3.3 Case study: Good practices and lessons learned from tsunami emergency response

A review of good practices and recommendations for procurement was conducted in the five CARE COs affected by the South-East Asian tsunami. Other COs facing emergencies should consider implementing these practices

Approved vendor lists
Approved vendor lists and updated price lists should be established and maintained, specifically for emergency relief items, support services and equipment. These lists should include pre-defined specifications of relief kits to help with faster procurement.

Suspending standard CARE procurement procedures
To achieve more efficient procurement, standard procurement practices were suspended by varying degrees by COs in Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. The policies most commonly modified or suspended were standardised competitive bidding, sealed/public bidding procedures, bid committees, payment terms and receipt procedures. Note in PeopleSoft this is determined by workflow approval. For more information contact the Shared Service Center.

Emergency procurement review committee
If procurement procedures are relaxed, a formal Emergency Procurement Review Committee should be pre-defined as part of the CO’s EPP process. This committee should play a key role to monitor and ensure accountability during the initial period of relaxed procurement procedures.

Increasing procurement purchasing approval authority
To enable faster purchase of relief items, designated CARE staff responsible for implementing emergency response activities was given increased procurement freedom. Such measures included significantly increasing expenditure limits and allowing field-based staff greater spending authority.

Decentralising procurement approval authority and purchasing process
Procurement approval authority was decentralised from the COs to emergency response teams that worked in closer proximity to the affected areas. This allowed direct procurement input and monitoring, reduced transport distances, and the potential for ‘double handling’. Decentralising also avoided procurement and logistical impediments developing at HQ. While decentralising procurement was effective, it was recognised that supervision and monitoring policies and procedures were essential for an effective emergency response.

Implementing ‘sole-source’ vendor purchasing
In some cases, the multiple vendor approach was not feasible due to issues such as time constraints, limited pool of adequate vendors, etc. Sole-source vendor purchasing should be supported by justifying documentation when the operating environment does not efficiently permit competitive bidding.

Focus less exclusively on price
While costs may be higher, priority should be given to the delivery time frame, desired location of delivery, product quality, pre-packing services and capacity to provide the appropriate volume of items on a timely basis. Still negotiate.

Multiple vendors
For large-volume purchases of specific items (kits, water tanks, etc.) multiple vendors may be used to reduce risk of potential ‘failure to deliver’.

Procuring pre-assembled relief kits
Obtaining pre-packaged kits assembled to CARE specifications from selected vendors reduced the burdens on CARE associated with limited warehouse capacity and availability of personnel. CARE Indonesia pre-packed relief items in durable, reusable boxes. These provided recipients with a storage container, avoided garbage and promoted longer-term organisational recognition among recipients, because the boxes were marked with the CARE logo.

Sub-contracting repacking services
In the absence of storage facilities and/or limited staff availability, CARE could consider sub-contracting repacking services (not affiliated with vendors) to prepare relief kits. The service provider would ensure that all kits contain the correct items and that the items are in good condition. CARE procurement staff would conduct random checks of the kits.

Procurement staffing
At the initial start-up of a significant emergency response, quickly assess and adjust staffing levels for procurement as required. Also ensure that appropriate CARE staff members with adequate knowledge and experience of CARE procurement procedures systems are reassigned, to temporarily directly support procurement/logistics activities and/or provide on-the-job training to newly hired staff.

Source: Tsunami Emergency Response-Good Practice Review of Program Support Functions & Systems Report.