ADP's program is new but growing fast
“JEM Computers is a great supplier, adding value
year after year and competing successfully with some
of our largest suppliers.” - De Asa Brown, ADP
De Asa Brown is director of supplier diversity at Automatic Data Processing, Inc (ADP, Roseland, NJ), a global provider of business outsourcing solutions. She’s been in that role for two years. “I started the supplier diversity program and it’s still in its infancy,” she says.
Several factors were behind the creation of the program. “ADP is a huge company with nearly $9 billion in revenues and about 570,000 clients,” Brown says. “It has long had a focus on workforce diversity and an interest in supplier diversity. I was brought on board to formalize that focus and renew the company’s commitment to a program of supplier diversity.
“We’re very excited about this new effort. We already had diverse suppliers, of course, but we wanted a formal program to make sure we would have all the necessary data, tracking and reports. For a baseline, we counted the diverse suppliers we already had.”
A business marketplace
Brown quotes Vito Giuliani, ADP’s VP of purchasing for technology asset management: “Expanding our supplier base by making it more inclusive is good business. Supplier diversity enables ADP to obtain high-quality goods and services at competitive prices as we partner with businesses that reflect the local and global multicultural markets we serve.”
“ADP has long looked at diversity from a workforce standpoint,” Brown notes. “We were named by Working Mother in the magazine’s 2009 annual ‘100 Best Companies’ list for our dedication to family-friendly benefits, and we’ve been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for having a diverse workforce that includes associates regardless of employees’ sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
“But now we’re also focused on supplier diversity. In the two years I’ve been here, we’ve been able to establish our baseline: where we are right now, what we spend and what we have spent with diverse suppliers.
“We’ve taken a look at other companies in our industry, the companies considered best in class, and we’ve laid out a supplier diversity plan for the next three years.”
“Leveraging what we have”
Part of that, Brown says, “is leveraging the diverse suppliers we’re already doing business with.” There are, she explains, two major business units within ADP: employer services, which provides HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions to companies of all sizes, and dealer services, which provides integrated computing solutions for auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the world.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How can we leverage an MBE working within one unit to expand services across the organization and reach into different parts of the company?’” Brown says. “We recently merged our procurement organization with our technology asset management organization to become much more centralized. Now we can check our diverse supplier base for opportunities to leverage our suppliers’ services across our whole organization.”
Leveraging JEM Computers
JEM Computers, Inc (Mt Clemens, MI) “is a Chihuahua that’s ready to compete with the Great Dane,” says its owner, Jami M. Moore. The family business, which basically concentrates on backup media and computer-related products, was a long-time supplier to ADP, even before Moore joined her father’s team in 2000 and then took over when he retired in 2004.
“JEM’s association with ADP greatly predates our formal ADP supplier diversity program,” Brown explains. “ADP is looking to do business with good suppliers, and if they’re diverse that’s just an added advantage.
“JEM Computers provides services to the corporate part of the ADP business, but its services could just as well be offered to ADP’s dealer services, and our Canadian group and our international organization. We’re starting to look at how we can grow relationships like this one, getting smaller, diverse suppliers to the point where they can bid on larger opportunities.”
Working with the councils
ADP is a national member of NMSDC and WBENC, where Brown serves on a committee for the New York/New Jersey council. Before joining ADP she was executive director and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, and before that she worked for Toyota-North America in supplier diversity. The South Central Ohio Minority Business Council, an affiliate of NMSDC, named her the minority business advocate
of the year in 2003.
Brown attends NMSDC’s annual conference as ADP’s representative, and participates in the NMSDC program managers’ annual educational workshop. “And of course we utilize the databases of both NMSDC and WBENC to help source good minority- and woman-owned businesses,” she says.
“We prefer that our suppliers have certifications from those organizations, but we’ll also accept certain state and city certifications.”
Tier 2: well under way
ADP’s tier 2 program got started last year; an interesting process. “We identified forty of our top suppliers and asked them to report their spend with diverse suppliers overall, and list the part that can be attributed to ADP contracts,” Brown reports.
“We’ve already identified about a hundred of our big suppliers that will be participating in our program going forward. We’ve gotten very good cooperation from the suppliers and find that many of them already have their own supplier diversity programs.
“As we continue to grow the list we expect that several of our diverse suppliers will also be in the tier 2 program.”
ADP has its own internal database of diverse suppliers, and gets more leads through NMSDC and WBENC. “But one of my best sources is word of mouth,” Brown discloses. “I’ll often send out a blast email to my supplier diversity colleagues and ask if they know anyone they would want to recommend. We also work with specialty trade groups, chambers of commerce and many different organizations that have a constituency of woman- and minority-owned businesses.”
“Working with NMSDC and WBENC industry groups is about the only time people can take off their competitive hats and come together and discuss best practices, what’s going on inside other organizations and what’s working well for other companies. We’re all trying to get to the same goal, to do better with diverse suppliers, and we can’t do better if we don’t know who’s out there!”
Fast-tracking the programs
ADP has a thirteen-member supplier diversity advisory taskforce of senior leaders chaired by Michael L. Capone, the company’s CIO and executive sponsor for supplier diversity. Finance, marketing, sales, HR, procurement, legal, and of course, ADP’s office of diversity are all represented on the taskforce.
Last year ADP launched an internal supplier management system to track and report its spending with diverse suppliers. It’s also a vendor registration system: suppliers anywhere in the world can log onto www.adp.com/supplierdiversity to register their companies as diverse suppliers seeking to do business with ADP. “Registration in the new portal doesn’t automatically qualify them as an approved supplier, of course,” Brown explains. “The registration process is just the first step in determining potential suppliers’ fit with ADP’s procurement needs.
“We definitely see our spend increasing overall,” says Brown. “Over the next three years we’re hoping to double our current numbers and have 14 percent of our total spend with diverse suppliers. We also see what we’re doing as a convenience for our clients who keep their own supplier diversity records.
“We are fast-tracking that program!” Brown concludes with pleasure.
Meet JEM Computers’ Jami Moore
Jami M. Moore is president of JEM Computers (Mt Clemens, MI), a valued supplier to ADP. Her father, James Miller, founded the firm in 1986 to sell backup media and printer ribbons to Fortune 1000 companies.
Since Moore took over the business five years ago, JEM has maintained consistent annual sales growth and won high rankings as a woman-owned business in Michigan.
Her dad always wanted her to earn her own way in the business world, Moore recalls. “I wasn’t the high school or college student that got to go on spring break,” she remembers with a smile. “My spring break was coming back and working for JEM, and that toughness has made me who I am. JEM is surviving this economy because I don’t roll over and give up.”
Moore’s company today has morphed into a distributor and value-added reseller for all kinds
of data center products and services. She has added an extensive online product catalog that “competes with the big companies on day-to-day IT products,” she says.
Moore’s two older sisters are also part of the business: one runs the back end and the other runs the sales support side. “We have very good business relationships and also good personal relationships. I’m very, very lucky,” says Moore.
JEM has been certified by WBENC for several years. “I network with other small businesses. We help each other in areas where we’re not good at what they’re good at and vice versa,”
Starting with ADP
JEM started with ADP’s sales office in Ann Arbor, MI nearly ten years ago. “We got a sales lead for ADP from a manufacturer we represent,” Moore remembers. “I called ADP and followed up, and that was my initial connection.” ADP is a major client now: “The University of Michigan and ADP are neck and neck for our ‘best customer’ role,” she says with a laugh. “Plus, our multi-location contract with ADP has given us a lot of credibility with other large companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Ford Motor Co.” But JEM still hasn’t exceeded a dozen employees.
“I totally feel as a business owner that if you put your heart and soul and passion into your work, you can succeed in whatever dream you want to,” Moore reflects.
Open line with ADP
Moore has had several mentors in the course of her entrepreneurial career, “and of course I can always turn to my dad because he’s been through twenty years of running a business.
“When I think of customers I think of ADP,” Moore says happily. “If I could have ten more customers like ADP, I would be in the perfect position!
“We’re working toward building what I would really call a partnership. Of course I know that I’m the vendor and ADP is my customer, but it’s always an open line of communication.”