Championing a diverse supply chain allows businesses and organisations to support our local communities to financially grow and prosper. This was a key theme at the inaugural Diversity Works New Zealand Foundation Members’ series event, held last month in partnership with Westpac and Air New Zealand. Westpac Head of Procurement Rob Halsall, Air New Zealand General Manager Procurement Chloe Surridge, Pacific Business Trust CEO Kim Tuaine and Tū Māia Partner Sacha McMeeking were guest speakers at the breakfast. Some of the important points they shared included:
- A diverse supply chain is part of being a responsible business and supercharging New Zealand’s success socially, economically and environmentally.
- Businesses need to understand their supply chain - data is key. It’s not enough to know what you spend, or who you spend it with; organisations also need to understand the diversity within that supply chain
- It is possible to support diversity in New Zealand even if you have a large, complex, multi-tiered supply chain. But it requires patience, working with global suppliers to ensure they understand what your organisation is trying to achieve locally and peeling back the layers of your supply chain to see where the community is being supported.
- Procurement is a way to address the economic disparities between our Maori and Pacific Island communities and the rest of New Zealand.
- By using their buying power, organisations can give financial independence to small businesses in these communities and fundamentally transform the lives of their people.
Air New Zealand and Westpac have been working together to share knowledge on the best ways to create a diverse supply chain but say they are still in the early stages of the process.
Westpac’s Head of Maori, Inclusion and Diversity Fonteyn Moses-Te Kani says,” It’s not a race, it’s a journey and we want everyone to come along. If people don’t start, others won’t join.”
The bank’s Head of Procurement Rob Halsall shared details of the survey the organisation has undertaken to capture data on the size and regional spread of its supply chain, along with the diversity classifications they identify with.
This data will enable Westpac to start recording spend by supply classification and location and explore where greater diversity can be fostered and connectivity created within the supply chain.
Air New Zealand General Manager Procurement Chloe Surridge discussed the challenges of working within a complex, highly regulated, multi-tiered supply chain. She also presented a case study of how the airline procurement team has worked for more than a year on an initiative in Gisborne to allow Ngati Porou to partner with LSG Sky Chefs, the global company that supplies Air New Zealand’s onboard catering.
“If we can create better, deeper partnerships in the regions, it can only help us to help our communities,” she said.
Moses-Te Kani says the work benefits all parties. Direct access to Māori, Iwi or Pasifika business expertise creates financial wins for the corporate organisations, who also gain from having a supply chain that reflects the community it serves. The suppliers get access to information and mentoring from the exposure to senior leaders in the procurement industry, as well as the opportunity to set up a business partnership.
“We can also share our corporate spend with the community through sponsorships, internships and cadetships. All these ‘ships’ are used to deepen our relationships so ultimately we are all travelling on the ship that is the most enduring of all, friendship,” says Moses-Te Kani.