From The Outside-In

Image of Sourcing Management

SIG University  Certified Sourcing Professional  (CSP) program graduate Tracie Ninh shares an outside perspective for integrating the best sourcing practices into your team.

I am not a sourcing manager, nor have I ever been. I have never set up a bid, negotiated a contract, or put together an agreement myself. But I have much experience working with sourcing as an €œoutsider, € and the CSP course helped me better understand what sourcing organizations do.
Why do I consider myself an €œoutsider € even though I ‘ve always worked with sourcing? Before BNY Mellon, I worked with corporations and their sourcing organizations to build and integrate sustainable sourcing strategies into their processes. I began in the ethical and responsible sourcing field at a nonprofit organization based in New York City, managing one of the world ‘s leading workplace social certification programs.
After that, I moved on to a consulting firm as a responsible sourcing manager. In both capacities, I worked alongside corporations helping them manage and improve their sourcing practices to ensure their global supply chain meets social and environmental laws, norms, and mores. Currently managing the Supplier Diversity Program at BNY Mellon in the sourcing organization, I ‘m working with the Global Head of Supplier Diversity to integrate practices to include diverse suppliers in our supply chain.  
First integrating sustainable strategies and now integrating diverse supplier inclusion strategies, you can see even by the word chosen to describe what I do ( €œintegrate €) that I am an outsider because these strategies were not part of the sourcing processes, to begin with. It could be that these programs and methods did not exist when the sourcing organization was first formed or were not prioritized.
Additionally, sustainability and supplier diversity is often sidelined as €œnice-to-haves € (as are many Corporate Social Responsibility/Environmental, Social, and Governance programs), so they ‘re often overlooked and are the first to go when budgets are scrutinized only to become a priority when it is a hot topic or when the company is under pressure from the media and regulators.  
What I ‘ve been trying to do in each position I held was to create processes and resources that are fully integrated into a sourcing organization so that if the person managing the sustainability or supplier diversity program were ever to leave the company (for whatever reason), the sourcing organization is still set up to maintain the program. So, although I consider myself an €œoutsider, € my absolute end goal is to change the sourcing process so that my specific position might not need to exist because sustainability and supplier diversity are part of a sourcing manager ‘s everyday process. I do admit it ‘s a lofty goal that doesn ‘t bode well for many people, but it makes sense when you work in these fields.
Taking the CSP course was an essential step in my professional development, and the Sourcing Business Models and the Sourcing Wheels were my two most valuable takeaways. Going through the business models and delving deeper into each segment of the sourcing wheel helped me understand better what my sourcing colleagues do and the steps they take for every project they take on.
Throughout the weeks, I would ask myself: how can supplier diversity tactics be included in the business models and the sourcing wheel so that my colleagues do not have to think of it as an extra thing they have to do? What resources and training do I need to provide so that our sourcing managers see supplier diversity as an integral part of their project lifecycle and not a box to check later?  
Lastly, the entire sourcing organization at BNY Mellon has taken or will be taking this CSP course and applying the knowledge throughout our business €œtransformation. € This assures that no matter our experience or background in sourcing, we have a foundation of knowledge through the SIG program and can €œspeak € the same sourcing language. I have found this very useful for creating supplier diversity training referencing the parts of the Sourcing Wheel.
My manager and I recently developed training on Sourcing Strategies for Diverse Supplier Inclusion. This training referenced how supplier diversity can be integrated into the €œAssess € and €œAnalyze € segments of the sourcing wheel.  
In the future, I hope sourcing training programs will fully integrate sustainability and supplier diversity information throughout the curriculum as these topics prove to be an indelible part of a company ‘s operations.  

The  Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) Program  is a 10-week course that focuses on the hard and soft skills of sourcing, including strategic sourcing and outsourcing methodologies, as well as best practices in negotiations.

Tracie Ninh

Tracie Ninh

Vice President Supplier Diversity Specialist, BNY Mellon

Tracie Ninh is the Vice President, Supplier Diversity Specialist at BNY Mellon based in New York City. Supplier diversity is a critical component of BNY Mellon's Corporate Social Responsibility, Diversity and Inclusion, and Community Reinvestment approach. Our mission is to transform and integrate supplier diversity into our sourcing process by providing outreach, guidance, and procurement opportunities to businesses owned and operated by women and minorities, LGBTQs, veterans and service-disabled veterans, people with disabilities, and small businesses.</p> <p>As our world, our business, and client mix changes, it is increasingly important that our colleagues have access to the best and brightest diverse business community to support our growth, and that we support the local communities in which we operate by creating relationships with these suppliers and key advocacy organizations.</p> <p>Ms. Ninh's background is in responsible and sustainable supply chains, working with companies to ensure their supply chains meet social (human rights) and environmental requirements.