coordinator. “We are working on an awards program to be rolled out in 2016 to recognize efforts supporting supplier diversity. One award will be going to one of our internal advocates and another to a team member outside the advocate group, who assumed a leadership role in supporting our diverse suppliers. Another award will go to one of our diverse suppliers that provides outstanding service or products to MPC or Speedway.”
“We also published our first Supplier Diversity Newsletter in February to help with our communications efforts,” adds Brittney Bickers, Supplier Diversity database administrator. “We hope the newsletter will encourage our employees and business partners to learn more about our initiative. More importantly, we hope it will inspire them to become more involved, either by initiating opportunities to network with our diverse suppliers or by becoming part of our Supplier Diversity Internal Advocate Team.”
“Our team can commit to strategies and encourage communication over and over again, but we achieve real success when we are able to work collaboratively with our internal business partners to create new opportunities for diverse suppliers,” says Earles. “It is important to acknowledge our nation’s changing demographics and commit to fostering opportunities that encourage meaningful relationships with our diverse suppliers, something which will help us gain a competitive advantage in the future marketplace.”