Small and minority-owned firms in Atlanta have been increasingly successful in obtaining supply contracts with such large multinationals as Delta Air Lines and Lockheed Martin Corp., but may now face greater competition from global suppliers, according to speakers at a Jan. 16 Asian-American Chamber of Commerce seminar on how to market to government and corporations.
“Large firms are interested in the ‘better-smarter-faster’ philosophy when it comes to suppliers,” said Ken Hilderbrand, small business advocate for Lockheed. “So they’re no longer looking just locally (to fill supply contracts), but globally as well.”
However, he said that networking, diversification of products and certification through local business organizations may help suppliers win new contracts, despite increased competition from outside vendors, he noted.
Mr. Hilderbrand encouraged small and minority-owned businesses to anticipate the changes in the demands of large corporations like Lockheed through consistent communication with contacts in the organization, and to then diversify to meet the needs of the larger corporation.
He cited the case of a Lockheed supplier who successfully switched his focus several years ago from computer services to supplying specialized labor, based on projections from a Lockheed
small business advocate on the corporation’s future needs.
Rosalyn Lewis, Delta’s program manager for corporate diversity, encouraged the Asian-American chamber attendees to register with the Georgia Minority Support Development Council or the Georgia Women’s Business Council, since large corporations rely on certifications from such organizations as a key reference when initially sorting through bids.
“Diversity management is the one area in which most airlines do not compete,” she added, suggesting that firms supplying airlines visit www.cordiem.com, a business-to-business site for the aviation industry founded by 12 industry members, including Delta, American Airlines and British Airways.
Contact Ms. Lewis at (404) 677-1246. Contact Mr. Hilderbrand at (770) 494-7215.