“I founded Dental Diversity and Inclusion Alliance because many dental groups and companies often lack the resources, experience, or personnel to develop an effective and sustainable DEI strategy that can be incorporated into their company’s ecosystem. I appreciate working with Method because they are impacting the future of dental procurement and meeting the needs of today’s dental workforce with values of efficiency, transparency, and collaboration.“
- Kristine Berry, Founder and Principal of DDIA
When diversity, equity, and inclusion actions are half-backed or underdeveloped strategies are implemented, they often do more harm than good. By partnering with Dental Diversity and Inclusion Alliance, you can give your dental clients an outcome-oriented understanding of DEI and a foundation of actionable interventions- all while creating a triple win.
We offer DEI Assessment and Strategy projects, Trainings, Expert Consulting, and Speaking to help your organization go beyond good vibes and make vision driven, accountable and sustainable progress on achieving DEI.
A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion assessment coupled with findings and recommendations are foundational to your company developing a strategy and implementation plan. No matter where you are on the DEI Continuum, you will be prepared to partner with internal and external resources to guide the implementation of practical DEI interventions with a plan that aligns with your organization’s values, mission, vision, and business pillars.
Unfreeze Dental Ordering: Supplier Diversity in the Dental Profession
As a dental professional, you can be crucial in advancing diverse products, services, and business solutions, creating a more inclusive and equitable dental profession. Supplier diversity is not a new performance indicator. It is a part of the strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion operational plan that ensures a diverse supplier base participates in procurement.
What is Supplier Diversity?
Supplier and business diversity is an organizational strategy that ensures the sourcing of products and services from a wide range of vendors and supports sustainable procurement by including minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQIA+- owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, and or historically underutilized businesses. It utilizes a broader mix of suppliers and businesses to meet your ordering needs and develops a procurement process that mirrors your patient base. Like any organizational system, it requires setting goals and ensuring accountability, involving all suppliers and businesses. It does not equate to lowering standards for quality and safety.
Why is Supplier Diversity Important to Dental Service Organizations?
Competitive advantages exist for dental practices and organizations integrating supplier diversity into their supply chain software, ordering processes, and vendor pools; these include:
- Enhancing the organization's image and brand
- Improving the procurement process to be transparent and honest
- Forcing non-diverse suppliers and businesses to be more competitive
- Engaging dental dealers in Tier 2 product portfolios
- Bringing in expanded ideas and flexibility
- Attract and retain new patients and employees.
A company's investment in its supplier diversity program reflects its commitment to being a socially responsible and progressive business. For instance, socially responsible business practices appeal to a broad market of patients and employees interested in supporting or working for companies making a positive impact. For example, DSOs and dental practices can attract socially conscious patients and employees.
In recent years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become a significant factor in attracting and retaining employees. CSR refers to a company's voluntary actions that improve society's and the environment's well-being. Employees are increasingly interested in working for companies committed to social responsibility. According to a study by Cone Communications, 64% of millennials say they will only take a job if a potential employer has strong CSR values, and 75% say they would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company.
A study by Net Impact found that 53% of employees said a job that makes a social or environmental impact is essential to their happiness. Furthermore, employees who work for socially responsible companies report higher job satisfaction and engagement. Additionally, employees who feel that their company is socially responsible are more likely to be loyal and stay with the company longer. Dental practices prioritizing social responsibility can attract and retain top talent, create a positive work environment, and differentiate themselves in their communities.
However, some supplier diversity efforts fail due to an ill-defined or nonexistent procurement platform or processes and a "frozen middle."
The frozen middle is the current people ordering supplies who say no, no, no to change or efficiency efforts. They do what was always done and order the same way they have always ordered and even the same products and services. People currently in supplier management or who do dental practice orders may need to be trained to be inclusive in their buying practices because they have inherited these responsibilities with little or no guidance or training.
What’s happening right now concerning ordering supplies is that there are better solutions to spend management, procurement return on investment, and inventory management. The “frozen” procurement person either lacks awareness of the better solutions, doesn’t have the position or power to make a change, or doesn’t know what they don’t know. What we all need to do is unfreeze the ordering process. How? One strategy is partnering with a dental-specific supply platform, for example, Method Procurement, https://www.methodusa.com/spend-management. Method Procurement allows you to efficiently manage your supplies, inventory, purchases, and budget with little team members’ time or effort. Implementing an online platform will increase your team’s productivity and melt away any change resistance.
Partnering with the right dental online procurement program and setting specific purchasing goals is crucial to successfully launching or improving a supplier program. Utilizing purchasing software for dental supply tracking can include a diverse supplier program. Once implemented, it will continue to give you a return on investment during economic downturns, employee turnover, change-resistant team members, or whatever the pushback is to have an easy-to-navigate product platform and standard procedures for dental spend management.
The keys to launching or streamlining a supplier diversity program are like any other effort worth doing. It will take up-leveling mindsets, commitment, and partnering with a procurement platform like Method. Yet, the result will impact your organization and its bottom line. You can positively influence the communities where you practice by creating jobs through diverse suppliers and stimulating local economic development.
Kristine Berry Bio:
Kristine Berry MSEC, CDE® (She/Her) is a strategic operation mentor who provides diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory services to DSOs, dental groups, and any space seeking to create a DEI ecosystem to transform operations, advance the customer experience, and cultivate a workplace of equity and belonging. She is an author, an international speaker, and a White Affinity Group facilitator. If you want to shorten your timeline in implementing a DEIB strategy or a speaker on the topic, please visit www.dentaldiversityandinclusionalliance.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Porter, K. K. (2022). Supplier Diversity for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: A Wiley Brand.
The Institute for Diversity. (2018). CDE Exam Study Guide. TX: The Society of Diversity Inc.