Fujitsu aims to add millions to its First Nations supply spend

12 March 2024 3 min. read
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As part of its RAP plan, Fujitsu’s procurement spend on Indigenous-owned suppliers has rocketed to more than $4.5 million in the space of just a few years, with the firm aiming to further boost that figure.

The Australian branch of technology consultancy Fujitsu has received international attention for its First Nations procurement strategy in partnership with the Indigenous Defence & Infrastructure Consortium (iDiC).

Speaking with Forbes magazine, the firm said its spend on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island suppliers had jumped from $200,000 to more than $4.5 million since the launch of its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2018.

Fujitsu aims to add millions to its First Nations supply spend

Now, as Fujitsu Australia reaches the end of its second Innovate RAP, the firm wants to double the annual figure again in the next three years, with the potential to scale the program across the Asia Pacific. Two of the key figures responsible for delivering the RAP targets are Fujitsu’s APAC vice president of purpose, people & culture Nicole Forrester, a proud Wiradjuri woman, and Melbourne-based regional head of procurement Payam Rahimi.

“Fujitsu’s RAP is at the heart of our corporate framework to create social change and economic opportunities as we work towards building trust and better relationships with First Nations-owned suppliers,” Rahimi stated. “Procurement plays a fundamental role in developing long-term partnerships with supplier communities like iDiC, which enables us to fulfill our vision to harness the power of technology for the benefit of society.”

Co-founded by AFL great Adam Goodes, the iDiC – which acts as a supply-chain aggregator, account manager and consultancy connecting corporate and government entities with more than 100 Indigenous-owned businesses nationwide – has been supporting Fujitsu’s reconciliation journey since its earliest days, including through education sessions with the firm’s employees on the wider benefits of engaging Indigenous suppliers.

“Building financial and economic independence for First Nations-owned businesses helps create jobs for Indigenous Australians, providing sustainable employment for self-sufficiency that bolsters the entire social fabric of the country,” says iDiC co-founder and director George Mifsud. “We’re bringing these suppliers new opportunities to deliver services, which helps them reinvest back into their business and community and expand their capabilities.”

Another major factor in achieving the RAP outcomes has been Fujitsu’s adoption of SAP Ariba as a centralised platform to gain better visibility into a wider range of integrated procurement dimensions, including supplier contracts, compliance and risk management, and spend allocations. The software has also allowed Fujitsu to create a dedicated dashboard and focused buying channel to specifically track spending with First Nations suppliers.

Speaking previously to NIT, Forester concluded the firm’s wider D&I efforts come down to building trust; “There needs to be a recognition that the corporate landscape has shifted, and that a direct supply relationship is no longer enough. We need to recognise that there’s an intersection of opportunity and obligation there. For us, that intersection is trust. You can’t have trust unless people belong, and you can't have belonging unless people are truly included.”