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A billion lives a day: Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to Procurement Citizenship

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By Melissa Lowery

Johnson & Johnson touches more than a billion lives every day through its expansive offering of products and services, from baby wash to skin care, to medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Production on that scale requires an agile supply chain. Success on that scale requires world-class innovation and cutting-edge problem solving. Supplier diversity is a crucial part of both.

“Johnson & Johnson has many iconic brands, but we never forget our responsibility for those billion lives we touch every day,” says Beverly (Bev) Jennings, Johnson & Johnson’s Head, Supplier Diversity & Inclusion. “Our business partners – Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), other diverse and non-diverse businesses – play a critical role in our supply chain in fulfilling that responsibility.”

Decisions throughout the enterprise are guided by “Our Credo”, emblazoned on the wall at company headquarters, all J&J sites worldwide and prominent on the website. Long before the term “corporate social responsibility” was coined, Robert Wood Johnson wrote this guiding document, the “recipe for business success.” In brief, Johnson & Johnson believes that their first responsibility is to patients and users of its products. They believe that their business partners deserve to make a fair profit and that their stockholders realize a fair return. They respect the diversity and dignity of their employees, business partners, and customers. They believe in being a good citizen of the world and benefiting the communities where they operate and serve.

The company’s supplier diversity program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018, a milestone capped off by claiming the #1 spot on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list and #12 for Supplier Diversity, up from #38, earning a perfect score of 100 on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for more than a decade, and being recognized by the National Business Inclusion Consortium as a Best-of-the-Best Corporation for Inclusion for the fourth year in a row.

Jennings is pleased with the recognition that Johnson & Johnson is receiving, viewing awards and recognition as a call to lead by example, and to keep advancing, in the area of supplier diversity.

“We are so proud of those honors and appreciate those who honor us,” Jennings says. “However, it’s more important to take a leadership role in inspiring others to continue to elevate and inspiring ourselves to never rest on our laurels. ‘It takes a village’ in this space of supplier diversity to be able to ultimately help create or sustain jobs, bring value and truly together make a difference in the world.”

Preparing Beyond 2025

The entire Johnson & Johnson enterprise is looking ahead and planning for the shift in demographics in the United States. It is important and a responsibility within Johnson & Johnson to be strategic about representing the emerging population across the board – in suppliers, customers, patients and employees.

Diverse suppliers, or business partners as Johnson & Johnson now refers to them, are a crucial part of serving this rapidly changing demographic. “In 2018, Our Credo language was changed from suppliers to business partners,” Jennings says. “That’s really the way we feel about our suppliers. They are very important to our business because they enable us to provide value to our customers and in the communities where we live and work.”

Johnson & Johnson is a Corporate partner to and works closely with WBENC, WeConnect International, NMSDC, NGLCC, NVBDC, Disability:In and other advocacy groups to support certification of diverse businesses, development of those suppliers and for capacity building. “The role these organizations play in the development of diverse suppliers is so critical,” Jennings says. “We can’t do it alone.”

First and foremost, Johnson & Johnson sees their leadership in the development and growth of diverse suppliers as a Credo responsibility and one on which they are proud to deliver every day. In addition, Johnson & Johnson recognizes that, “Women make over 80 percent of household purchasing decisions,” says Natalie Jaworski, Vice President Procurement Citizenship, “which is imperative to our consumer business.”

The Johnson & Johnson Procurement Citizenship Center of Excellence (“COE”) was first established in 2017 and is responsible for developing world-class programs and partnerships that drive measurable and sustainable benefit for society. “It is extremely important for us to make sure we are always connected to the voice of our consumers and our Johnson & Johnson brands. To that end, we continue to have aggressive goals to grow our spend with WBEs around the world,” says Jaworski.

Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to fueling the success of WBEs was evident at this year’s WBENC Summit & Salute where they supported the new Business Lab, brought their own scientists to demonstrate Neutrogena brand innovative skin health products in an interactive environment and were recognized as a WBENC Platinum Top Corporation for the fourth time.

Mary Fox Donnelly, president and CEO of Encompass Elements, has worked with marketing companies and their end users for over 35 years. She became a certified WBE 17 years ago, at Johnson & Johnson’s request. Since then she’s seen firsthand the benefits of leveraging her certification and the resources available through WBENC at both the national and regional levels.

“Our revenues have increased significantly, since becoming a certified WBE. WBENC provides opportunities to get in front of potential customers. It opens doors, and has served as a catalyst to our business growth. But, as importantly for me, it’s helped me grow as a woman and as a businesswoman,” Fox Donnelly says. “I’m able to meet many influential women and women who can give me great ideas. The friendships and camaraderie of this organization are what I like best.”

Creating Community, Fueling Growth, Good for the Bottom Line

The responsibility to work within the communities Johnson & Johnson serves, and to reflect the customer base, is a core component of the company’s Credo: “We must constantly strive to provide value, reduce our costs and maintain reasonable prices. Customers’ orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our business partners must have an opportunity to make a fair profit. … We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well.”

The Procurement Citizenship COE focuses on bringing a unique blend of corporate social responsibility to the diverse supplier ecosystem. Procurement is responsible for interacting with a supply base of approximately 70,000 suppliers around the world — truly a global community.

“Procurement is evolving beyond delivering savings – although supplier competitiveness is still important,” says Jaworski. “Savings and more value provide us the opportunity to be more competitive with our customers. Supplier diversity fosters inclusion, innovation and helps grow the bottom line. It is truly good for business, enables economic impact and ultimately well-being in society.”

Johnson & Johnson’s world-class Global Supplier Diversity & Inclusion program complements the important responsibility of touching those billion people’s lives every day and impacting communities through Procurement Citizenship. Together, Making a World of Difference.


WBE Stars Succeed with Johnson & Johnson

Three Johnson & Johnson suppliers were recognized as WBENC WBE Stars at the 2019 Summit & Salute gala in Houston.

WBE Star Sushmna Roy JalamSushumna Roy Jalajam, owner of Softpath System, LLC, is a certified women-owned technology consulting and talent management firm. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Softpath focuses on helping customers transform their businesses around their Customer 360 initiatives. “We help [our clients] win the global marketplace.” Softpath has worked with Johnson & Johnson for more than six years.

WBE Star Barbara BoshaBarbara Bosha, president of Bosha Design+Communications, commends Johnson & Johnson for taking a mentorship role with her and giving her opportunities to grow and elevate her business. “The people at Johnson & Johnson have been so supportive of me,” Bosha says. “They treat you as a partner, not a vendor.”

WBE Star Hetal ParikhHetal Parikh, president of Rangam Consultants, specializes in attracting and retaining talent globally for IT, Engineering, Scientific, Clinical, Healthcare, Administrative, Finance, and Business Professional sectors while integrating veterans and individuals with disabilities into the workforce. Rangam has partnered with Johnson & Johnson since 2004, and the experience has had a lasting impact on how the company does business. “Working with J&J taught us an important lesson that has stayed with us to this day: the value of developing a people-centric business model that truly touches the lives of many,” Parikh says. “Today, the work at Rangam impacts a wide range of people globally. Our leadership team constantly pushes the limits and thinks ‘outside the box’ to create new opportunities for business growth, community service and social welfare.”

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.