Driving Diversity Through the Supply Chain


Advance, grow and sustain the Supplier Diversity (SD) Program.


IBM’s integrates SD through the supply chain with a first truly Global SD Program with initiatives that drive its success. The 1st tier initiative requires that all RFQ/RFPs worldwide include a diverse supplier ensuring that diverse-owned businesses are given equal opportunity to compete for IBM business. Upcoming RFQs/RFPs are reviewed before being issued to ensure diverse supplier inclusion. With a ‘no exclusion’ policy, IBM’s program applies to everything that IBM procures externally enforced by a stringent Exception Process requiring the SD Program Director’s approval. 

The 2nd tier initiative requires that 1st tier suppliers have an SD program, expend funds with diverse suppliers and report results. This initiative was recently strengthened requiring suppliers to provide 2nd tier data across all global geographies and 170+ countries in which we operate. This was done to increase opportunities to diverse suppliers as we drive diversity through the supply chain.

IBM has a robust management system to monitor performance against goals to assist in advancing, growing, and sustaining our program. Goals are established annually, performance is reviewed by executives including the Chief Procurement Officer. SD responsibility is placed on the entire supply chain organization. This practice drives the corporate SD requirements ensuring that it is not an individual department objective.


IBM became the first IT company inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable and continually exceeds annual goals. In 2016, we had $2.6B in 1st and 2nd tier spend compared to a $2.1B goal.


Lindsay-Rae McIntyre


IBM thinks about diversity the way we think about innovation—both are essential to the success of our business. When we innovate, technology becomes smarter for clients and creates new opportunities for growth. When we incorporate diversity into our business, we create better innovations and outcomes. IBM has embraced diversity, and it gives opportunities for IBMers and our clients to achieve their full potential.

Ginni Rometty
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer
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