AT&T* has been listed as one of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) in recognition of its efforts to include women-owned business in its supply chain as well as help them succeed in securing contracts from other large corporations.
This is the 12th consecutive year that the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has recognized AT&T in its annual ranking. AT&T is only one of three U.S. companies to have received the award every year since its inception. WBENC is the leading advocate for the inclusion of women as suppliers and vendors to the nation's corporations.
“We are both honored and encouraged by the WBEN’s recognition over the past 12 years of our efforts to bring women-owned suppliers to our chain,” said Tim Harden, president, AT&T Supply Chain and Fleet Operations. “Diversity in our supply chain is simply how we choose to do business. Women owned firms provide solutions in every part of business and we wouldn’t be successful in the marketplace without them,” he added.
AT&T’s efforts to expand its spend with women-owned businesses is part of its Global Supplier Diversity initiative. Since it began in 1968, AT&T has spent more than $59 billion with diversity suppliers. Despite recent times of economic change, AT&T has increased diversity spend more than $3 billion in the past two years. AT&T has an aggressive target of purchasing 21.5 percent of its total procurement from diversity suppliers—one of the highest supplier diversity spending targets nationally.
In 2010 AT&T spent $3.2 billion with women business enterprises, more than six percent of its total purchasing. In addition, AT&T works to develop women-owned businesses for success. Last year, AT&T graduated seven minority-women owned companies from its Women of Color Businesses Growth Initiative. This rigorous year-long program helped those businesses develop the tools and expertise to win large corporate contracts. Mentoring and coaching, TL9000 quality certification webinars and other activities helped participants prepare for operating effectively within a global supply chain. The program also focused on incorporating cutting-edge technology to improve business operations, removing defects and increasing customer satisfaction.
With the new AT&T Women Entrepreneurial Forum, more than 30 women business leaders collaborate and identify future business requirements and emerging communication needs and trends. And, through AT&T’s quarterly ‘Meet the Primes’ Matchmaker events, WBEs are strategically matched with other corporations in one-on-one meetings to find business opportunities. Last year AT&T introduced 186 diverse firms to 21 of its prime suppliers, resulting in several signed contracts and over a hundred continuing business leads.
AT&T is one of the original members of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a supplier diversity think tank where only 17 corporations qualify nationally. AT&T was also recently named Corporation of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council for its sustained supplier diversity leadership and world class programming.