How to win a CIPS Supply Management Award

posted by Lucy Patchett
11 February 2020

Clarity, timing and presentation are among the crucial factors that go towards determining success in the CIPS Supply Management Awards 2020.

Speaking at the Best in Procurement event in London, Emma Scott, representation manager at CIPS, gave tips on how to create the best entry to win over judges.

She recommended using experts within your organisation to ensure the submission is written to a high standard and can grab the judges' attention immediately, including a cross-functional project team and your in-house PR and communications team.   

Pick the right project that fits the categories available, give a short overview and zone in on an aspect if the project is too big, said Scott.

Some of the main points that need to be included in the overview are aims and objectives, organisational strategy, and risks faced and how the company overcame them.

The judges have to go through many submissions so doing everything possible to prevent “judge's fatigue” will help you in the long run too, said Scott. This includes using clear, concise language and avoiding jargon and acronyms.

Scott said that the timing of when the project was undertaken is “critical” as CIPS want to see mature projects that have tangible results and clear benefits.

Tim Lowe, head of procurement at environmental charity WWF UK and 2019 winner of the Ethical Procurement in the Private Sector award, said: “Timing is important. For me it was six months post contract and that time was perfect, it was still recent history, still the honeymoon period, so I felt very positive about the contract still. There's enough good examples [of benefits] which made the award submission more credible.”

He added that making applications look nice can also make a big difference: “The benefit of the WWF is that we have lots of nice pictures of animals, which can make very dry information look more engaging and interactive.”

Scott warned of pitfalls in joint submissions where a project involved collaboration between buyer and suppliers or more than one buyer. 

She said be sure to explain how you worked together and “the strategies and mechanisms in put place to improve relationships”, and include quotes from partners showing both points of view and benefits.

Evidence is crucial for showing the positive results of a project and could range from press cuttings, anecdotal quotes from both parties to facts and figures.

Patrick Dunne, director of group property, procurement and cost transformation at Sainsbury's and 2019 winner of Leader of the Year and Large Procurement Team of the Year, emphasised that “passion needs to come through in entries and show that the project made a difference in the industry”. 

David Scott, senior contract manager at the UK Ministry of Justice, which won the 2019 Collaborative Teamwork award for the public sector, said: “We suggest you put everything down on paper and write it all down, and then scale back because we ended up with a small book when we started the submission process. Share it with other people and get people to review the submission and take their feedback.”

There are 18 categories this year, including Leader of the Year, which is chosen from the Procurement Power List, and Young Talent. 

The “Best initiative to deliver social value through procurement” category is a new addition this year.

Entries, assessed by a board of 12-14 independent judges, go through shortlisting stages before final winners are announced at a black tie event on 16 September. 

Key dates:

Launch date of the awards: 7 February

Early bird entry available: 26 March

Final deadline for entries: 23 April 

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