How Cisco Promote Diversity in Procurement

How do Cisco promote diversity in its supply chain and procurement operations?

Cisco uses a variety of strategies to promote diversity with its suppliers and procurement network, including outreach, development, recognition, and integration of supplier diversity goals into its overall business strategy.

The company states in its strategy how powerful supplier diversity can be, opening up new channels to access skills, provide resiliency, promote inclusiveness, broaden partnerships, and offer additional viewpoints to solve modern and more complex challenges.  

The Cisco Supplier Diversity Programme recognises LGBT business enterprises, alongside those identified by the US Government and also recognises a variety of diversity councils and agencies.  These include: the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, California Public Utilities Commission, United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Small Business Administration, and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  It collaborates with those agencies to support the certification, growth and development of diverse procurement partners. 

Cisco's commitment to supplier diversity 

"Cisco's commitment to diversity is a core part of our culture. As technology transforms every company, city, and country, and more people, places, and things become connected, it is more important than ever to consider and incorporate the many viewpoints and cultures from the places in which we do business,” says Chuck Robbins, Chief Executive Officer at Cisco.

“Cisco's Supplier and Partner Diversity Program provides us with insight to better enable our business model and seize future opportunities by creating channels of social and economic opportunity with customers, partners, and suppliers. Our program represents an integrated and collaborative network that includes our direct and indirect supply chain, resellers, suppliers, and partners, all of whom offer a broad range of skills that the marketplace demands to stay competitive.”

“Our Supplier and Partner Diversity program has proven to be a clear competitive advantage for Cisco, helping us drive innovation and collaboration. We are proud that this program enables us to incorporate the many diverse ideas and viewpoints that are critical to our success," he adds.  

Chuck Robbins, Chief Executive Officer at Cisco (Credit: Cisco)

Cisco’s diversity programmes for suppliers

Cisco’s Supplier Diversity Programme is part of its commitment to support and enable its procurement ecosystem as an extension of the company. It delivers inclusive company culture training focused on anti-discrimination, conscious culture, unconscious bias, allyship, and more, for its workforce, but also makes the content available to all partners and suppliers. 

At no cost to its suppliers, Cisco also offers BSCC (Building Skills for Conscious Culture) training that is designed to mitigate bias, identify harassment, and recognize social inequity at work. To make sure the training is as accessible as possible, it is provided as e-learning through its learning partner Emtrain, and is offered in six languages.

Cisco is also committing to various strategies to improve and accelerate its diverse procurement programmes.  Competitive sourcing bids to the company must include at least one qualified diverse supplier where at least one is available. In the four quarters leading to the summer of 2022, 94% of all competitive sourcing bids included at least one diverse supplier. Company figures show in bids where a diverse supplier participated, they won the bid at least 25% of the time. As a result, over the last two of those quarters, Cisco has seen spending with diverse suppliers increase by nearly $40 million.

“In my years working in Global Procurement Services, I have seen over and over that our diverse suppliers tend to be smaller companies, which often have a drive to succeed that translates into greater innovation, agility, flexibility, and creativity,” says Bryan Wiggins, Supplier Diversity Leader, Global Procurement Services at Cisco in a company blog.  

Bryan Wiggins, Supplier Diversity Leader, Global Procurement Services at Cisco (Credit: LinkedIn)

“Our executive supplier sponsorship program has been a powerful tool to advance social justice in procurement. It pairs diverse suppliers with Cisco executives for regular meetings during which they learn more about Cisco’s priorities and receive coaching and feedback. Additionally, these suppliers are invited to monthly curriculum meetings, speaker events, and networking opportunities.”

“It’s not about giving business to diverse suppliers — it’s about opportunities for diverse suppliers to compete being built into the DNA of our business,” he adds.


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