Author Topic: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....  (Read 1490 times)

Offline phunhog

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Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« on: January 29, 2015, 04:02:17 AM »
Since we are getting into the season for homebrewing competitions I have noticed a problem and potential solution.  Am I the only one frustrated with the amount of time it takes to receive scoresheets?  I guess it is fairly common to wait up to a month before getting your scoresheets?  Now I know the comps are run by a dedicated group of volunteers and I am not trying to place blame on anyone.  My solution would be very, very simple.  When you send in your beers include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) for every beer entered that way as soon as the judges are done judging your beer the steward/organizer can stuff your scoresheets in the SASE and put them in the outgoing mailbox! Of course this assumes that the beer is not moving on to the second round/BOS.  But imagine...you might actually get your scoresheets within a week's time, if not sooner!  Then when you sit down with the scoresheets and taste your beer you have a better chance of tasting the same beer the judges did. 

Offline JT

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2015, 11:11:46 AM »
Why not go digital?  Judges, bring your smartphones/tablets.  Log in to a central scoring site.  Each beer receives a control number for scoring.  Brewer gets feedback same day.  No paperwork to lose.
Requires one technical oriented individual to set up the database/survey, but the time and hassle elimination seems obvious.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 11:14:37 AM by JT »

Offline factory

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2015, 12:57:57 PM »
Why not go digital?  Judges, bring your smartphones/tablets.  Log in to a central scoring site.  Each beer receives a control number for scoring.  Brewer gets feedback same day.  No paperwork to lose.
Requires one technical oriented individual to set up the database/survey, but the time and hassle elimination seems obvious.

^^ I like this idea.

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2015, 01:36:57 PM »
Here's what I do: find comps that don't dilly dally around and get their packets out to their entrants on time. If it takes two weeks to get my stuff back from a comp, I don't enter that comp anymore. Simple as that. Same goes for medal packets. If I am sent the wrong medal and the organizer tells me 'tough sh*t' (yes, this has happened to me), then I don't enter that comp anymore.

If a competition is ran well, it takes two or three days to get the packets back to the entrants. Most of that time is spent sitting at a post office, watching them weigh and mail each packet. What should be happening is these comps should be stuffing the pre-labeled envelopes as the entry packets come in to the organizer, right after they are entered into the BCOE&M. Some comps don't have this system in place, so they just pile it all to the end and then don't do it for two weeks. A self addressed envelope isn't going to help these dilly dallying comps.

Here's one that I ran last year, and I'm mentoring our organizer in this year: http://www.kcbiermeisters.org/comp/. Ask anyone on here that's entered it. We get our stuff out quick. I think last year we had them mailed (all 300+ packets) by the Wednesday after the comp. The year before that was similar.

Please don't take offense to this, but the "go digital" comments seem to come from people who have not yet taken charge of a full on beer competition. (Please, correct me if I'm wrong!) It's a lot more complicated than you think, and it is certainly not a "one man job". Well, unless you want to burn that 'one man' out completely and have him running for the hills!  :o
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Offline JT

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2015, 01:58:08 PM »
I wasn't at all implying that running a comp is a one man job.  Setting up a central data gathering solution?  Yes.  You are correct, I have not run a competition.  I'm only applying what has worked well for me in the workplace: when gathering feedback from multiple sources, automation has been a godsend.  The more feedback that needs to be gathered, the better automation has worked for me. 
And no offense taken, but on the flip side, the don't go digital comment is coming from someone who is still using a paper process.  I have used neither in a beer competition, and really don't intend to any time soon, so I'm simply looking at it from a data management point of view.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 02:02:25 PM by JT »

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2015, 02:20:52 PM »
War of the Worts in PA - 900 entries and scoresheets are organized into envelopes and available after the awards that night! It can be done.

The keys are - preprinted envelopes with entry numbers on them and use the stewards to organize scoresheets during the competition and stuff envelopes after. The trouble is just that many organizers don't think ahead about the process. They're concentrating on the competition itself and wind up with a pike of administrative work after and nobody to help.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 02:31:12 PM »
I wasn't at all implying that running a comp is a one man job.

I know you weren't implying that.  :)

Setting up a central data gathering solution?  Yes.
 

Sadly, I have yet to find someone that will do this for us. Hell, I can't even get someone to build me an Access database!  :o

The problem with going digital is that you would have judges filling out score sheets on some sort of device. Here's some potential issues (I'm listing so we can talk about them an try and find a solution, not because I'm throwing it back at you):
- Many judges are older, with poor eyesight, and may be stuck in their ways of filling out a paper sheet.
- Does everyone bring their own device? What about the people who don't have smart devices?
- Comps depend on judges filling out sheets in about 10-12 minutes. Any longer than this and a 2.5 hour judging session turns into a 3.5-4.5 hour judging session - that's where you start to talk about judge fatigue. Imagine a 600 bottle comp, which is usually broken down into 2 early flights, 2 Friday flights, and 2-3 Saturday flights. If those sessions took longer than 2.5-3 hours a piece, it would be a disaster. Judges would drop like flies from fatigue and the organizer would likely not be able to do weeknight judging sessions. That's a huge issue. My point is this: many people take longer to type than write, especially on a mobile device or tablet. How can that be overcome?
- If they aren't full typed out score sheets, then how do you communicate to entrants that they might not get the traditional set of feedback?
- Who is going to set this database up? Do you have a reliable volunteer?
- How are you going to integrate it with something like the BCOE&M? From what I understand, it is updated every now and then, and you would have to patch your system in each time it is updated - who is going to do that?

My point is, there is a lot that goes into this and I don't see (at least our group) being able to pull it off. I'm open to suggestions.


Back to my other point of poorly run competitions, Jimmy hit the nail on the head:

The trouble is just that many organizers don't think ahead about the process.

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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2015, 02:35:56 PM »
Here's one that I ran last year, and I'm mentoring our organizer in this year: http://www.kcbiermeisters.org/comp/. Ask anyone on here that's entered it. We get our stuff out quick. I think last year we had them mailed (all 300+ packets) by the Wednesday after the comp. The year before that was similar.

I can confirm this comp has their act together.  Also the mashout and Midwinter comps have always gotten my results back to me quickly.  These, NHC, and the Northern New England HBC put on by Brew Free or Die are ones I enter every year because they are run so well (actually missed mashout this year...too busy with holiday stuff, but my KCBM and Midwinter entries are on the way).
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2015, 02:40:48 PM »
Most comps I enter I get my scoresheets back in < 2 weeks.  Either electronically or by mail.  If one took longer I would just shrug.  Who really cares?  I mean brewing is a patient process...

I certainly wouldn't enter a comp that required me to put a self addressed envelope with every entry... lol
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2015, 03:49:58 PM »
The last thing I really want as a judge is to have to pull out my phone and type on it while I'm trying to taste beer and have to worry about setting it on the table on spilled beer where it might get ruined or at least sticky.

I'm not sure it is time efficient to set up an all-digital system for a few hours or even a weekend. That's a lot that can go wrong for a very short period of use. It would be easier, in theory, than using paper but you get a couple guys who can't connect to the server and suddenly the whole comp is delayed. You need a much higher level of expertise available as technical support for that kind of system.

Scanning and emailing judging sheets is probably the easiest option available although for a large comp you need a fast scanner and somebody, or preferably multiple people, who has a good process in place to sort forms before they go in the scanner and afterwards as the files are being created. It's faster and cheaper to send forms by email with the cost of postage these days.

I think a SASE would be a huge deterrent to people entering a competition. It's not that difficult to include a stamped envelope but lots of people don't own envelopes and they aren't likely to buy a box of envelopes and a book of stamps. I send out documents that I need returned to my office signed with original signatures (so no fax or scans) and people would drive half an hour to bring it to my office instead of mailing it because they didn't want to bother with the postal system or buying envelopes. Now I always include a SASE and get my documents back much faster. So yes, people are paying money to ship beer and paying the entry fee but I could see people then not wanting to spend the money on a box of envelopes to get the judging forms back. Strange but people are fickle like that.

I guess I am really just whizzing on all the ideas here. My thought here is that the BJCP or one of the other major comp organizations should put out a best practices guide with a thorough description of an efficient way to organize and deliver judging forms.
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Offline dbarber

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2015, 04:09:06 PM »
Scanning and emailing judging sheets is probably the easiest option available although for a large comp you need a fast scanner and somebody, or preferably multiple people, who has a good process in place to sort forms before they go in the scanner and afterwards as the files are being created. It's faster and cheaper to send forms by email with the cost of postage these days.

This is what we do for Malt Madness.  Our competition is around 500 entries and we have 2-3 to people to scan score sheets.  We used to stuff envelopes and have them available for people to pick up the day of the competition and send the rest out by mail, but we switched to scanning to save on postage. 
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Offline JT

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 05:13:21 PM »
I think the scan idea is terrific.  Great compromise between digital and manual.  All the ease of a manual system, with the speed of a digital system. 

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 06:16:01 PM »
Scanning and emailing judging sheets is probably the easiest option available although for a large comp you need a fast scanner and somebody, or preferably multiple people, who has a good process in place to sort forms before they go in the scanner and afterwards as the files are being created. It's faster and cheaper to send forms by email with the cost of postage these days.

This is what we do for Malt Madness.  Our competition is around 500 entries and we have 2-3 to people to scan score sheets.  We used to stuff envelopes and have them available for people to pick up the day of the competition and send the rest out by mail, but we switched to scanning to save on postage.

Dave, what type of scanner are you using?
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Offline phunhog

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2015, 06:44:21 PM »
Scanning is a great idea as long the emails actually go out reasonably quick. My idea with the SASE is that it seems like comps are always short staffed with volunteers.  So anything that we as entrants can do to make it go smoother/easier we should do. I can't imagine sending a SASE with your entries would turn anyone off from a comp.  If that would be a deal breaker I can't imagine those brewers would bother to pack and ship their entries via UP$ ...... that is a PITA and expensive!

Offline udubdawg

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Re: Competition Scoresheet timeline.....
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2015, 07:14:36 PM »
I know at the end of a grueling competition it has to be tempting to just relax and worry about the scoresheets later.  But from what I've seen, it is tougher once you stop to get back into it.  "Scoresheets...ugh...don't wanna deal with that right now"...repeat next day.

IMO, if staff has labeled envelopes ready and buckles down, they can often get them stuffed while BOS is going on.