How Does it Work?: Supplier Inclusion
This interview is part of DrexelNEWS’ recurring feature — “How Does it Work?” — spotlighting operational or administrative departments, teams or processes you might not know about, but who keep the Drexel cogs moving each and every day!
As an institution with a great level of economic influence in the Greater Philadelphia area, Drexel University has a responsibility to support local suppliers, particularly by developing working relationships with minority, women, veteran, service-disabled, and LGBTQ+-owned businesses. Enter Drexel’s Supplier Inclusion Program, which is housed under Accounts Payable and Procurement Services. You might have seen the program mentioned in University emails or newsletters; maybe a time or two you’ve visited the Supplier Inclusion website (which, by the way, was recently recognized for inclusive entrepreneurship by Northeastern University!).
But what does Drexel’s commitment to local and diverse businesses look like in practice? What kinds of things does the Supplier Inclusion team achieve day to day, or week to week? Executive Director of Economic Impact & Workforce Inclusion Allen Riddick shared all the details.
Q: What’s the purpose of Drexel’s Supplier Inclusion Program?
A: The Supplier Inclusion Program is one of several ways Drexel works to include moral and ethical standards as it relates to fiscal responsibility. Our program aims to keep local and diverse businesses actively engaged in Drexel’s purchasing activity. These activities support our University in many ways, as it has been proven that local and diverse businesses provide better-quality products and services, lower costs and increased innovation. As members of the faculty, professional staff and administration, we have an important role to play by intentionally engaging with local and diverse businesses whenever we have the chance.
Q: Why do you think the University community needs to know about supplier inclusion?
A: As employees at Drexel University, we are part of an anchor institution that holds an immense amount of economic impact within the local West Philadelphia community. This impact directly relates to our students’ and local residents’ experience. Spending local, for example, allows businesses to provide everything from higher wages and better health care benefits for their workers to tax revenue for the City of Philadelphia. All these indirect expenditures help to create a robust local economy and infrastructure.
Q: How does supplier inclusion at Drexel work? Break it down.
A: We try to make supplier inclusion simple for our Drexel community. If you are interested in procuring goods or services with local and/or diverse businesses, the first thing to do is to contact me or any member of our Strategic Sourcing Team. We work to assist you through your purchasing experience. Whether your need is small or large, our team has access to various databases that provide qualified local and diverse suppliers. Once you contact us, we will guide you to identify the best supplier that fits your need and budget.
For businesses seeking to work with Drexel, our supplier inclusion process facilitates the exchange of a firm’s capabilities while coordinating a one-on-one introduction through our registration portal. The information retrieved during this process is accessible to faculty, staff and students. Once we are engaged, we work diligently to stay consistently engaged to local and diverse firms and stay abreast of Drexel’s current and future needs.
Q: What are some recent examples of supplier inclusion at Drexel?
- The fulfillment of office furniture at the new Drexel Health Sciences Building; over $3.5 million was directly spent with minority and/or diverse businesses.
- Drexel contracting with TreMonti Consulting Services, a veteran-owned technology firm for intellectual property evaluation services.
- Local caterers selected for the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnership’s monthly community dinner.
Q: What’s one thing (or two!) you want employees to know about supplier inclusion?
A: If I could share two things, the first would be that the work of supplier inclusion is a University-wide commitment. In addition to Accounts Payable and Procurement Services, departments such as Business Services, Information Technology and Real Estate and Facilities work to ensure businesses have open and equal opportunity. Second, I would like folks to know that local and diverse suppliers tend to utilize Drexel’s graduating talent pool by offering career opportunities. So, there is really a reciprocal relationship happening when Drexel supports these businesses!
Q: Whom can folks contact for questions or more information about the Supplier Inclusion program?