Plastics processors are among a large group of manufacturers that can benefit by diversifying their supply base with companies owned by women and minorities, according to an official with consumer and medical products giant Johnson & Johnson.
We need diverse suppliers to remain competitive with our peers, said Veronica Manuel-Gilbert, corporate manager of supplier diversity for New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J.
Manuel-Gilbert spoke at the Plastics in Medical Devices conference, held April 12-14 in Westlake.
J&J rang up sales of almost $62 billion in 2009, with almost 40 percent of that total coming from medical devices and diagnostics.
Manuel-Gilbert pointed out that the U.S. has undergone a demographic shift in the last 50 years. Although almost 75 percent of U.S. residents identified themselves as white in 1995, that number is expected to be under 50 percent by 2050.
Diverse and small businesses are driving the economy, Manuel-Gilbert said. We need to grow jobs and wealth in minority communities. [Those communities] need access to care these are customers that need our products.
She added that women are an important and influential market force and that women business owners are very active in financial decisions.
Manuel-Gilbert had several suggestions for Tier 1 suppliers, including bringing diverse suppliers into partnerships or joint ventures for direct-spending opportunities with your customers. Tier 1 suppliers also can talk to customers about potential matches and mentor and develop strong diverse manufacturers that can support them as well as their customers.
If you look for opportunities, you might be able to differentiate what you offer to your customers, she said.
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