Egg-cited for the Purolator Challenge?
As Canada’s leading integrated freight and parcel solutions provider, Purolator is devoted to keeping up with new trends in the industry. Last year, Purolator launched a Challenge on TalentEgg asking students and recent graduates to how they could use social media and communication platforms to further build their company’s reputation – and they received some stellar responses from aspiring young professionals across the country.
This year, Purolator’s Challenge asks: “What emerging trends will reshape the transportation industry in the next 10-20 years? How can Purolator profitably adapt to these trends?”
“At Purolator, we think about this problem all the time,” says Erik Ragotte, Manager, Corporate Strategy and Innovation. “Sometimes when a team of people with similar knowledge get together to brainstorm, it can be challenging for them to think outside of the box and truly innovate. We know that students can take this question in a new direction, and offer a fresh perspective.”
So how can you make your Challenge entry stand out for all the right reasons? We’ve put together 4 steps for creating a winning submission – check it out!
Step 1: Research
Think of your Challenge submission like a sculpture – no matter how well presented it is, it will likely crumble without the right foundation and materials.
In this case, research is key to creating a strong submission. Knowing Purolator as a company is a great starting point
“Most people think of the courier industry in their own use case: sending packages to family or ordering online,” says Erik. “It is important that student’s widen their view of the industry – Purolator participates in far more than the courier industry (logistics, LTL, etc), and also focuses on business to business shipments (not business to consumer or consumer to consumer).”
Erik highly suggests starting your research with Purolator’s website – get to know the way their company works and also to search them on the web to get a feel of their current system.
Beyond that, search for key phrases like “trends in transportation,” “trends in the courier industry,” “same-day shipping,” and eCommerce fulfillment.” Start up companies are also a great place to start researching. Often they exhibit strategies and qualities on a smaller scale that may inspire a great new strategy on a larger scale. If you do this, you’ll get a picture of the industry in no time!
Step 2: Analyze
It’s one thing to gather information – it’s a very different thing to put it to use in a strategy.
Look through your information with a discerning eye. Be sure to sort through the information and remove any information that is irrelevant to Purolator. This way, you’ll be able to focus on your stronger facts, and create a stronger strategy as a result.
Be sure to consider all aspects of the industry and how they relate to your research. Have you taken the market into consideration? What about Purolator’s competition?
“We want to see that each recommendation point you are making is tied to some sort of data point.” says Erik. “Students are welcome to make inferences from their data and hypothesize, but they shouldn’t be making something up out of thin air with no backing whatsoever.”
“We truly feel that anyone with some initiative to do research will be able excel in this Challenge. Of course, students in business or economics programs may be more familiar with business strategy, but that does not mean they will win. Anyone can learn about the industry and come up with a great idea.”
Manager of Corporate Strategy & Innovation, Purolator
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to start devising a strategy. Create a chart, table, spreadsheet – whatever helps you organize your data most effectively – and figure out what strategy is most effective. Perhaps it might be an existing strategy you found, or a completely new system you’ve devised.
But most importantly, hypothesize the outcome of your strategy, along with any pros and cons. Make sure you look carefully for any holes in your submission – addressing them and devising solutions during the analysis stage makes for a much better product than having a judge point it out during the judging stage!
Step 3: Structure
The great thing about the Purolator Challenge is that entrants can submit their strategy in virtually any form. This is a bigger advantage than you might think – it means that you can present your submission in the form that projects your proposal’s potential most effectively.
Think about the information that you need to present in your piece – do you have aspects that are best presented in a written format? Perhaps your submission is inclined to numbers and statistics, and you’d prefer to present it in a graph or spreadsheet.
“Any format that helps you express your idea is fine by us,” says Erik. “Remember though, just because you use an original format doesn’t mean you can forget about analysis and structure in your submission.”
However you decide to present your piece, be sure it effectively conveys your strategy – you are more likely to read statistics in a graph form than in a written essay format. Think about how you would present a professional proposal in a corporate setting.
Step 4: Polish
“Polish” is not just about creating a product that is attractive to the eye – it is important that the information you present in your submission is easy to follow and flows logically.
“On a Strategy team at any company, your work will often go to the senior levels of an organization,” says Erik. “With this in mind we look for attention to detail in people’s work. This includes the ‘visual’ aspect of a submission, but also a thorough spelling and grammar check.”
Think of your submission as a presentation, with a beginning, middle, and end. It makes more sense to talk about general research and findings at the beginning of your entry, and narrow down into details in the middle and the end, so that viewers can follow what you’re talking about.
Also, if you are creating a visual document, make sure each element lines up properly with other related elements in your piece. For example, don’t have a graph depicting competition profit statistics next to a written passage about shipping policies, unless those two elements are meant to work together as one idea. Be sure your headings and dividers are clearly marked.
If you’re not sure about the readability or presentation of your submission, have a friend view it and give you its feedback. They should be able to follow your train of thought without questions the entire way through – if they have questions, you may want to re-work the structure or layout!