First started in 1986, the supplier diversity initiative at Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) has continually created groundbreaking programs to exceeded traditional programs.
KCP&L introduced the Light Source mentoring program for diverse businesses in 2007. This innovative program pairs a senior KCP&L leader (referred to as a Champion) with an M/WBE owner. During this apprenticeship, the Champion provides business advice, serves as counsel, offers training options, provides referrals to other KCP&L business units and helps expand their business network and opportunities. Suppliers participate in the program anywhere from one to three years.
A key enhancement was made to the Light Source program in 2010: a procurement advocate was added to provide assistance to assist the Champions and executives involved with the mentoring program. KCP&L has also developed an internal supplier diversity web site that allows suppliers to register directly, placing their companies into a directory accessible to employees and source suppliers. New software helps the company track its diversity spend in real-time.
Thanks to the Light Source program and other inclusion initiatives, KCP&L has exceeded its diverse spend financial goals in each of the last three years. The total company diversity spend totaled over $57 million in 2009, and grew to over $63 million in 2010. KCP&L did business with 241 diverse suppliers in 2010 alone. The results have exceeded all expectations and resulted in overwhelmingly positive experiences for KCP&L, participating M/WBE owners and Champions alike.
The success of the Light Source mentoring program resulted in an identical program created for the Parks and Recreation Department, allowing even more M/WBEs in the Kansas City metro area to receive new business opportunities.
Through the Light Source Mentoring Program, 18 suppliers in the program were recently recognized for their efforts at the KCP&L Supplier Diversity Awards Luncheon. Congratulations to all of the M/WBEs honored, and to KCP&L for the success of its supplier diversity program.