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G eorge W eston F oods Procurement. The Gemstones Pack. How does Gemstones work? What does it get you?. The process as a picture. . Objective : Apply the «Gemstones» from a given conference to our business. 1) Kick Off. . Match original objectives and action planning. .

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g eorge w eston f oods procurement

George Weston Foods Procurement

The Gemstones Pack

  • How does Gemstones work?
  • What does it get you?

The process as a picture


Apply the «Gemstones» from a given conference to our business

1) Kick Off

Match original objectives and action planning

2) Session planning and attendance

3) Consolidation

4) Output


Objectives of the Gemstones Pack

The objectives of the Gemstones Pack are:

  • To provide a structured way of achieving the best possible outcome from a team participation to a Conference/learning event.
  • To offer an effective procedure to share, compare and consolidate learnings.
  • A method to keep the information most relevant to our business in a consistent and useable format.
  • By using the Gemstones pack, the team does not only come out of a conference with personal knowledge, but also has a way to absorb the best ideas from their colleagues.
  • Helps find the special few elements in each speaker’s presentation, and then distil from that the 'gems' that can help our procurement team and help our company.


Stage 1: Kick Off

Four weeks prior to the conference, the following tasks are organised:

  • Choose which team members are going to be attending the conference (who didn’t go last year? Are there any new starters?)
  • Amongst these team members, nomination of a team coordinator as a first point of contact for all team members.
  • The team coordinator will then be responsible for information circulation amongst all team members, and to make sure that everyone has understood what is expected from the attendance to this conference and how the ‘Gemstones’ process works.
  • Circulate all published material about the event to the participants.
  • The event is also added to the usual Teambrief agenda for preliminary discussions.


Stage 2: Session Planning and attendance

The second part of the Gemstones process covers the last step of the pre-conference organisation :

  • For clarity, and to help with the organisation process, a master plan is created.
  • It includes the contact details and positions of all participants to the conference.
  • It shows a list of all seminars, plenary sessions, workshops etc; and assigns at least 1 participant to each session (multiple are OK).
  • A “session owner” is also nominated for each session. The role of the session owner at this stage is to be the central point of contact for this particular session for others who might be attending the same session.

To see an example, click here 


Stage 2: Session Planning and attendance

  • The Gemstones template is for the team to take notes in a uniform way. It is circulated to the team prior to the conference, in order for the participants to have the time to familiarise themselves with the template and get a better understanding of what they need to get out of the conference.

Using a common template also makes it easier to consolidate the information and put together a summary of each session.

A breakfast team meeting is held before session 1/ day 1. Here everyone sees what is covered by who and any loose ends are seen to.

To see an example, click here 


Stage 3: Consolidation

After the conference, the consolidation process starts, which encompasses the following:

  • A team meeting after the last session on the last day reinforces “what’s next?” and by when.
  • Participants send completed soft copies of their notes (using the Gemstones template provided) to the relevant session owners.
  • The Session owners then compile the common Gemstone documents relating to their session.
  • The session owners confirm that the notes for all sessions from all participants are complete, and produce one consolidated Gemstones document on their session.
  • The session owners send their consolidation to the team coordinator.
  • The team coordinator then creates a “Gemstones pack”:
    • For example, for GWF, after the 4th CIPSA conference, in total, 158 ideas were consolidated across 24 sessions.


Stage 4: Output

The last step of the process is to prioritise the consolidated list down to the few Gemstones (the short list) that we want and are in position to use in the business, and to place a rank in their priority:

  • The team coordinator presents a selection of potential Gemstones at the GWF Procurement Workshop. The presentation is an important step, as only a part of the whole procurement team attended the Conference. The team members who did not attend must get a clear understanding of the potential Gemstones through the presentation in order to make an informed decision.
  • A segmentation tool (see example below) is used to prioritise the ideas presented to the ones that will be the easiest to implement and/or will have the strongest impact. It also helps us choose the “Quick Wins”.
  • The number of Gemstones that the team needs to choose is set at 12. If it really MUST be more than 12 because the team cannot rule out some very powerful ideas, then this figure can be revised.
  • The procurement team discuss the priorities of the potential Gemstones during the GWF annual Procurement Workshop, and segment the ideas between the “do now/do later”. This confirms the “quick wins”.
  • The output matches the original objectives.

A prioritisation tool is used during this part of the process. To see an example, click here 


Conclusion: What makes this work?

  • The Gemstones process has an owner (with a helper).
  • The quality of the result is part of the owner’s annual objectives, and his/her performance leading the process will be appraised.
  • The Gemstones process is structured; and uses simple tools and templates.
  • Everybody contributed to / created the findings: there is an ownership component to the outcome.
  • The prioritisation process takes from too many ideas to find the few Gemstones.
  • The fact that it generates actions gives credibility to the Gemstones process.