Supplier Diversity – New Study Sees Dramatic Growth, Ambitious Goals For Most Companies

By Laura Gibbons and Tarun Puri
August 17, 2021
Season 2, Episode 6

Host Laura Gibbons talks with Senior Director Tarun Puri about findings from our new supplier diversity study. They discuss how the social equality movement of the past few years has sparked growth, the ambitious goals companies have for supplier diversity expansion, and changes in how companies are structuring their programs internally.


Show Notes

Today’s episode of the Business Excelleration Podcast is hosted by Laura Gibbons, Senior Research Director at the Hackett Group. Laura welcomes Tarun Puri, Senior Director at the Hackett Group to discuss supplier diversity.

To begin, Tarun shares that recent years have been monumental for supplier diversity programs, sparked by social movements and outcry for reform. It isn’t just about supplier diversity, but includes a larger emphasis on inclusion within the company’s culture. Tarun explains how the implementation of these values look different in various companies, depending on their journeys and aspirations. Oftentimes, supplier diversity and sustainability strategies go hand in hand. The lens is expanding, and businesses are realizing the necessity in investing and developing new suppliers.

Next, they discuss a topic which is still intimidating for many: diversity spend goals. As diversity is becoming more important, organizations have set ambitious targets for diversity spend and growth in coming years. The target isn’t completely impossible as long as company’s actions stay true to their proposed intention. Additionally, there is expected to be more growth of tools and support to aid organizations in supplier discovery. Thus, companies will likely have more options to assist these groups.

When thinking about diverse suppliers, it all comes down to relationships. Tarun points out that supplier diversity spend doesn’t necessarily have to increase year to year, so companies should be comfortable allowing fluctuation. In closing, they reiterate there are many ways to approach this goal in a reasonable way. It’s often easier and more effective to make small goal points to achieve over time.

As the episode ends, Tarun shares his speculations for the upcoming few years. He hopes organizations will stay as committed to these causes as they are now and stick to their goals. Finally, he shares additional values companies may adapt to with impact at the forefront.


  • :59 – Laura introduced herself and her guest, Tarun Puri.
  • 1:10 – How is the supplier landscape evolving?
  • 5:12 – How are companies implementing these goals?
  • 9:10 – On what scale are these programs being considered?
  • 16:45 – Diversity spending goals.
  • 22:30 – Reliance on supplier diversity practices.
  • 25:23 – What will supplier diversity look like in the near future?