Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

In an interview by the Black Enterprise, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) senior director of supplier diversity and strategic sourcing Corey Smith explained the new developments from the league’s Baseball Winter Meetings and how diverse suppliers can do business with the MLB.

Smith said that they have set a goal for the MLB and MLB teams to increase their spending with diverse suppliers to 20% over the next five years. They will be focusing on those small businesses owned by veterans, women, blacks, LGBT people, Native American Indians, Asians and Hispanics.

During the meeting, some of the major issues affecting black suppliers were also discussed. These include innovation and business readiness. Smith said business is very important to ensure that potential diverse suppliers can handle a big business like the MLB. They are looking for financial stability and operational excellence in selecting suppliers. Innovation is also important because the league growth areas are in the technology space.

He said they currently have a talented pool of diverse suppliers across their entire business including financial audit companies, consulting firms, communications companies and marketing firms. Some of them were given their first contract this year and some have been with the league for 20 years.

The main challenge for diverse suppliers in getting into the MLB is differentiating themselves from the incumbents who are already providing the same goods or services to the league. It is important for potential suppliers to be unique and innovative, have quality work and great pricing.