“The system is forward thinking, innovative and progressive with a smart build in which our program can grow.

Nursery and Garden Industry Australia

Case study interview with Kobie Keenan, Program Manager

Kobie Keenan

Background to the story

“Nursery and Garden Industry Australia Limited (NGIA) is the peak industry body representing commercial growers, retailers and suppliers in Australia. NGIA is charged with providing leadership, support and additional resources to drive key industry initiatives, which meet the goals of the industry strategic plan.  We host the Nursery & Garden Awards which have been running for 21 years to give businesses the opportunity to promote themselves as leaders in the industry. An entry into the awards is made for many reasons.  Business improvement is the focus of the program and this is delivered in the form of robust criteria and comprehensive feedback for entrants including rankings, benchmarks and judge’s comments.  Other reasons for entering the awards include the promotional opportunities brought about by success, in addition to opportunities to revitalize a team environment and improve staff morale.  Each year an Awards Review Committee considers feedback from non-entrants and entrants of the program.  This feedback is very important to us and as a result, we sought to make considerable improvements for the 2015 program including efforts to speed the entry process and align criteria with international standards.  When Award Force contacted us, their timing was perfect.

Our experience | Award Force as our partners

The Awards program was advancing quickly and our previous online system had not kept up with our needs. As the sole operator of the awards system I need something easy that I can operate from anywhere and that would completely align with our goals.  Award Force showed me this was possible.  With Award Force I am able to see what the judges see and the system they have configured for us has more flexibility enabling it to grow with us now and into the future – even across states.  The system is forward thinking, innovative and progressive with a smart build in which our program can grow.

The Results | Outcomes

Award Force has definitely saved a lot of time.  Generally, it’s a more efficient process and falls in line with our own goals of fostering industry business improvement and progression for entrants.  We’ve got 11 categories each with different judging criteria and this year had 17 judges to assess the ever increasing number of entrants.

As a convenor, my job is made simpler as I have access to the entire awards program from anywhere allowing me to resolve entrants question and concerns while simultaneously being able to see exactly their status in the system.  We have a lot of volunteer judges and the Award Force system is far less onerous of their time; Judges can get access to the entrants’ information, score and give feedback in real time. Delays are avoided and this has improved the efficiency of the program overall.

The Award Force system not only allows me to see entrants, but also those who have shown interest in entering.  The result of this feature is a greater ability to communicate with prospective entrants to help guide them and encourage participation in the program.   This is very important to us because the concept behind the awards is both to recognise and help businesses improve using the criteria and with support from the judges’ feedback.  They do pay a small entry fee however the benefits they can get from these expert judges is worth more to them.

We are much better able to manage the awards from the outset through to announcing the winners.  The way that Award Force has ‘layered’ the system, means every stage in the awards process is easily managed in house and it provides a level of control for us that we haven’t had before.  They have built a relevant and functionally superior and flexible system for us.

This is our first year completely online and it works amazingly well and we’re able to take industry stakeholders with us on the journey which is great.  Award Force is easy to deal with. They worked tirelessly with us, responded to our questions quickly and ensured it all flowed freely. I really only have good things to say about Award Force!  They’ve given me a trouble-free year of awards and I am grateful.”

Kobie Keenan, Program Manager
Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, Sydney Australia

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