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Matchmaking yields mutual benefit for Merck and diverse vendors

Merck signage

Success is a two-way street for corporations and the diverse group of suppliers with whom they contract for essential services.

For diverse businesses, it means reaching new markets, growing and sustaining annual revenues and creating jobs.

For corporations, having a diverse supplier base helps them sharpen their competitive edge by understanding the needs of an increasingly global marketplace while making critical investments in small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

"We think that Merck is leading the way to this success through our partnership with NCIMED, an organization that offers more than 30 years of experience helping companies realize business outcomes through supplier diversity networking, management strategies and supply chain solutions," said Willie A. Deese, executive vice president and president, Merck Manufacturing, for Merck & Co. Inc.

This partnership, for example, helped Mike Spears and Robert Willis, co-founders of Integrity Group RTP transform a short-term contract with Merck into a sustainable business relationship.

Spears and Willis turned to NCIMED for help in reaching new markets and customers for their janitorial and construction cleaning services company. NCIMED connected them to Merck as the pharmaceutical giant began construction on its vaccine manufacturing facility in Durham.

"We were given a 60-day contract in November 2004 and have been there ever since," Spears said.

Two subsidiaries of the Integrity Group – Integrity Facilities Management Inc. and Integrity Construction & Renovation – now provide a range of services for Merck and other companies in the Research Triangle Park, from commercial janitorial and construction services to contract labor for commercial purposes.

"Merck has really been instrumental in building our business," Spears said, "and we have NCIMED to thank for making that connection."

A similar type of matchmaking experience has transformed Gloria Shealey's construction company, as well.

"Our relationship with Merck has enabled us to establish the pharmaceutical segment of our manufacturing construction portfolio," said Shealey, CEO of The Daniele Company, general contractor, construction manager and real estate consultant for commercial projects.

"This has become a platform of expertise we are able to bring to the marketplace," she said. "It has been important to our portfolio strategy and is a consistent part of our revenues, as well."

For Merck, a commitment to supplier diversity is embedded in the company's DNA.

"It is Merck's policy to provide practical opportunity to small and diverse suppliers to provide goods and services to the company as part of our corporate procurement process," Deese said. "The use of diverse suppliers is an integral part of our purchasing procedures just as equal opportunity employment is central to our personnel policies and procedures."

Having access to global companies like Merck is also important to minority suppliers like Warren Arrington, owner of American Safety Products. The Raleigh-based company performs construction site cleaning, provides safety supplies to Merck's subcontractors on site and delivers other services as needed.

"Our partnership with Merck has increased our annual revenues by 20 to 25 percent," Arrington said. "The value of NCIMED is getting access to the decision maker. Without NCIMED, we would not have that opportunity."