Winners of the 2015 CIPS Supply Management Awards gathered in Manchester for a Best in Procurement conference to share valuable advice on how to submit a successful entry.
Delegates from across the industry attended the event at Manchester City Football Club to hear from the 12 winners. Also on the podium were Cath Hill, marketing and membership director of CIPS, and David Saint, procurement director at City Football Group.
Hill said: “The stories told through the submissions to the CIPS Supply Management Awards are absolutely the stories that we should be telling people about. We have to take these stories and shout about them from the rooftops, it is incumbent on us to do that.”
It was a record year for entries in 2015. The team of 13 judges, including Saint and Hill, read about 200 submissions.
However, Hill said that some submissions were let down by the quality of the entries themselves and a failure to communicate projects clearly and concisely.
“A submission has to be written so the general public can understand it. And sometimes people had picked the wrong category. It’s good to test out an entry on somebody else and see if it is inspiring. You should also ask yourself, is the project too big? And is it too soon to enter it? Sometimes people enter when they haven’t got the outcome of the project. So sometimes it’s better to leave it a year.
“And we want to know, what is the hook? Marketing colleagues can help with that. The first couple of sentences are important to draw people in. It’s important from a design perspective too, make sure it is laid out well. And please avoid jargon, particularly sector specific jargon. In addition, please use evidence to back up your claims.”
Alan Hartley, former head of procurement at URENCO, a company which produces enriched uranium, was named CIPS Procurement and Supply Management Professional of the Year in 2015 after leading procurement through a three-year turnaround programme, saving €165m (£126m).
Paul Street is procurement technology leader at URENCO. He said: “I wrote 1,500 to 2,000 words for our entry and then edited it down to 500 words. My tip would be to start early as it takes a lot of time. I spent an awful lot of time paring it down, it took me six and a half weeks. Then I gave the submission to the PR department and they took out some of the acronyms.”
Most Innovative Use of Technology was awarded to IBM for the Supplier IQ application that transformed how IBM procurement consumes and exploits vendor data. Barry Ward, global procurement brand manager at IBM, told delegates that the firm had spent weeks getting the application right.
“I’d recommend getting someone independent to look at it once it’s finished. My wife looked at it for me. Later, the judges said that it was very well written and very thought out and executed.”
Meanwhile, LV= and Enterprise Rent-A-Car had some useful tips for companies looking to enter the 2016 awards. They won Best Supplier Relationship Management last year.
Rachel Scarrett, head of supplier management at LV=, said: “Our entry was successful partly due to common sense. We stuck to the brief and we set out our submission clearly. We used the experience of others when putting it together and told the story of our transformation. We gave ‘wow’ examples and demonstrated our partnership, as well as focusing on the joint benefits. We also looked at successful applications from past years.”