ASCM 2019 Conference Women in Supply Chain Panel

9/20/2019

Wendy Leakeas, VP Supply Chain, ASCM Conference 2019 Women in Supply Chain Panel Discussion

Is your supply chain team diverse? Do you struggle to attract and retain diverse candidates?

At APICS Greater Detroit our mission is to foster the advancement of end-to-end supply chain management through the sharing of best practices for our local supply chain community.

We recently had the opportunity to hear from an expert panel at the ASCM national 2019 conference on the topic of women in supply chain and championing diversity and inclusion within your enterprise.

Read more for the highlights from the participants.

Why focus on diversity? Per McKinsey & Company's most recent diversity report that includes the statistics below, having a diverse workforce pays off.

  • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 21 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 33 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
  • A positive correlation was found between gender diversity on executive teams with profitability and value creation. Top-quartile companies on executive-level gender diversity worldwide had a 21 percent likelihood of outperforming their fourth-quartile industry peers on EBIT margin, and they also had a 27 percent likelihood of outperforming fourth-quartile peers on longer-term value creation, as measured using an economic-profit (EP) margin.

Having a diverse team is important, yet many companies struggle to achieve this goal. The panel shared thoughts on how their companies worked to improve in this area including:

  1. Be aware of unconscious bias. Everyone typically has some form of unconscious bias. Companies should establish training programs for all levels of employees to help them be more aware and foster an environment that encourages respectful dialogue.
  2. Leadership support is essential. To be most effective, CEOs and presidents need to be supportive of diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives. Sharing the McKinsey & Company statistics on how diversity can help companies improve revenue and EBIT can help show the value to leaders in supporting D&I efforts.
  3. Have D&I goals within the hiring process at all levels. Companies should have D&I goals and then consequences for not achieving them such as reducing incentive pay if leaders don't hit D&I targets.
  4. Establish a sponsorship program. Connect senior leaders with new managers to help promote them throughout their career.

In the SCMNOW, July - Sep 2019 issue, ASCM shared an interview with Jill Marcotte, Chief Supply Chain Officer for Dealer Tire. Jill started her career at General Motors in their forging facility in Detroit. Below is her response on how to get young women interested in supply chain career path sooner.

"Supply chain and STEM career needs are growing, yet the number of young women in these areas continues to be underwhelming. Getting more young women interested in these career paths will help fill the need for more professionals. So how can companies do that?

They can start by partnering with local school sand community organizations to provide role models of women in supply chain careers and give young women exposure to the type of work we do.

Creating fun, interesting extracurricular supply chain-related activities in middle school also can provide insights into potential careers and influence young women to focus on STEM classes in preparation for college.

Supply chain also has a competitive nature: finding solutions, achieving high metrics, being better than the competition, and so on, so I think we should try to appeal to young women who have participated in sports because they are naturally competitive.

From my own perspective, I came from an automotive family, and STEM was highly valued. I was naturally good at math and science, so my family assumed that I would be an engineer. My engineering roots led me to supply chain, and I love it!"

At APICS Greater Detroit we support local supply chain professionals with education and networking opportunities. We are excited to be offering the globally recognized certification class this fall for CLTD (Certified Logistics, Transportation and Distribution) starting on November 7th. CLTD helps participants demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a broad range of supply chain logistics topics, setting them apart from peers. Elevate awareness, professionalism, and knowledge/skills of Logistics, Transportation & Distribution practitioners with a CLTD certification.

APICS Greater Detroit chapter members receive discounts on all certification classes – click here to join today. We look forward to helping you and your organization attract and retain a diverse supply chain workforce!