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.