27 January 2014 | Gurjit Degun
A successful CIPS Supply Management Awards entry should be simple, not include any jargon, show off your best assets and provide evidence of your achievements.
The Best in Procurement event at Aston University in Birmingham last week heard from winners and judges of last year’s CIPS Supply Management Awards winners and judges.
Putting together an entry for an award can be a daunting process, so here are some of the tips they gave:
• Keep it simple. “You want to make sure the judges understand that you meet the requirements and that you want to win,” said Gulham Choudhury, supply chain manager at Manchester Airports Group and 2013 CIPS Young Procurement and Supply Chain Professional of the Year. “The key is to keep it simple and telling a story that demonstrates your achievements. Make it interesting, use good opening sentences, get to the point, tell the judges something they don’t know but keep it relevant."
• Get rid of any jargon. The judges are from the private sector, the public sector and the third sector so make sure everyone can understand what you are saying, Kevin Mills, head of procurement at NATO and one of the judges for the 2013 awards, told delegates. Barbara Ferrier Garcia, trading division manager – internationalisation purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover, who won Best Supplier Relationship Management in 2013, gave her entry to people outside procurement to check if it made sense to them.
• Apply the ‘so what?’ factor. “I looked at what’s been consistent across my career to date in terms of achievements,” said Choudhury. “I identified the common themes such as: what’s a typical procurement approach? What kind of contract management? What’s all the textbook material that everyone knows? And what makes me stand out by applying the ‘so what?’ factor. It’s about the initiative, how you achieved that and what the tangible deliverable outcomes were.”
• Make sure you have enough time. Mills said: “You will need organisational buy-in. Putting together an awards entry will take a lot of time. Start early and treat it like a project.”
• Back up your claims. “As an academic, when judging the awards I ask myself, ‘do I believe [what is written in the entry form]?’ said last year’s judge Carlos Mena of Cranfield School of Management. “Some of the entries were just words because there was no evidence.”
The 2014 CIPS Supply Management Awards opens for entries very soon. Check the website and the February edition of Supply Management for full details.