News Column

Corner Office

March 4, 2011

Jesus Chavarria

Look no further...try a cup of F. Gaviña & Sons vanilla nut coffee.

And while you're at it, open up the copy of this issue in your hands and peruse the story of the Gaviña's incredible enterprise. The story is about a family wholly invested in the family business, which is coffee. First growing it in the lush fields of Cuba, and now roasting the beans for a growing army of American consumers.

The Gaviña brand is becoming ubiquitous via McDonald's, Costco and Wal-Mart. In addition to its brand equity, the product stands for more than customer satisfaction. You might even say it stands for a way of life. For you see, the Gaviñas also have been perfecting a catechism of production values where less stands for more and in the process, behold, they're now right smack in the middle of the green movement.

The wise reader will brew the coffee and read the story.

And while he or she or both are at it, read as well, "Together Again," a sizzling romance as stormy as the centerpiece of "Gone with the Wind." What an affair! ...going on now for well over half a century. The stars? Mexico's Grupo Televisa S.A.B. and Univision Communications Inc.

Both have storied pasts, nail-biting cliff-hangers and near-misses, as well as a history of cross-border incursions in pursuit of product and booty. Telenovelas, World Cups and other content make up the product. The booty is nothing to laugh at.

In the latest chapter, once again Televisa senses opportunity and Univision faces needs Televisa can satisfy, viz., product and capital. Keep in mind that standing behind Univision is Broadcasting Media Partners, actual owners of Univision, made up of a group of investors led by Haim Saban's Saban Capital Group. The plot, needless to say, is intriguing.

Also intriguing but with potentially stark implications is the debt that the United States faces. Five new Hispanic lawmakers in Congress—all Republicans who campaigned on trimming spending and limiting government—give their take on what they believe should be done to get this nation on a better financial footing. Of course, the Hispanic Democrats in Congress also get a chance to make their views known.

If Gaviña is a supplier to McDonald's, Costco and Wal-Mart, it is because it's part of those organizations' diversity supply chain.

The brutal economic turmoil of 2009 put a crimp in contracts awarded to diverse suppliers. Now that the economy is perking up a bit, major corporations have been increasing the percentage of spending they target toward minority- and women-owned businesses.

McDonald's Corp. ranked first on this year's 25 Supplier Diversity Leaders directory. AT&T, Verizon Communications, PG&E Corp. and Toyota Motor North America Inc. rounded out the top five spots. Together, these five companies spent 15 percent of their combined $111.4 billion spending with minority-owned firms. That comes to $16.9 billion in contracts awarded.

The importance of diversity in the supply chain was underscored when the Institute for Supply Management created a Certified Professional in Suppler Diversity accreditation. Almost 200 people participated in the pilot program with Alex Alvarez, enterprise manager of suppler diversity for CoreLogic, earning the first certification. Thus far, 80 people have earned this accreditation.

By now you've figured it out, if the issue's content is growing a green economy and diversity supplier development, it must be March.

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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