Opportunities abound at Honda Partnership Network event
Honda North America’s Purchasing Procurement Diversity group hosted its second annual Honda Partnership Network event Tuesday, designed to create business opportunities for minority- and women-based enterprises within its supply chain.
During this day-long event, Honda matched up some of its Tier 1 suppliers with women- and minority-based companies that possess the capabilities to help those Tier 1 companies meet their business needs. Honda began this program to foster discussion between companies. Last year, 22% of the companies quoted business based on the event and of those, 37% were awarded business.
This event is another example of Honda’s ongoing commitment to expanding business opportunities throughout its supply chain. Honda realizes the power of diversity and inclusion throughout its operations and believes that the key to future success begins with bringing together different ideas and perspectives to create innovation.
“Whether you are a Tier 1 or an MBE, this process takes time and effort, said Tom Lake, Vice President of Purchasing and Cost Planning. “This is where the concept of inclusion is so important. Inclusion is about forging relationships that go two ways.”
This commitment wasn’t lost on the Tier 1 suppliers. They were energized throughout the day and eager to be seeking new business.
“I like the format. I’ve already met with eight people,” said Chris Beall, senior buyer for Pioneer Automotive Technologies, a Honda Tier 1 supplier of audio systems. “This will absolutely benefit us. We are always looking for ways to increase our business with minority suppliers.”
Activities like this have helped Honda reach a significant milestone, spending more than $3 billion with diverse suppliers annually. In total, Honda’s supply chain has grown to include more than 2,000 diverse companies in part due to the efforts of the Tier 1 suppliers.
“I want to acknowledge the hard work and focused efforts of our purchasing and procurement diversity teams that helped us reach this level,” said Executive Vice President Rick Schostek. “This $3 billion in spend translates to over 10 percent of our total purchasing … which puts us at the very top tier of our industry.”
Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty was also in attendance and she echoed the need for these types of business opportunities.
Beatty brought her usual brand of energy and personality to the event. She shared a story about how early in her career, she was mistaken for a server at a business event by a male colleague and asked for a cup of coffee. Instead of correcting him, she delivered the coffee.
“I will never forget the look on that man’s face when I called the meeting to order and asked, ‘Would anyone like some black coffee?” she said.
But at the end of the day, the HPN event is about creating opportunities and there were many MBE and WBE suppliers who left the convention center to get started on new partnerships.
“It was very beneficial,” said Ellen Chendra, an owner of AutoElectros who attended the event. “All the speeches were wonderful. I stayed until the end and talked to suppliers who weren’t on my list.”
Chendra, whose company supplies MRO parts, said, “I can’t wait until next year.”
The HPN event in downtown Columbus was attended by more than 285 MBE and WBEs, as well as 74 Tier 1 Suppliers.