Supplier Diversity: Bringing Unique Perspectives to Complex Challenges

For any company today, maintaining a competitive edge increasingly depends on tapping a wide variety of resources and assets.  Businesses can no longer rely on a single set of approaches.  Diversity and inclusion are imperative in building both an effective workforce and a robust supply chain. 

Diverse thinking and perspectives lead to a far richer source of solutions to the complex challenges our customers and nation face. To that end, in GFY 2012, Lockheed Martin has awarded $6.3 billion in contracts to small businesses and businesses classified as diverse.  This amounts to over 29 percent of our awards for the year.

We have put diversity at the foundation of our approach to supply chain management because this creates a win-win situation for everyone involved.  Supplier diversity boosts job creation and is beneficial to the overall economy by offering opportunities to businesses owned by minorities, women, veterans and people living in disadvantaged areas.  For Lockheed Martin, it means a larger pool of innovative ideas that no business can afford to overlook.                                    

Our commitment to promoting supplier diversity also has a natural synergy with the nature of our customers and programs. For instance, we have forged particularly strong relationships with businesses owned by those who served in the military. This year, the National Veteran-Owned Business Association named Lockheed Martin one of the ten best U.S. corporations for working with veteran-owned companies.

One of those businesses, Crowley Fabricating and Machining Company, based in Endicott, NY, is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business.  Earlier this year, Crowley joined Lockheed Martin in a program that assists small businesses to compete more effectively for Department of Defense (DoD) contracts and subcontracts. Established in 1991, the DoD Mentor-Protégé program has helped companies like Crowley bring their expertise into the supply chain of larger contractors.  Currently, Crowley is producing components for Lockheed Martin’s MH-60 maritime helicopter.

“At Lockheed Martin, ‘we never forget who we’re working for’ is more than a slogan – and the Supplier Diversity organization lives this motto every day in its engagements with service-disabled and other veteran-owned businesses,” said Nancy Deskins, Lockheed Martin Director of Category Management & Supplier Diversity. The latest manifestation of this motto is Supplier Wire-a new Supplier Diversity section on our website that features a dedicated area for veteran-owned businesses that want to work with Lockheed Martin. 

Deskins added that working with a diverse set of suppliers gives Lockheed Martin a competitive edge in delivering high-quality and affordable products to our customers.

We are consistently recognized for our commitment to supplier diversity.  In 2012, for the seventh consecutive year, Lockheed Martin was selected as one of "America’s Top Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities’’ by

Benefits of the Mentor Protege Program

The Mentor Protégé Program fosters the establishment of business relationships between protégés, mentors and the customer.  Program benefits include the following:

  • Builds strategic partner relationships
  • Enhances technical capabilities of mentor and protégé
  • Allows for awarding of non-competitive subcontracts / purchase orders to the protégé
  • Provides for faster insertion of new technology to the customer
  • Expands base of innovative and qualified small businesses
  • Increases accomplishment of small business program goals
  • Establishes qualified sources at more competitive prices
  • Allows for potential joint venture opportunities

For more information about the Mentor Protégé Program click here.