There was a palpable tension in the air at the gathering of procurement professionals on the banks of the Grand Union Canal in London on Thursday evening.
Buyers at the cutting edge of the profession had been brought together at Kings Place to celebrate their place on the shortlist of the CIPS Supply Management Awards, but the question in everyone’s mind was: “Have I won?”
While on the surface everyone was good-natured as they enjoyed drinks and hotdogs, and a ray of sunshine even broke through the muggy clouds at one point, the sense of competition could not be avoided.
As contenders mingled, picking at the snacks presented on trays, what appeared to be foremost in people’s minds was: “Is this person in the same category as me and are they a rival?”
Of course, the judges gave nothing away. Cath Hill, group membership and marketing director at CIPS and a member of the judging panel, gave a warm welcome to the shortlisted organisations. “You are all winners in your own right,” she said.
Everyone had a good story to tell of innovation and new ways of approaching procurement, from both the public and private sectors, and the evening was both an opportunity to celebrate and catch up with the latest thinking.
However, as the sun slipped away thoughts turned to the lavish awards ceremony in London on 9 September, when the answers to all those questions will finally be answered.
• The CIPS Supply Management Awards, hosted by TV's Alexander Armstrong, takes place on Wednesday, 9 September at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. AirPlus International is the gala evening’s headline sponsor, Hays Procurement is a platinum sponsor, while Commerce Decisions is the official judging technology provider. To book your place at this year’s ceremony, please contact Emilia Tosner on 020 7880 6226 or go to www.cipssmawards.com for details.
☛ Will Green is news editor at Supply Management