Promising Practices: 2 - Procurement. Brief #2 in the Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management Series
(2014; 26 pages)

Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program. 2014. Promising Practices: Procurement. Arlington, VA: Management Sciences for Health.


This series of briefs has been developed for use by in-country stakeholders. The briefs provide both proven and promising practices that may be used to address specific supply chain barriers faced by each country.

  • Proven practices are defined as interventions with proven outcomes in improving health commodity supply chains in low- and middle-income countries tested using experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation designs. Examples of proven practices are identified by this symbol throughout these briefs.
  • Promising practices are defined as interventions showing progress toward improving health commodity supply chains in low- and middle-income countries.

To view all the briefs in the Promising Practices in Supply Chain Management Series, visit

Procurement is the process of turning forecasts and supply plans into purchased products that are delivered to a point of entry. Typically divided into several steps, procurement focuses mainly on the management of the tendering, bidding, and contracting process. The length of the procurement process for new goods varies significantly and, in many cases, may take more than one year from start to finish. Procurement benefits most from well-defined and accountable processes, which work to ensure that commodities are obtained through fair, consistent, and reliable means. Without efficient mechanisms to manage procurement processes, the acquisition of commodities may easily become disorganized and costly, resulting in stock-outs of products or the placement of emergency orders to fill anticipated supply gaps.

Compared to other domains of the in-country supply chain, procurement is most likely to entail significant relationships and activities at the global level. Since few countries have local manufacturing capacity, particularly for the 13 life-saving commodities identified by the Commission, procurement relies on the satisfaction of in-country commodity needs through the combination of both global and local procurement strategies. In light of this, the case studies in this brief cover promising practices in local, regional, and global procurement.

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