Expert: “Greater Inclusion and Diversity Can Change Everything, Including Both Supplier and Supply Chain Resilience”

In this exclusive video chat, Tami Froese explains how Zebra’s inclusive procurement practices have improved outcomes for the company, its customers and global communities – and how they can be replicated by others for the benefit of all.

Three women sit at a table reviewing plans
by Natalie Bodus
June 29, 2021

What does it mean to build a truly inclusive and diverse supply chain? According to Zebra’s Vice President of Global Procurement, Tami Froese, it means giving small and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) a chance to grow – and growing alongside them. No matter the origins of a company, every business deserves the opportunity to thrive and be represented. Plus, embracing the unique backgrounds, practices, resources and expertise of diverse businesses provides real stability across supply chains.

“A Diverse Supply Chain is a Network of Dreamers, Doers, and Discoverers.”

Market volatility has been a concern for decades, and it does not always take a large-scale event such as a pandemic to shock the supply chain to a standstill – or at least a months-long delay. Everyday stressors can build, and the more diverse the network, the stronger it can become. That’s why manufacturers, distributors, retailers and others have been talking about supply chain diversification for as long I can remember. If a factory goes offline or a single ship is stuck in the middle of a transport channel for days on end, companies must be able to shift gears to minimize the impact on customers and end users.  

Yet, eagerly seeking partnerships with women, minority, LGBTQ+ and veteran-owned businesses in addition to small businesses is about far more than merely expanding your sourcing pool to ensure you can always secure the goods needed to execute your business and meet customer expectations.  

Prioritizing inclusion and diversity in the supply chain is the best way to create a network of passion, pride and resilience. Many underrepresented and underutilized entities are leading with a customer-center approach to production and fulfillment that is making a positive impact on communities across the globe. These small and disadvantaged businesses have skills, talents and ideas that can shape our supply chains to be better than ever before – and they are eager to step up and help others. Supply chains that harness this passion and champion the underdogs are better positioned to succeed, even in the most trying times.  

That is why I asked Tami to join me for our latest vlog episode. She is a staunch advocate for supplier diversification and can attest to the resilience gained – by both suppliers and entire supply chains – when an authentic effort is made to be inclusive. Listen to our 12-minute conversation now to learn more about: 

  • how the need for authentic diversification and inclusion in supply chains has grown in recent months and the key drivers for greater equality in sourcing actions.
  • how Zebra’s long-term commitment to inclusion and diversity has impacted our own supply chain structure and overall corporate functions.
  • the specific actions Zebra’s cross-functional team is taking to grow the company’s supplier diversity program.
  • the changes all companies can make to create more inclusive, agile, and resilient supply chains. 
  • how companies can work more collaboratively to ensure greater opportunities – and equal opportunities – exist for suppliers of all sizes and backgrounds in both local and global supply chains.  
Natalie Bodus
Natalie Bodus is Zebra's Senior Director of Inclusion and Diversity and Employer Brand. She and her team are focused on ensuring that all employees are seen, heard, valued, and respected.
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