Intel is one of the world’s biggest technology brands and continues to produce innovative products that advance the tech space as we know it.
Arguably more impressive, though, is Intel’s commitment to a positive global impact with their RISE Strategy. RISE is an effort to create a more responsible, inclusive, and sustainable world enabled through technology and collective actions.
This strategy is just one of many reasons that diverse suppliers, like VMG Studios, are eager to partner with leading companies.
While VMG Studios isn’t a tier 1 supplier, we have found a lot of parallels to Intel’s mission and values. We’ve also been impressed, specifically, with their commitment to supplier diversity and inclusion. Tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers are explained later in this interview.
Due to, ultimately, an eradication of all in-person networking opportunities this year, we wanted to connect with the supplier diversity team at Intel to learn more about how they’re pivoting to support diverse suppliers.
We were fortunate enough to sit down (over a video conferencing platform, of course) with Intel’s Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager, TJ Jackson, to get a better understanding of how to navigate the program as a diverse supplier including best practices for communication and presentations.
Overview of Intel’s Supplier Diversity Program
Intel’s Supplier Diversity & Inclusion program began in 2015 and continues to grow and exceed its own ambitious goals. One of the program’s goals was to spend 1 billion dollars annually with diverse suppliers by the end of 2020. They hit that milestone a year early, in 2019, where Intel spent 1.02 billion dollars. Diverse-owned suppliers may end up working directly with Intel as tier 1 suppliers or in a tier 2 capacity.
To put that in context, Intel spent greater than 295 million dollars on diverse suppliers in 2015 when the program first started. That’s a 246% increase in spending in just 4 years.
As a certified woman-owned business, ourselves, we were excited to see that in 2019, Intel spent 279 million dollars with women-owned companies, exceeding their goal of 200 million dollars one year early as well.
Intel recognizes certified diverse suppliers in several categories – women, minority, veteran/service-disabled, LGBT, and diverse-abled – and lists examples of industry-recognized certification agencies, such as WBENC, on its website.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 Suppliers: What’s the Difference?
Intel, along with several other enterprise-level corporations, flags their suppliers as either tier 1 or tier 2 which are defined as such:
- Tier 1 supplier: a company (diverse or not) who is awarded a contract for work directly from another company
- Tier 2 supplier: a company (diverse or not) who is awarded a contract by a Tier 1/prime supplier
For example, VMG Studios has produced creative content for Intel as a tier 2 supplier in partnership with another agency. So, Intel hired that other agency as their tier 1 supplier who then brought VMG on board as a tier 2.
Being a tier 2 supplier is a good steppingstone to a working relationship with any enterprise-level corporation and there is opportunity to become a tier 1 supplier.
Registering as a Diverse Supplier for Intel
Intel recognizes “how do I become a supplier” as one of their frequently asked questions and addresses the process online.
Step one is applying at Intel’s Prospective Supplier Application Portal.
It’s important to note, according to Intel’s website, that registering does not imply a contract, nor does it constitute a guarantee of future business with Intel. It’s simply a place to organize prospective suppliers in a database. This can include industry information, certifications, accomplishments, and resources such as VMG’s explainer video or a capabilities presentation.
Pro tip: audit your profile occasionally to ensure you have relevant and updated resources and work examples in your profile. Jackson says they monitor the supplier portal on a quarterly basis, so it’s important to keep your profile fresh and accurately representative of recent accomplishments.
Communication Best Practices for Intel
When it comes to securing a meeting or keeping in contact about possible opportunities within Intel, navigating the prospective supplier portal is the best avenue. However, there are opportunities for more one-on-one communication with Jackson, himself.
This one-on-one communication was more common practice following events and conferences which are now either canceled or switching to virtual/digital models. With that said, facilitating relationships and remaining top of mind is still important to help your business find appropriate opportunities.
When talking about what emails capture his attention, Jackson said it’s the companies whose, “Services are either unique or innovative.” He added that an email may also spark interest based on serendipitous timing such as an upcoming RFP (request for proposal) that aligns with your business offerings. Also, ensure that your core competencies align with Intel business.
In general, Jackson suggests that you stay connected with your contact for that supplier on some reasonable cadence.
He also stresses the importance of “developing yourself” and finding new innovative solutions in which your business could support Intel. If you do find a “breakthrough,” as Jackson puts it, he says that can warrant a follow-up email outside of a normal follow-up cadence.
How to Successfully Pitch to Intel
Upon securing a meeting with Intel’s supplier diversity team, it’s important to make an impact in order to compete. Jackson said, “what I find personally effective is to have a dynamic capabilities presentation.
When asked about successful capabilities presentations, Jackson said suppliers should be equipped with the ABCs:
“That’s what captures my attention because I don’t always have time to weed through everything. Get to the point, let me know what’s unique about your business, and how you can add value to Intel,” Jackson said.
When at matchmaker sessions or pitch competitions, he said he’s interested in learning how your products or services can support Intel’s mission.
“You don’t win because you’re diverse, you win because you can compete,” said Jackson.
Part of competing and recognizing the value your company could add to Intel is through research and understanding Intel’s processes.
“If you have considerable experience around Intel’s architecture, that captures my attention,” said Jackson.
This could include tier 2 suppliers who have done work for Intel before but are looking to break through as a tier 1 supplier and secure direct business.
Suppliers can find out more about Intel’s Supplier Diversity and Inclusion program via their website. Also, the supplier.intel.com site provides a wealth of information including resources and the Corporate Responsibility at Intel report.
Moving Forward with Intel’s Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Program
As a company that’s still navigating the uncertainty that 2020 has brought thus far (like many others), it gives us peace of mind to know that enterprise-level corporations like Intel remain committed to supplier diversity. In fact, they announced a new goal for 2030 in their recent CSR report to double their commitment.
The biggest takeaways when it comes to navigating Intel’s program include submitting an application to the prospective supplier portal, finding opportunities through various channels, and keeping your company information fresh and up to date including a dynamic capabilities presentation.
Something that also really resonated with us when we met with Jackson was his advice on keeping the ABCs – accuracy, brevity, and clarity – in mind when it comes to your messaging and pitches.
If you need help with the ABCs through a capabilities PowerPoint presentation or explainer video, as an experienced creative marketing and branding agency that specializes in video, animation, and design, VMG Studios is here to help.
Learn more about navigating supplier diversity at enterprise-level corporations here: