Supplier Diversity

Supplier Diversity

IBM is committed to diversity in all parts of its business, and has been for more than 100 years. IBM’s history of maintaining a diverse supply chain is no exception. The company first established a global supply chain diversity program in 1968. This was four years before the creation of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and 29 years before the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) was founded. We were the first IT company to conduct more than $1 billion of business with diverse suppliers in the United States. And we learned early on that fostering diversity is not only the right thing to do for society, but for business as well. A diverse supplier base not only provides talent, it also helps add stability and flexibility throughout our supply chain and promotes economic growth in local communities.

In 2013, IBM conducted $3.3 billion of global business with first- and second-tier diverse suppliers. Of that, $2.7 billion was contracted with first-tier suppliers, up from $2.6 billion in 2012. And of that, we did $916 million, first tier, in business with diverse suppliers external to the United States.

$3.3 billion

of business with first- and second-tier diverse suppliers in 2013

$916 million

of purchasing with first-tier, non-US diverse suppliers in 2013

Amount of IBM business conducted with first-tier diverse suppliers

For these and other accomplishments in 2013, IBM was named the NMSDC'S Corporation of the Year and selected for the 10th consecutive year as one of WBENC'S top corporations. In addition to these awards, Michael Robinson, IBM’s program director of global supplier diversity, was named one of Minority Business News magazine’s top 75 Leading Men in Corporate Supplier Diversity and one of WBENC USA’s Outstanding Men of 2013. Robinson also received the 2013 Corporate Advocate Award by Asian Entrepreneur Magazine.

In addition to being a founding member of NMSDC, IBM is a founding member of WBENC, WEConnect International, the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the US Business Leadership Network’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program.

IBM also participates in international organizations focused on supplier diversity, such as the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council, the Minority Supplier Development United Kingdom, the Minority Supplier Development China, South African Minority Supplier Development, and Supply Nation.

Looking forward, IBM intends to continue to foster the diversity of its global supply chain as our business needs evolve. IBM works with many potential diverse suppliers to clearly define its requirements in both direct and indirect supply areas. And we continue this work with diverse suppliers—especially our second- and third-tier suppliers—to help them grow their capacity.