Supplier Diversity Programs

Supplier diversity is a proactive business process that seeks to provide suppliers equal access to purchasing opportunities. It promotes supplier participation reflective of an institution’s diverse population and the diverse business community.

In 2005, Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, took steps to enhance their supplier diversity activities. Since then Purdue has become recognized as one of the premier supplier diversity programs in higher education in the country.

The focus of the program at Purdue has been outreach (

On a national scale, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC, works to advance business opportunities for certified Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business enterprises and connects them to corporate members.

The NMSDC Network includes a national office in New York and 36 regional councils across the country. There are 3,500 corporate members throughout the network, including most of America’s largest publicly owned, privately owned and foreign-owned companies, as well as universities, hospitals and other buying institutions.

NMSDC corporate members have developed eight goals that corporations implement to create a world-class minority supplier development process.

  • GOAL 1: Establish corporate policy and top corporate management support
  • GOAL 2: Develop a corporate minority supplier development plan
  • GOAL 3: Establish comprehensive internal and external communications
  • GOAL 4: Identify opportunities for minority business enterprises in strategic sourcing and supply chain management
  • GOAL 5: Establish a comprehensive minority supplier development process
  • GOAL 6: Establish tracking, report and goal-setting mechanisms
  • GOAL 7: Establish a continuous improvement plan
  • GOAL 8: Establish a second-tier program

For more information on acting on these eight goals or on supplier diversity programs and development in general, visit the National Minority Supplier Development Council online at

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management September 2013 issue of Spaces4Learning.