Diverse Suppliers, Stronger Mobility Programs 02.21.2024 | Laura Levenson

At the start of 2024, our organization underwent the process of collecting and weaving together the many stories that formed the tapestry of our sustainability journey, developing our latest and most comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report (stay tuned for the big release!). A big part of this journey has been our commitment to Sustainable Procurement – more specifically, ensuring the inclusion of diverse suppliers within our mobility supply chain.

Our partnership with EcoVadis has been the driving force behind refining this strategy, ensuring that we maintain a supplier network representative of companies owned or managed by and/or committed to hiring individuals belonging to diverse and disadvantaged groups. Beyond EcoVadis, our clients seek this, too, with an increasing number of them requesting data supporting the value and benefits of engaging and developing a network of top-tier providers with a multitude of strengths reflective of the individuals they serve.

Minority-run businesses are growing at a rate of 34% annually, outpacing the national average. – Michigan State University

This is all great news, but I still have questions.

Besides the obvious socioeconomic benefits of including diverse suppliers within a supplier network, what value can it bring to businesses and the end user, particularly regarding workforce mobility? And what does the process of sourcing and vetting diverse suppliers look like?

To dive deeper into the supplier diversity process here at Weichert, we went straight to the source: our Supply Chain Management leaders who help to manage our supplier relationships and meet the unique service requirements of our clients. First in the hot seat is Adam Bowlby, Manager of Weichert’s Global Supply Chain.

What criteria must a business meet to be considered a diverse supplier? And what does the process of recruiting these suppliers look like?

Adam: Diverse suppliers are classified as such based on their ownership; companies with a 51% or more ownership stake would qualify. It’s important to note that the process varies by region. While conducting supplier market evaluations in the United States, we identify suppliers who meet the minimum qualifications recognized by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Suppliers verify their status by providing us with a certificate from one of the organizations recognized by the SBA. Verifying the supplier’s status is a critical step, as this information may be reported to the government. The certificate and expiration date are stored on the supplier’s record in our system, and we receive updated certificates prior to expiration.  Also, and beyond the SBA definition of “diverse suppliers” we seek a suppliers who have a diversity mindset when it comes to their employees, as we work with a relatively small supply chain we often do not have a choice in the ownership structure.

From your perspective, what value do these diverse suppliers bring to our supply chain and our client?

Adam: Our strategy around supplier diversity aligns with our Corporate Beliefs, specifically our belief in Open Doors and Open Minds. We work hard to foster a collaborative and inclusive global community, and the suppliers we partner with play a big part in this. The diverse suppliers within our network bring fresh perspectives and flexibility, enhancing service delivery and appealing to a broader range of customers. And they help us to be more agile as relocation partners! When disruptions arise –a given in the very complex mobility landscape – having a broad range of suppliers with unique perspectives, solutions, and approaches allows us to help our clients pivot quickly with minimal disruption.

What would you say to a company keen to work with diverse suppliers as part of their mobility program?

Adam: Great choice! If you’re already focused on meeting the needs of a diverse mobility employee demographic, then leveraging diverse suppliers and suppliers who support a diverse employee base is a logical next step. The best time to communicate this to your RMC is at implementation. This will ensure that you are aligned with the best-fit partners from the beginning of the engagement. Thanks to the hard work of our team, our Global Supply Chain now includes a robust list of exceptional minority suppliers who have earned rave reviews from our clients and have contributed to best-in-class mobility programs.

A Regional Perspective

Heidi Frances, our Global Supply Chain Specialist for the EMEA region, shared that the focus on diverse suppliers in North America isn’t mirrored on an international scale…yet!

Heidi: While we haven’t experienced the same momentum in our regions with respect to clients looking to leverage a diverse supplier base for their mobility programs, we expect this trend to gain traction in the years ahead as internal corporate DE&I initiatives and goals make their way up the priority list. Right now, the sustainability piece is more of a focus. More clients (usually the procurement teams) are asking questions about our EcoVadis score, and programs like Discard and Donate are gaining more traction as both a cost savings and sustainability initiative.


In summary, embracing diverse suppliers isn’t just about meeting quotas; it’s about fostering innovation, economic growth, and ethical practices within the global mobility supply chain. And no one is better positioned to share those stories than the suppliers themselves. So stay tuned for my upcoming Supplier Sessions Podcast, where we’ll spotlight some of the superstars of our supply chain who have contributed to elevating our service as well as our commitments to being better corporate citizens.

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Written by Laura Levenson


Laura Levenson is a Practice Leader in Weichert Workforce Mobility’s Advisory Services group. She has worked in management capacities for workforce mobility and Big Four firms, and is well-versed in bringing clarity to the most pressing global talent deployment challenges. She brings over 25 years of experience to her role and is a frequent speaker on the mobility conference circuit.

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