400px Msf logo.svg 1 Direct Category Buyer

Direct Category Buyer

  • Contractor
  • Remote
  • TBD USD / Year
  • Médecins Sans Frontières profile

  • Job applications may no longer being accepted for this opportunity.

Médecins Sans Frontières

Title: Direct Category Buyer

Location: Supply Center in Amsterdam, Bordeaux or Brussels

Contract: Permanent – full-time

Starting date: April 1st 2024

Reporting to: Head of Global Direct Procurement

Deadline to apply: 6.03.2023


Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. MSF offers assistance to people based only on need and irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF International is the legal entity that binds MSF’s 24 sections, 25 associations and other offices together. Registered in Switzerland, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF Movement, as well as implements international projects and initiatives as requested.


Procurement of products and services is a critical activity for MSF operations and represents approximately half of MSF’s expenses. Therefore, MSF has undertaken significant efforts in recent years to strengthen and re-organize its procurement function, which have led to the creation of the Global Procurement Unit (GPU). The primary aim of the GPU is to streamline procurement activities and increase compliance, efficiency, and risk management.

Situated within MSF International Office, the role of the Global Procurement Unit is to lead global procurement strategies, to coordinate procurement efforts in the organization and to support the development of the procurement function across all MSF entities to efficiently contribute to MSF’s social mission.

In this frame, MSF is implementing a Category Management Structure since 2021 for selected categories of medical and not medical items required for the running of MSF operations. Currently MSF is conducting a global review of its product portfolio to identify additional categories. Depending on the outcome of this analysis, one or two Category Buyers’ positions will be created. These positions will be designated for Medical and/or Non-medical (Logistical) products.


As part of the Global Procurement Unit, the Direct Category Buyer will:

  • Report hierarchically to the Head of Global direct procurement.
  • Work closely with the QA counterparts at international and Supply Centers level, the regional hubs, other direct Category Buyers, the buyer community and working groups affiliated to the Category.
  • Interact with other stakeholders within MSF, especially other ESC stakeholders (replenishment) and external stakeholders (other NGOs and UN entities).

A very close collaboration with the Supply centers and a deep understanding of their constraints and needs is required, therefore the location of the position will be inside one of the 3 European Supply centers.


The overall objective of this position is to develop and lead Global Procurement Strategies to manage and optimize the procurement spend of the Categories under their responsibility, in order to bring the most value for MSF Movement.

Specific Objectives

A. Lead the strategic procurement activities for the assigned Category of items.

B. Support the successful implementation of the Category Management model for Direct Categories.


A. Lead the strategic procurement activities for the assigned Category of items.

1. Identify priority categories, develop their strategies and ensure their implementation.

  • Develop close links with internal stakeholders to ensure an in-depth understanding of needs and priorities and assess continuously value for the organization.
  • In close collaboration with key stakeholders, develop procurement strategies for the product portfolio based on the requirements of the movement, considering external constraints and harnessing mutualization opportunities of the different MSF entities (primarily the 3 ESCs).
  • Ensure implementation and monitoring of the developed strategies by engaging with specific stakeholders and providing guidance on steps for implementation as well as support for necessary escalations.
  • Participate to the continuous optimization of procurement spend, practices and performance.

2. Perform the sourcing process for goods under assigned categories, in compliance with the procurement policy, the category strategy and the internal clients’ requirements.

  • Analyse the needs for products and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure a clear documentation of the requirements.
  • Develop deep supply market knowledge on trends affecting assigned categories and identify sourcing optimization opportunities in regional markets.
  • Perform regular benchmarking exercises and cost scenario analysis.
  • Identify opportunities of engaging with the same supplier for different products in the portfolio to leverage volume.
  • Identify spend consolidation opportunities by proactively reviewing the product assortment and by aiming for common suppliers.
  • Put the requirements up for tender, following an efficient procurement process in compliance with the MSF Procurement policy and the category strategy.
  • Negotiate and draft (framework) contracts, ensure internal alignment and proper management and administration.
  • Strive to ensure quality of items and suppliers master data, to reflect the underlying commercial agreements.

3. Develop and maintain deep knowledge of market factors & trends affecting assigned categories, to develop supply chain optimization and risk mitigation strategies.

  • Maintain general market and category knowledge to anticipate potential risks and opportunities.
  • Proactively assess, manage and mitigate supply-related risks for the items in the scope of the Category to ensure supply continuity.
  • For the product portfolio under their responsibility, lead and coordinate the ad hoc risk-mitigation actions which require a coordinated effort from the buyers from the 3 ESCs.
  • Identify opportunities for supply chain optimization by assessing supply network footprint optimization at regional level and possibilities of direct deliveries to the missions.

4. Serve as MSF focal point and manage and develop Supplier Relationships for the Strategic Suppliers under Category responsibility.

  • Perform supplier segmentation and steer supplier relationships to develop a reliable and balanced supplier base.
  • Implement a differentiated approach to developing strategic partnerships with priority suppliers and ensure unified messaging from MSF to the suppliers, while rationalizing the Tail-End supply base.
  • Monitor supplier performance and ensure that structural corrective actions are taken when necessary. Handle escalations and strive to ensure issue resolution as well as mitigation.
  • Encourage the engagement of suppliers into sustainability assessment.

5. Develop internal and external networks as MSF Procurement focal point for the Category.

  • Develop close links with internal stakeholders to ensure an in-depth understanding of needs and priorities and assess continuously value for the organization.
  • Give advice to internal stakeholders, line management and other stakeholders based on the Category expertise.
  • Support questions and requests from colleagues and stakeholders to enable continuity and improvement of the operations.
  • Network with other actors / NGOs to develop Market and general Category expertise and identify potential opportunities.

B. Support the successful implementation of the Category Management model for Direct Categories

1. Lead the necessary forums with ESC stakeholders to ensure proper exchange of information. Give visibility to the initiatives driven by the Category.

2. Identify challenges and optimization opportunities related to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Category Management Structure, propose appropriate corrective measures and support their roll out.



  • Bachelor’s degree in business, with ideally a specialization in purchasing or project management, or a combination of relevant education and professional experience.


  • 5+ years of experience in procurement or Supply-related function, of which 2+ years of experience in strategic procurement including vendor management.
  • Direct work experience in a complex multi-entities organization.
  • Experience in global contracting and negotiations.
  • Direct work experience in one of the 3 MSF European Supply Centers is a strong asset.

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Excellent communication skills, assertiveness and negotiation skills.
  • Team player with strong customer orientation.
  • Ability to work in a cross-cultural and cross-functional environment.
  • Drive for change, improvement and innovation.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work autonomously.
  • Excellent analytical skills and strategic thinking.
  • Proficiency in standard office tools including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and data management.
  • Fluent spoken and written English skills are essential.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

At MSF, we are committed to an inclusive culture that encourages and supports the diverse voices of our employees. We welcome applications from individuals of all genders, ages, sexual orientations, nationalities, races, religions, beliefs, ability status, and all other diversity characteristics.

How to apply


Deadline: 6 Mar 2024

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