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June/July 2014

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Supplier Diversity

Ingersoll Rand’s SD program gains momentum

“Ingersoll Rand is committed to supplier diversity, and we are in it for the long haul,” says the supplier diversity manager


Supplier diversity at Ingersoll Rand is young, but continuing to grow.

This diversified industrial manufacturer, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, kicked off its supplier diversity program in 2012. The company’s brands include American Standard, Club Car, Ingersoll Rand, Thermo King and Trane. Its products address quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings, transport of food and perishables, and industrial productivity.

“Supplier diversity connects us to our marketplace in unique ways. Our customers are asking for it. It drives competition in the supply chain by unleashing innovation and driving costs down,” says Jackie LaJoie, supplier diversity manager. “Supplier diversity also builds economic viability in the communities where we work and live.”

Strategic relationships
“At Ingersoll Rand, one of the ways we promote our progressive, diverse and inclusive culture is through strategic relationships with minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses,” says LaJoie. “The inclusion of both large and small diverse-owned businesses in our supply chain enhances our marketplace connectivity by providing a broader understanding of the needs of our customers.”

About 5 percent of the company’s U.S. procurement dollars are spent with diverse suppliers, according to LaJoie. “We have experienced year-over-year increases since launching this initiative and are projecting sustainable growth in the next five years.”

Ingersoll Rand uses databases to locate suppliers, including those provided by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC). The company also attends conferences across the United States that focus on minority, women and veteran-owned suppliers. “There our procurement associates can meet potential suppliers face-to-face,” LaJoie says.

“We also solicit bids through our online sourcing tools,” she adds. Suppliers can review Ingersoll Rand’s supplier requirements and register with the company’s supplier diversity database at ingersollrand.com/supplier.

“Our team has a comprehensive process to determine if a prospective diverse supplier is a good fit for Ingersoll Rand,” says LaJoie. “A visit to the supplier’s website is often our first step, followed by exploratory meetings, site visits, requests for information, and on-site quality assessments. Our commodity managers work directly with each business to determine if they meet our quality standards and business needs.”

Ingersoll Rand prefers that diverse suppliers have third-party certification. Acceptable sources include NMSDC, WBENC, USPAACC, VetBiz, System for Award Management, and any city, state or municipal accreditors.

Woman-owned Bennett Motor Express stays on track
Bennett Motor Express, a unit of Bennett International Group, LLC (McDonough, GA), is an Ingersoll Rand supplier. Bennett International is a logistics, transportation and trucking provider with a number of operating companies. The company’s certifications include SmartWay, C-TPAT, WBENC and ISO 9000.

“At Bennett Motor Express, our in-house technology team has developed a proprietary transportation management system (TMS) that provides flexible and responsive service to our customers,” says Marcia Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Bennett International. “From handling driver dispatch to pay-to-order management and track/trace, our TMS system has evolved for more than fifteen years into a world-class hub for managing customers’ logistics challenges.”

Embedded within the TMS are new technologies that take advantage of online, mobile and third-party interfaces, Taylor says. “Customers can log in to a personalized customer portal on their iPads to track their freight and review prior orders,” she says. “Our team integrates aspects of our customers’ own supply chain management software so we can plug in seamlessly to their process.”

Taylor and her husband, J.D. Garrison, acquired George Bennett Motor Express in 1974 and ran the company together. When Garrison died of a sudden illness in 1981, Taylor had to decide whether to keep the business up and running or close it for good.

“With help from family, friends, colleagues who were industry experts, and God, I have kept Bennett on track, and brought it to where it is today,” she says. “I’m proud to say this year we are celebrating Bennett’s fortieth year in business.”

Forging a mutually beneficial relationship
The relationship between Bennett Motor Express and Ingersoll Rand began sixteen years ago. Bennett initially provided trucking services to Trane. After Ingersoll Rand acquired Trane, Bennett continued to deliver quality service and build trust with the new company.

“Throughout the years, our relationship has flourished and grown. We are proud of the custom solutions we have added into the supply chain based on Ingersoll Rand’s requests,” Taylor says.

“Our fleet of owner-operators based all across the U.S. allows us to service Ingersoll Rand locations nationally,” she continues. “We have positioned a Bennett terminal near the Trane plant in Clarksville, TN. Our facility provides value-added storage and shipping services that supplement Ingersoll Rand’s supply chain.

“This relationship means a lot to Bennett because of the values the companies share: loyalty, commitment and integrity. I look forward to working with Ingersoll Rand for many years to come.”

LaJoie adds, “Ingersoll Rand’s relationship with Bennett Motor Express has proven that a long-term relationship with a top-tier and trusted supplier delivers quality and dependability to our organization.”

Looking to the future
Ingersoll Rand has a phased approach to mentoring suppliers. “In 2013, we awarded a Dartmouth University Tuck Executive Program scholarship to a diverse supplier, and we’ll award two scholarships in 2014,” says LaJoie. “We have also partnered with our quality and development group at Ingersoll Rand to formally mentor one supplier in 2014. As our supplier diversity program matures, we will mentor more suppliers both formally and informally.”

According to LaJoie, the goal of the program is to maximize marketplace connectivity. “Supplier diversity is an integral part of procurement and business processes that enhance competitive strategies and reduce operational costs,” she says. “Ingersoll Rand is committed to supplier diversity, and we are in it for the long haul. We are building a program that is based on world-class best practices and we are excited about the opportunities and potential ahead.”


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