Sunday, November 23, 2003

Children's seeks more diverse base

Wanted: suppliers owned by minorities, women

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center wants its supplier network to reflect the community it serves. As a result, the health-care organization is increasing its efforts to include local minority- and women-owned businesses in its supplier base.

To accomplish its goal, Children's has contracted with D. Butler Management Consulting - itself a minority- and woman-owned company - to help it identify and connect with such businesses in three key areas.

"Cincinnati Children's procures goods and services in excess of $10 million per year in facilities maintenance, environmental and food services," Tom Kinman, vice president of facilities management for the medical center, said. "Currently, a portion of this business is managed and procured by Sodexho, a first-tier supplier to Cincinnati Children's. Sodexho has certain contracts that it can, in turn, contract out to minority and women-owned businesses."

D. Butler Management will work with Children's, Sodexho and the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce to develop the first- and second-tier supplier network. In addition, the consulting firm will help Cincinnati Children's establish a consortium of skilled trade contractors to perform maintenance work at five non-medical facilities that will be managed by a minority- or woman-owned firm.

The consulting firm was successful in its inclusion efforts for the Great American Ball Park and related projects, exceeding those projects' goals for minority- and women-owned company participation. The parties involved in the Cincinnati Children's initiative anticipate a similar positive outcome.

"This is a model example of a tiered partnership," said De Asa Brown, president of the African American Chamber of Commerce.

"As we gain experience with doing this, we hope to extend it to other areas in the hospital," Kinman said. "This is a serious dive into these waters; we'll see what works."

Children's has a long commitment to provide support to the local community, said Jim Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Children's. "Establishing business relationships with minority- and women-owned firms is key to the prosperity of the communities we serve."

As its first step in identifying potential suppliers, the hospital will host an outreach session for interested businesses. Attendees will learn about the organization's procurement process and have a chance to ask questions of key decision-makers.

"Our goal is to identify local minority and women-owned firms who provide the goods and services procured by facilities management and to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships," Kinman said. "This outreach session is the initial step toward that effort."

The session is scheduled for 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Cincinnati Children's Medical Education & Resource Center Auditorium, 620 Oak St. To register, call D. Butler Management Consulting at 684-0866, or e-mail confirmation to Deadline is Dec. 4.


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