Most of the honours handed out each year by various industry bodies reward professionals who have long experience in their respective sectors and are generally well past the mid-point of their careers. But, with a category specifically for young professionals, the SCMP/CIPS Awards for Excellence in Purchasing and Merchandising also recognise up-and-coming talent and aim to highlight some of the innovate practices that the newer generation are bringing into the profession. Last year's category winner was Candy Ng Yuen-hei, a buyer with Sapphire Technology, who graduated with an IVE higher diploma in purchasing and supply chain management about two years ago. She is in charge of buying packaging materials and electronic components from suppliers in South Korea and China and co-ordinating closely with her company's mainland subcontractors to meet orders and ensure timely deliveries. Ms Ng's winning entry explained how she and her manager had set up a new purchasing department and taken over responsibilities previously handled by the company's production team. She sensed that two things particularly impressed the judges: the way new procedures and improved processes had been put in place, and the way Ms Ng had applied theoretical knowledge from her academic course in a practical setting. 'I think the judges also saw from my case study how I was collaborating with other departments, and that I had the right mindset to transfer knowledge to other staff in China.' She added that winning the award had given a big boost to her professional confidence and 'maybe my company also saw I was quite a good employee'. Ms Ng's advice to anyone planning to enter this year's awards was to use the opportunity to explain the importance of purchasing or merchandising. 'Show how it has contributed to the success of the company,' she said.