How and why to enter an award

posted by Jacki Buist
12 April 2017

The 2017 CIPS Supply Management Awards are getting under way, and any procurement professional who has a great story to tell should be limbering up to submit the entry to beat all other entries.

If your team has delivered particularly successfully on a project and used creative, practical solutions, you can give back some team-building spirit and show your belief in their abilities by entering them into an award. 

What winning means

Making it on to the shortlist or winning an award is a real confidence booster for any team or individual, and can enhance their standing within the organisation and externally. It “gave our suppliers confidence in us”, said Compass Group, a 2015 category winner.

Recognition for the work done by procurement is a great business benefit too for all stakeholders, and gives an opportunity to showcase not only the procedures and policies, but also the people behind the process. And if the team is shortlisted, the evening event itself is a superb opportunity to reward the team. 

Winning the award can inspire everyone you work with to do their best, said Chris Bell, head of procurement at the City of London when he was named UK professional of the year in 2016. “It’s vital that we share the successes of the industry, and case studies are the most powerful tool,” he said.

Winning was good for Compass Group too. It won Most Improved Procurement Operation (step change) in 2015. Oliver Cock, commercial managing director, said the award “gives our suppliers confidence in us. For the team itself, it was real recognition for them.”

Bell joins the judging panel this year, led by Oliver Cock as chair of judges. The panel includes professionals from a selection of backgrounds, sectors and industries, representing a wide range of knowledge and experience that reflects the range of entries received. The judges consider every entry, and follow a robust and controlled evaluation process to find the shortlisted entries and the winners. 

Judge Cath Hill, CIPS global marketing and membership director, gives some tips on how to submit a successful entry: 

Make it easy to understand

A submission has to be written so the general public can understand it. And it needs a hook – the first couple of sentences are important to draw people in. Always avoid jargon and back up your claims with evidence.

Ask for feedback

It’s good to test out an entry on somebody else and see if it is inspiring. It’s important, too, from a design perspective, to make sure it’s laid out well.

Have a clear picture

Be sure to pick the right category and ask yourself, is the project too big? And is it too soon to enter it? If the outcome of your project isn’t clear yet, better to leave it a year.

And the winners say:

Give it time: Paul Street, procurement technology leader at URENCO, a company that produces enriched uranium and whose former head of procurement won Professional of the Year 2015, said: “I wrote 1,500 to 2,000 words and edited it down to 500. Start early as it takes time. It took me six and a half weeks to pare it down. Then I gave the submission to the PR department and they took out some of the acronyms.”

He has seen the business benefit of the time spent: “People want to come and work for us because of the CIPS award, and those within the procurement team are proud to be part of it now. And we’ve had acknowledgement and recognition from head office.”

Use a fresh pair of eyes: Barry Ward, global procurement brand manager at IBM, winners in 2015 for Most Innovative Use of Technology, said: “Get someone independent to look at it once it’s finished. My wife did. The judges said it was very well thought out and executed.” 

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