Diversify Your Vendors

When Marlon Moore first joined Huntington Bancshares Inc. in 2012, just 5 percent of the vendors Huntington worked with were minority-owned. But as the bank’s first supplier diversity manager, Moore was able to successfully increase minority vendor sourcing to more than 15 percent over the course of two years.

Moore spoke with Diversity Executive about Huntington’s initiative to increase supplier diversity, and what other companies can do to diversify vendors. Below are edited excerpts from his interview.

You oversaw a growth in minority vendor sourcing from 5 percent to more than 15 percent in a two-year period. How did you accomplish this goal?

Support from the top has been instrumental in achieving success growing Huntington’s diverse vendor sourcing base. Active and transformational leadership is one of the most important constructs in the successful execution of any strategic objective. We definitely have very strong support from our CEO Steve Steinour and Chief Sourcing Officer Deborah Manos-McHenry. Additionally, I meet regularly with each of our executive leadership team members to establish and review year-over-year accountability measures toward reaching minority and diverse vendor sourcing goals. This business accountability, along with collaborative efforts within our entire sourcing organization, directly impacts our ability to move the needle within our organization and is a key differentiator for Huntington in our markets.

Why did Huntington Bank launch this initiative?

At Huntington, inclusion is a corporate value. To win with our customers, shareholders, colleagues and communities, we are intentionally fostering an inclusive environment to drive high performance. We know that diversity in perspectives results in more robust ideas and greater efficiency.

Marlon Moore, Huntington Bancshares Inc.
Marlon Moore, Huntington Bancshares Inc.

Our supplier diversity strategy starts with economic inclusion. It’s about creating the mix of companies that reflect the changing demographics and the communities we serve. Diverse businesses remain an emerging market that delivers quality service at competitive costs while driving innovation and value. We believe an inclusive supplier base will provide us a competitive edge in the market.

What are some strategies other companies can implement to increase supplier diversity?

At Huntington, inclusion is a business imperative. To remain competitive, companies must leverage inclusion efforts in both supplier and workforce diversity.

Supplier diversity should be aligned with corporate strategy. It is important to dedicate resources that support the strategic identification and execution of core economic inclusion objectives. When I joined Huntington in 2012, I first determined our total addressable spend, then developed key strategic objectives to increase access for diverse companies. One meaningful example is our formation in 2013 of an internal advisory council, the Economic Inclusion Business Council. This team of senior leaders serves as the governing body for all of our supplier diversity efforts and deserves a lot of credit for our organizational success.

Why is it important to support minority vendors?

To grow and differentiate ourselves in the market, we are taking a more intentional approach to how we do business. Minority and diverse suppliers help companies achieve savings while providing innovation and quality service. At Huntington, we are working diligently to connect minority, women, LGBT, disabled and veteran-owned companies with business opportunities that create jobs and support systemic economic growth. When we do that, we all win.

How can increasing supplier diversity benefit the business?

Including diverse businesses is vital to our business operations. It provides opportunities for savings, but also equally important, to build partnership. As a lender, we understand that access to capital remains a challenge for small and diverse businesses. We want to learn their businesses and provide value through connecting them with products and services necessary for growth and sustainability. It is a critical aspect of any inclusive culture and a key means to meet corporate accountability measures.