Investing in Inclusive Business and Diverse Suppliers

Not only does it benefit our local communities, it also provides a distinct competitive advantage for business

By Quentin Roach, chief procurement officer and senior vice president, Global Supplier Management Group and Global Workplace & Enterprise Services

At Merck, we are committed to diversity and inclusion. We believe it is fundamental to our success.

As such, we strive to foster a culture of inclusion and belonging where all employees feel welcomed and valued — a culture where we regard every individual as a source of competitive advantage in our larger mission of saving and improving lives.

This philosophy doesn’t just stop with whom we hire and advance but also with whom we do business.

One of my main roles as Merck’s chief procurement officer and senior vice president, Global Supplier Management Group and Global Workplace & Enterprise Services, is overseeing our economic inclusion and supplier diversity processes.

Supplier diversity is a business strategy that encourages the use of businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans, persons with disabilities or members of the LGBT community. It also extends to small business owners on a global scale: economic inclusion brings in rural and other relevant business definitions in various countries around the world.

Many may wonder why we work so hard to “cast a wide net” to attract business partners. The simple answer is: it works.

A 2015 study by The Hackett Group states that on average, supplier diversity programs add $3.6 million to the bottom line for every $1 million in procurement operation costs.

Investing in diverse suppliers doesn’t just make economic sense; we believe that it helps grow the economy, create employment opportunities, and make the communities in which we live, work and operate better for all. It also benefits our company to better understand and anticipate the needs of the people we serve. Our patients are not from just one race or religion or nationality or background — we provide for everyone. Our suppliers should reflect the people we are in business to serve... our customers.

Since Merck started this program in 2005, we have seen a tremendous overall growth of our program globally, and in the U.S., in particular, where, in 2017, we achieved membership in the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR) – an organization that recognizes corporations who have been able to achieve $1 billion of annual spend with women-owned (WBE) and minority-owned (MBE) enterprises. Merck is one of 27 companies who have received this status.

While we are proud to be recognized as a leader in the area of supplier diversity, that doesn’t mean we can rest. We look continuously for ways to expand and improve our program and to have greater economic impact around the globe; that’s not just good for our local communities, it’s also good for business.


Read more about Merck’s work in this area.