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Supplier Diversity

Alcatel promotes diversity for itself and its customers

"Our customers require inclusion and we're glad to do it," says Alcatel's director.
MBE Goodman Networks is reaping the benefits

 
 

Lynn Scott is senior director of supplier diversity at Alcatel.

Lynn Scott is senior director of supplier diversity at Alcatel.

At Goodman Networks, an Alcatel MBE  supplier, Jim Nalley is head of ops.

At Goodman Networks, an Alcatel MBE supplier, Jim Nalley is head of ops.

Goodman Networks (Dallas, TX) is a service partner of Alcatel, explains Jim Nalley, Goodman's president of operations. "We install Alcatel's telecom equipment and provide solutions to its end customers, the service providers."

Alcatel (Plano, TX), of course, is one of the primary suppliers to the telecom industry. "We assist them by deploying their equipment and integrating it into their customers' telecom networks," Nalley says.

At Alcatel, supplier diversity is customer-driven
Lynn Scott is senior director of supplier diversity at Alcatel. "I'm somewhat unique in this arena," she says, "because I started in supplier diversity at the Rockwell facility that Alcatel later purchased." Rockwell, she explains, started its supplier diversity program way back in 1978, largely to support its heavy involvement in government space work.

Alcatel's current customers, commercial and government, are community oriented. And they expect the companies they do business with to be the same. "They want us to participate in all aspects of improving the community, including working with small and diverse suppliers, and we are glad to do it," Scott says.

Team of four
Scott's supplier diversity organization is a team of four. "We are dedicated to participating in chamber of commerce and diversity council activities," Scott notes. She is on the board of the Dallas/Ft Worth Minority Business Council and the Women's Business Council Southwest. Other team members also participate in the councils and chair activities, and the group is involved in local Hispanic, Asian and African American chambers of commerce.

Scott's group is part of Alcatel's sourcing organization, which includes procurement and is part of the operations function.

Support on a daily basis
"We really appreciate the support the Alcatel team gives us on a daily basis," Goodman's Nalley says.

"The company has been a great partner with us for five years now. We've grown our service offerings, which has helped Alcatel grow the solutions they offer their customers, so it's a mutually beneficial partnership that has been very successful."

Goodman was originally brought in mainly for "engineer, furnish and install work." But Scott notes that her group is "working very closely to help them move into other arenas." An exciting new area for Goodman involves deploying telecom fiber to customers' homes and businesses.

Mentoring, when offered, is directly tied into Alcatel's own offerings. "We go to our customers with a joint solution: Alcatel equipment plus a diverse service provider. Our mentoring is to make sure Goodman is broadening its spectrum to qualify for these new services and new opportunities."

Growing Goodman
Goodman Networks began in 1997 as Greater Bell Communications, with Mexican American James Goodman as president. The new company installed telecom cabinets and did other small outside-plant jobs.

In 1998 Greater Bell joined forces with Harvard Manufacturing, a Texas contract manufacturing company looking for a service arm. In 2000 Goodman Networks was incorporated by James, John, Jody, Jonathan and Jason Goodman; James Goodman was chairman of the board. Goodman's relationship with Alcatel began shortly afterward, starting with DSL products and installation.

Family involvement
The Goodman brothers graduated from high school in Holland, near Austin, TX. The family includes sixteen brothers and sisters. They are Hispanic, of Mexican descent, and most of their names start with the letter J.

Five Goodman brothers play key roles in the company. James is chair, John is CEO, Jody is VP of staffing, Jonathan is VP of site acquisition and build and Jason, the youngest, is VP of support ops. The brothers all graduated from Texas A&M;, with degrees in business and management.

After college, James, John, Jason and Jonathan went to work as splice technicians for Bell Atlantic Services. John moved on to GTE, working in its network ops center in Dallas, TX.

In 2000 the brothers saw an opportunity to start their own business in the industry, providing missing services in installation and test. They grew the business within the access market and worked back into the core network.

Since then the company's involvement and offerings have grown tremendously. Goodman's service offerings currently include site acquisition and build, commissioning/decommissioning, e-911, in-building, engineering, testing, installation, access, transport, switch, logistics, staffing and other service offerings.

Its growing customer base includes Alcatel, Cingular Wireless, AT&T;, Andrew Corp, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, BellSouth, Nokia, Ericsson, Nortel and other carriers and OEMs. In general, the wireless ops division is its fastest growing segment. About a third of its employee roster of 650 plus are directly involved with inside tech support, including some 175 degreed engineers. The others are in field service.

Good relationships
The first contract is always the hardest to get, of course. Nalley explains that Goodman "became part of the multitude of vendors that called on Alcatel.

"But as the telecom downturn kicked in in 2001 and 2002, Goodman hung on through the quality of service they provided and the relationships they built with Alcatel's diversity group, as well as AT&T;, Cingular and other customers."

As the downturn resolved itself and the number of service providers increased, Goodman continued to perform and grew from there, partnering with equipment OEMs to serve the service providers.

Goodman went after MBE certifications straight away, and was certified in 2001 by both Texas and California.

A well-known supplier
As the partnering began, Scott notes, "We were getting positive feedback from our customer base. We concluded that Goodman was head and shoulders above some of the other suppliers we were using.

"The company was already known to our customers for representing our equipment and other equipment. It helped us to go in together. If we went in with a solution that had Goodman activities integrated into it, it gave our customers a secure feeling that everything would fit together smoothly, and Goodman's MBE status was an added benefit.

"In today's arena we probably outsource 60 percent of our manufacturing, so we need to identify more and more suppliers. It's beneficial to all if we can find them in the diversity arena."

Forming partnerships
"As Alcatel moves forward, we're encouraging our suppliers to join forces in joint ventures or partnership arrangements," Scott says. The idea is to offer broader solutions, and also more financial strength "so to minimize the risk of dealing with a small company."

Goodman is involved in these moves. Nalley explains that the company's growth from sixty to 650 employees in five years is partly related to its work with other Alcatel vendors.

The NMSDC's Telecom Industry Group is composed of Alcatel and most of its customers, as well as most of its competitors and their customers. "Within that group we talk a lot of shop, and part of that is discussing suppliers we're currently using. That broadens their opportunities and gives them extra exposure," Scott notes.

The Alcatel/Goodman relationship has been an excellent deal for both companies. In 2005, Nalley points out, Alcatel was named Dallas/Ft Worth Minority Business Council 2005 Corporation of the Year, and Goodman was named the 2005 Supplier of the Year. "We're very proud to be an Alcatel supplier and to assist them in helping their customers," Nalley says.

"Our supplier diversity program is something that benefits our customers, our community and our company," Scott concludes.

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