Driving Diversity: Stellantis Leads in Supplier Inclusion

Procurement Magazine Looks at How the Global Automotive Giant Stellantis is Leading the way in Diverse Procurement Through its Supply Chain

In today's automotive industry, where innovation and transformation is constant, Stellantis has spent four decades breaking ground in diverse procurement. 

With a belief that diversity propels progress, the organisation has embedded this ethos into its very core, as reflected in its purpose statement: ‘Powered by Our Diversity, We Lead the Way the World Moves’. 

Over the course of its lifespan, Stellantis has not only pioneered but also refined its supplier diversity strategies, evolving from its inception in 1983 to the extent that it is widely accepted to be a world leader in diverse procurement. 

In 2023, the car-manufacturing giant was recognised as having the no. 2 supplier diversity programme by Fair360 in 2023, and was the leader in the automotive industry. 

"Diversity is fundamental to our vision as we transform into a sustainable mobility tech company, and requires the support of all stakeholder groups, including suppliers," explains Bruno Olvera, Head of Supplier Diversity Development, Stellantis North America.

Since the 1980s, the company has steadily grown the scope of its diverse supplier and procurement strategy to include even more categories: minority-owned; female-owned; veteran-owned; LGBTQ-owned; small, historically underutilised, socially and economically disadvantaged; and disability-owned businesses.

“The company has strategically and intentionally included the Supplier Diversity Requirement in its general terms and conditions, and supplier diversity is a part of the Global Purchasing Scorecard,” continues Olvera, elaborating on how diversity now runs like a watermark through the company’s procurement process. 

“Stellantis supports more than 20 external supplier diversity councils and plays a leadership role in different supplier diversity boards and committees.”

Stellantis’ High Focus Programme 

One of the standout features of Stellantis' diverse procurement strategy is its High Focus Programme, inaugurated in 2011. This initiative provides vital assistance to suppliers encountering hurdles in meeting their diverse spending goals.

"In 2011, Stellantis was the first OEM to launch its industry-leading High Focus Programme,” says Olvera. “The scope of this programme is to support suppliers facing challenges in meeting their diverse spending goals by providing resources, mentorship and guidance.

“This programme serves as a benchmark across the automotive industry, external councils and the diversity and inclusion footprint.”

The initiative is aimed at driving supplier diversity amongst Stellantis’ Tier 1 suppliers. Those involved are failing to meet diverse spending goals and are given a dedicated plan to support their performance in spending with their own supply chains. Recent statistics show there have been 184 participants, with a US$6.5bn total diversity spend and 166 graduating companies. 

A commitment to Black- and female-owned businesses

Stellantis demonstrates its commitment to empowering female-owned businesses through initiatives such as the MentorWE programme. In collaboration with the Great Lakes Women's Business Council, this programme focuses on nurturing the growth of certified women-owned businesses through a comprehensive nine-month training programme.

"The MentorWE programme successfully graduated its first cohort in collaboration with the Great Lakes Women's Business Council,” explains Olvera. “The programme was taught by Stellantis executives, female leaders from the Women of Stellantis business resource group and prominent female entrepreneurs.

Stellantis also celebrated the graduation of its inaugural cohort from the National Black Supplier Development Programme (NBSDP), which initially launched as a pilot in 2021 in collaboration with the National Business League (NBL). 

The goal was to nurture the growth of Black-owned businesses, providing them with invaluable opportunities within the industry. It was integrated into Stellantis' core supplier diversity programmes, such as MatchMaker and the High Focus graduation event, so the NBSDP cohort enjoyed enhanced visibility and access to opportunities. As a demonstration of the progress of that strategy, four graduates from the programme secured business with Stellantis in 2023.

The MatchMaker tradeshow 

Another cornerstone of Stellantis' diverse procurement strategy is the annual MatchMaker tradeshow. This flagship event serves as a platform for connecting diverse business owners with Tier 1 supplier decision-makers and Stellantis representatives. It gives diverse-owned companies the opportunity to access Stellantis' supplier diversity development initiatives, including participating in "matchmaking" meetings with key buyers and decision-makers.

"The annual MatchMaker tradeshow reinforces our enduring commitment to a diverse supply base and economic empowerment by connecting diverse business owners with Tier 1 supplier decision-makers, as well as Stellantis purchasing, supply chain and supplier operations representatives," Olvera emphasises.

In 2023, Stellantis hosted its 24th MatchMaker event that was attended by more than 1,400 participants, including diverse business owners, supplier diversity councils and chambers, Tier 1 decision-makers, and Stellantis representatives, as well as senior leaders from purchasing, supply chain and supplier operations. By joining all those parties together in such a progressive environment, MatchMaker has generated more than US$4bn in new business opportunities for diverse-owned businesses since it first began in 1999.

Using technology to power continuous improvement 

Alongside its proactive approach to supplier diversity, Stellantis leverages technology to enhance its procurement efforts. 

Platforms like the Supplier Registration Portal and real-time Supplier Performance Dashboards streamline processes and improve transparency, ensuring that diverse suppliers have access to the same opportunities as their counterparts.

"We leverage external and internal platforms to support diverse procurement,” Olvera goes on. “Stellantis’ Candidate Assessment Evaluation on its Supplier Registration Portal provides feedback from the supplier diversity programme managers upon evaluation.”

It’s this kind of technology that feeds the mentality of constant improvement within diversity  strategies. This means continuing to find ways to develop new initiatives and programmes to maintain the company’s position as an industry champion in diversity. 

“In 2023, Stellantis implemented enhancements to our sourcing and reporting tools to focus on providing a clear visual of upcoming opportunities for diverse suppliers going forward,” continues Olvera. “This will benefit the organisation tremendously by integrating an enhanced diversity strategy with external councils and matchmaking opportunities.”

Lessons for the procurement industry

For a business with such a mature supplier diversity programme, Olvera is hopeful Stellantis’ experience can help other companies in the early stages of their own strategies to be “data-driven, agile and innovative”. 

He adds: “Among the many lessons are to monitor Tier I and Tier II diverse spend, set specific goals for divisions and suppliers through a segmentation strategy, and ensure goal achievement.”

Stellantis demonstrated that agility by taking the vital MatchMaker event virtual during the pandemic, maintaining the continuity and momentum of the programme. 

Alongside the data and the strategies, Olvera believes it’s crucial to always look forward and consider how to improve.

He concludes: “As we evolve as a company, we proactively look for opportunities to be more inclusive, expand our footprint and align with industry trends and standards.”

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