David Casey

To advance its commitment to supplier diversity and development, CVS Health created the Partnering for Success initiative, a series of Business Building Events hosted throughout the country to bring together purchasing decision makers and diverse suppliers with the goal of better utilizing diverse suppliers within the company’s supply chain.

“It’s the inclusion principle in action as the Business Building Events help us to identify, connect, and award work to diverse suppliers who reside in the communities we serve and shop in our stores,” said Raul Suarez-Rodriguez, Manager, Supplier Diversity. “Supplier diversity gives CVS Health a competitive advantage, fostering strong relationships with small- to medium-sized minority, women and LGBT business enterprises.”

The one day events focus on supplier development through educational opportunities such as: presentations from top Primes and industry associations discussing industry trends and opportunities; panels with successful MBEs; and training sessions for pitching and navigating the bidding process. The events also include business matchmaking opportunities during which diverse suppliers meet privately with decision makers from both CVS Health and Primes responsible for the sourcing and purchasing function of specific categories.

As the nation’s leading pharmacy innovation company, CVS Health collaborates with partner organizations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and other national industry trade organizations to present opportunities across the country as a way to develop strong partnerships with the diverse businesses in those communities. This commitment to recognizing and strengthening ties within the community through utilization of diverse suppliers is a driving force behind the design and implementation of the Business Building Events.

“We have no lack of innovative, diverse suppliers of goods and services in the marketplace to help us deliver on our purpose,” said David Casey, Chief Diversity Officer. “They just need entry into a Fortune 7 company. We’re committed to closing that gap between capability and opportunity.”

Matchmaking and one-on-one meetings with Primes and CVS Health professionals have proven extremely popular – and productive – at the Business Building Events, according to both quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Raul Suarez-Rodriguez

CVS Health hosted nine Business Building Events in 2013 and 2014, all of which generated bid requests and resulted in 40% of participating Primes awarding projects to minority owned businesses. Those projects generated nearly $4 million in revenue for MBEs directly related to CVS Health projects and non-CVS Health projects. Not only did the events increase the number of MBEs within CVS Health’s supply chain, bringing Primes and MBEs together through the Business Building Events created broader economic impact by generating revenue through other projects.

To achieve these results, members of the supplier diversity team carefully considered each MBE and matched them with the appropriate Prime or CVS Health professional to maximize opportunities for diverse suppliers.

“The matchmaking meeting was fantastic,” said one participant in post-event feedback. “I met with someone from the marketing and communications department, which was the ideal fit to introduce our offering to the company. Our work is cross-cutting and doesn’t fit neatly into a single area, so the marketing/communications person was the ideal person with whom to meet because she ‘got it’.”

In 2016, CVS Health is continuing its supplier development strategy by hosting 4 Business Building Events across the country. One of the company’s goals is to incorporate more categories of diverse suppliers and Primes at the events, representing an even broader cross-section of the CVS Health supply chain.

“It has been a great journey that allowed us to demonstrate the company’s commitment to promoting supplier participation — the kind that reflects the diverse communities in which we do business while encouraging economic development,” said Anna Umberto, VP, Strategic Procurement.

Article by Melissa Lowery