Procurement Department Acted Like a Detective

“It was the first time I was assigned with urgent procurement task since I joined World Vision. To the specific, it was the first time I was assigned with such urgent procurement task since my professional career began.” Elaine said, looking a bit tired.

Elaine is a part of Procurement Department in World Vision and she has worked for World Vision for six years. Prior to joining World Vision, she gained six years of procurement experience working for a company in Shenzhen. Experienced as she is, she found it quite challenging procuring anti-epidemic supplies.

▲Elaine checked the quantity and quality of the 400,000 masks imported from overseas in Shanghai.

“I spent my days like riding an emotional roller coaster, experiencing a lot of emotional ups and downs.” Elaine said, talking about supplies procurement at the very first stage of novel coronavirus outbreak. Procurement Department looked abroad for supplies with great expectation due to a small chance of procuring masks from domestic market. The epidemic outbreak abroad was not as severe as in China at that time.

“We were thrilled every time we were told by suppliers in some country that supplies were in stock.” But they were always sold out before we could manage to get hold of some information like product specification, quantity, price, payment, entry verification and customs clearance. “Do you know the feelings? The whole thing happened and ended less than one day and we underwent a lot of stress in the process. We were really excited to locate supplies in stock at the beginning, so we rushed to figure out the process and had constant communication with several parties, but in the end our efforts were in vain.” Elaine said with a sense of frustration.

▲Elaine and the other colleague worked with workers of SF Express (logistic supplier) completing the packaging of masks and ready to transports to 10 areas.

Procurement Department put their best effort into work and grasped every chance of completing procurement task. It was how every member of Procurement Department operated at that time. They acted like a detective every day. Besides finding supplies, they also needed to identify and evaluate suppliers like a detective.

Finally hard work paid off. Procurement Department, joining hands with other departments, finally succeeded in procuring first batch of supplies, which were 50,000 masks, for which the supplier required payment as soon as possible. Procurement Department tried to buy more time by constantly communicating with supplier. “We even thought of staying in the warehouse guarding the shipment.” Elaine said, laughing. In the meantime, all departments worked together to push through procedures like arranging payment, shipment, receiving and approval. It took such a short time to complete the whole procurement process, setting a new record in World Vision’s procurement history.

▲Elaine was busying checking the quantity and quality as well as the packaging of the masks.

The biggest challenge was the coordination within all parties except for the shortage of supplies. The procurement project against novel coronavirus included supplies procurement from domestic and overseas market. All departments of World Vision China, relevant departments of World Vision International and Health Commission of Hubei Province were all involved in it. Procurement Department had to do a lot of communication work because they were required to not only negotiate with suppliers, but also meet the demand of other departments and the partners. “To complete a task like this, besides having a clear mind and infinite patience, we need to review our work regularly and make a reasonable work schedule. We must tell ourselves to keep going and try our best.” Elaine said, talking about how to cope with such challenge.

Every effort will be rewarded. World Vision is planning to procure 14 kinds of supplies valued at RMB 12 million, some of which ( electronic clinical thermometers, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, soaps and towels) have been successfully procured and delivered to target areas. Others will also be delivered in succession. Furthermore, World Vision invested over RMB 3 million in donating medical equipment for the treatment of novel coronavirus to three hospitals in Wuhan City. Half the amount of donated medical equipment have arrived in the hospitals with the remaining arriving before 13th March.

▲Elaine was busying checking the quantity and quality as well as the packaging of the masks.


▲Elaine said she and the other colleague had finished checking the quantity and quality of the masks. Though tired, she felt happy.

Another good news came. 400,000 masks purchased from the Indian city of Bombay were firstly delivered to Kuala Lumpur and now finally arrived at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. “It was not easy to receive this batch of masks. It took only five to six hours to for us confirm the order with the assistance of World Vision International in finding supplies. It was the first time we procured supplies from abroad so we were quite worried in the process. Fortunately it went smoothly.” Elaine said with a smile. Her tiredness was erased after the completion of acceptance inspection and delivery.

Elaine spent her days of February in working hard with computer, listening to product stories told by suppliers, feeling the depression and worry of pedestrians through windows and keeping track of epidemic condition all the time. She said: “I look forward to a warm gathering with my family and a pleasant trip with my friends. I want to listen to my friends’ stories and to enjoy the beauty the outside world. Pedestrians walking by will not be depressed but happy and healthy. I will have my eyes only on delicacies instead of the epidemic. I’m waiting for the spring to come.” 

In response to the severe epidemic, World Vision China procured from domestic and overseas to meet the shortage in medical supplies to protect the sponsored children and their communities. With the great efforts by Procurement Department, the most needed medical supplies have been procured successfully and distributed once the area program offices and the counterparts who have received the medical supplies. (Written by Cathy Li)


If you are interested to be involved in the COVID-19 response, please go to WV China's website in Hong Kong -

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Su, Director of Resource Development, World Vision China
Mobile: +86-155 8708 7042