An Inside Look at How Corporate Buyers Use Supplier Connection


Jay Sheldon Wesley knows procurement. Given that he’s worked in the field for nearly 40 years, that’s probably not shocking.

What may surprise you, however, is how enthusiastically an old-school procurement manager, like Jay, has embraced an innovative platform like Supplier Connection.

As head of global supplier diversity for Pitney Bowes, Jay leads the company’s efforts to spend more an $1 billion with small businesses, small-disadvantaged and HUBZone firms and minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and LGBT-owned businesses.

Jay is determined to eventually find all of these suppliers through Supplier Connection.

To say Jay is enthusiastic about the outlook of the platform is an understatement. Describing himself as a “total convert,” Jay says Supplier Connection has the potential to be “revolutionary.”

He raves about the cost savings it presents, pointing out that with Supplier Connection buyers don’t have to pay for an expensive procurement portal.

He also extols the benefits it offers suppliers, including its calendar of events, webinars, free and informative Supplier Development Academy, and burgeoning social media presence.

Jay’s support for Supplier Connection is not all talk. He’s already used the portal to award contracts to several dozen small and diverse firms.

Last year, when Pitney Bowes had a new transportation contract coming down the pike, Jay turned to Supplier Connection to look for small, diverse firms that might fit the bill. He found several, including one, Airlink Ground Transportation, that was located in his Connecticut backyard.

Although he was unfamiliar with Airlink, he met with its owner, Atif Jilani, several times before the bid hit the street to discuss the RFP and the culture at Pitney Bowes.

Jay’s time and energy paid off: Airlink ended up being awarded the entire global contract.

As pleased as Jay is with Airlink, he’s not finished there. Pitney Bowes now requires all diverse companies, of any size, to register on Supplier Connection to qualify and compete for a bid.

And, like any true believer, Jay also is spreading the word.

Jay says he recently met with 42 potential suppliers at an event and that 32 of them knew to register for Supplier Connection before they even met with him. (He also is quick to point out that several others had started their profiles, they just hadn’t completed them yet.)

He also has hosted a number of Supplier Connection workshops in Connecticut.

In other words, Jay isn’t only preaching to the choir. He’s also trying to find new converts.