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It´s important to note that procurement is not a single action but a process; a series of activities aimed at meeting the needs of humanitarian projects as well as our operation in general. This process is standardised in such a way that it can be replicated it regardless of the place, time or context. At the same time the process should be flexible enough to encompass each of the different challenges that the purchasing manager faces.

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A best practice might be the segregation of duties segregation among persons with different points of view, knowledge and ideas. Decisions are more likely to be successful when everyone is informed and in agreement. The table below shows different examples on how to ensure the Segregation of duties:

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Humanitarian aid has evolved its own defacto code of conduct. This set of principles has led to the development of multiple norms, or even rules, that agencies observe while implementing programs. There are - for example - codes of conduct, which are understood and signed by all employees which may include rules that humanitarian staff:

  • Do not use their authority or status for personal gain.
  • Maintain a high level of integrity and ethics in business relationships.
  • Use the resources and assets of the organisation responsibly.
  • Do not accept personal gifts from suppliers or engage in any other anti-competitive conduct.
  • Act and behave in a professional manner as representative of the organisation and donors, and avoids anything that could bring discredit to the organisation or donors.

When possible it is best practice to include ethical requirements in published tenders, and use ethical requirement compliance as part of the selection criteria. Frequently suppliers do not have standard certifications, nor are they used to complying with ethics standards, which is why it is important to conduct a good market analysis. It is also important to conduct regular visits to suppliers' premises to evaluate their ways of working.

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  • An employee, directly or indirectly, appears to benefit improperly from a procurement activity.
  • A third-party benefits improperly from his/her association with an employee.
  • Any person within an organisation holds a financial interest in an enterprise that engages in any business or transaction with the organisation.

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Goods/Supplies

The goods or supplies category includes the purchase of tangible items and/or their interrelated sets. In general, a market is considered as goods/supplies when there is a transfer of ownership of tangible products.

A product is defined by two elements:

  • Technical specification or detailed description (including images if necessary)
  • Purchase Unit (Kg, Lt, piece, etc)

All the costs associated to production, preparation, installation, maintenance and disposal related to the purchased products (total cost of ownership), can be considered as part of goods market if the additional services have been procured, delivered and invoiced together and as long as these costs remain lower compared to the total purchase cost.

The typical purchases in the goods market are include food, tools, construction materials, office supplies, equipment, etc.

Construction/Maintenance

Construction/maintenance is a market category that includes the design of the work and/or its execution in accordance with the previously specified requirements.

Construction/maintenance procurement and monitoring procedures usually includes visiting the place where the works should be performed with potential contractors, allowing them to better understand what is needed and the requirements in order to make a more accurate offer. As the works usually takes time to be finalised, an execution timeline must to be included in the plans as well as moments where inspection visits have to be performed.

Common examples are; a building rehabilitation (in full or part), any kind of construction, road sections, etc.

Services

The services market category includes the intellectual and non-intellectual services that do not fit in goods and works markets definitions. Evaluations, technical assistance, or any other activity not involving the transfer of a tangible product are considered as a service.

Under this market its possible to hire the services of dispatchers, lawyers, consultants, translation services, transport, etc.

Property/Rental

Property/Rental markets refer to the rental of real state, whether land or buildings, regardless of their purpose. This market possesses certain characteristics that makes the sourcing and selection process slightly different from the other markets:

  • There are no suppliers or provider but landlords.
  • There is no transfer of ownership but right of use for a period of time.
  • There are specific laws applying to property.

The complexity of of the property market means it is difficult to measure two or more premises exactly by the same criteria. While there are some similar comparable aspects such as the location, the structure, the internal distribution, security considerations, makes the selection process more complex. Logistics personnel associated with procurement must evaluate the local market (actively) and choose the more economical option that fits the initial requisites as much as possible.

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These formal requests should be based on templates that will allow users to build a more accurate opinion about view of the product or service that we pretend to acquire and its their availability in the context we are workingof operation.

Product and Service Requisition

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One of the best ways to assure that each request is well presented, understood and agreed among all the units involved in the process  is to create a coordination space to do it. The usual coordination tool is the implementation of a recurrent meeting between requestsrequestors, heads of unit, and the procurement team where the requests can be discussed and validated.

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