Federal Contractor, The Boeing Company, Shares Tips with WIPP on Subcontracting

Interview with Boeing Supplier Diversity Manager, Champagne Bell.

  1. Tell us a little about The Boeing Company.

Champagne Bell: Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space, and security systems. As a top U.S. exporter, Boeing supports airlines and provides products and services support to customers in 150 countries. We have global footprint and continue to expand it.

Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training.

  1. How does Boeing work with small businesses?

Champagne Bell: Boeing has contracts with 21,500 suppliers and partners globally and we focus on partnering worldwide for mutual growth and prosperity. Currently, we contribute over $5B to small and diverse businesses annually and Boeing is a part of the Billion Dollar Roundtable (note: an organization that brings together major corporations that make meaningful and measurable contributions to the economic growth of woman-owned and minority-owned companies).

  1. Do you have a supplier diversity program? Can you tell us little more about it?

Champagne Bell: Since 1951, Boeing has had a Supplier Diversity Program in place. In addition, we have also targeted initiatives and one of them focuses on women-owned enterprises.

Our commitment to small and diverse business enables us to manage our businesses and deliver value and solutions where our suppliers, Boeing, and customers win.

We are proud that our Supplier Diversity Program has demonstrated results including:

  • Highest rating from Government customer.
  • Received national industry awards.
  • Dedicated enterprise Supplier Diversity team.
  • Boeing has received recognition from our external and industry partners for its supplier diversity work.
  1. What role do subcontractors play in your government business?

Champagne Bell: Our subcontractors play a critical role on our business and help support our commitment to adhering to DOD Statutory Contracting and Subcontracting Goals.

  1. Do you have any programs to target women owned businesses for subcontracting?

Champagne Bell: Yes. One of our Strategic Initiatives focuses on enhancing relationships with eligible women-owned small businesses to ensure we maintain a viable supply chain of WOSBs to support our businesses.

  1. What are the key qualifications you are looking for among your suppliers/subcontractors?

Champagne Bell: Boeing is looking for suppliers who:

  • Do their homework to fully understand how their products and services can directly benefit Boeing and the solutions we offer our customers.
  • Share our commitment to performance excellence in terms of cost, quality, and delivery.
  • Are financially healthy and are continuously focused on improving affordability and efficiency through Lean operations.
  • Will share their knowledge for how we can all better manage our businesses and deliver value and solutions where our suppliers, Boeing, and customers win.
  • We need suppliers who are looking toward the future with us, applying what we learn together as we continue to invest in technologies that will help us deliver the critical products and services that our customers will demand. We are looking for long-term partnerships.
  1. What would you recommend to WOSBs looking for subcontracting opportunities?

Champagne Bell: To summarize it:

  1. How do you think can ChallengeHER and WOSB program help women-business owners to get into the federal procurement?

Champagne Bell: As mentioned above, we have a strategic initiative which focuses on WOSB suppliers and we believe that the programs like ChallengeHER are helping a lot to encourage women to enter the federal procurement business. It also helps us, the Boeing Company, to find diversified suppliers that we are looking for.

Other general advice is:

  • Understand the procurement practices and requirements.
  • Understand quality requirements.
  • Small business owners are admired for their ingenuity and aggressiveness so embrace that mindset to find your customers and know their business.
  • Leverage engagement with large primes to understand business needs.

WIPP Works in Washington: Primary Thoughts on the 2016 Election

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By Ann Sullivan, WIPP Government Relations

Does anyone else think the 2016 Presidential election has been going for ages?  It sure seems like that to me, but admittedly, it has been one of the most entertaining primaries in recent history.  The 24-hour news cycle has kept us up to the minute with every speech, gaff, or barb traded by the candidates. We’ve seen our fair share of debates, roundtables and town halls while watching almost daily polls track the candidates as their support rises and falls. Luckily, today is when the rubber meets the road – at least in Iowa – where Iowans will caucus for their primary candidates. As the 2016 Presidential election ramps up, so too will WIPP’s advocacy efforts. Why? Because we are not cynical about democracy and the process necessary to achieve it. We believe engagement is the mechanism by which to change the trajectory of our country’s future.

WIPP has made addressing the needs of women entrepreneurs a top priority for elected officials and our advocacy has resulted in successes for women business owners. Just look to 2015 for proof that women business owners have a seat at the table. We worked for implementation of sole source authority for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement Program– a tremendous step forward for women-owned businesses seeking to win federal contracts.  The Senate Small Business Committee passed the first reauthorization for the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program in nearly a decade, which provides important business support to women entrepreneurs. These are just two of the many policy victories for women entrepreneurs last year.

To ensure that we keep up that momentum and women entrepreneurs remain a top priority for our elected officials, WIPP has launched WE Decide 2016. This collaboration with Personal BlackBox (PBB) will engage women entrepreneurs seeking to affect the issues candidates discuss throughout the 2016 Election.  Ten million woman business owners, if active, are in a position to influence the direction of economic policy positions.  According to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), women-owned businesses are an economic force, contributing nearly $1.6 trillion to the annually to the US economy. The WE Decide 2016 platform seeks to engage all women business owners and associations whose members are women entrepreneurs, not just WIPP members. When women come together to share their views about the future of this country, they don’t need to be caucusing in Iowa or attending town halls in New Hampshire.  The platform will be polling women business owners on economic issues, such as access to capital, access to federal markets, tax policy and providing healthcare to employees, to mention a few topics that affect us daily.

As the primary results come in and we move on to the New Hampshire primary next week and the South Carolina primary on February 20, know that through WE Decide 2016, we have a unique opportunity to engage the voices of ten million women business owners. We certainly don’t need to agree on every issue, but I, for one, think women business owners may not necessarily possess the same views on issues that the national polls indicate.  So, lean in and let’s see the results of our engagement.  I can’t wait to see the impact all of us together can have in November.