Procurement Processes in the Pacific

Our redesign of a client’s procurement and finance functions to improve efficiency.

Our client is an international development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members. Their regional development issues include a range of environmental problems, human rights challenges, and disaster risk management.

Our client has embarked on a project to move some of its Procurement and Finance functions into a Shared Services structure. Parts of these services are decentralised to divisions, while other parts are centralised within the finance and procurement teams.

This change is driven by our client’s desire to have its divisions and central teams work more collaboratively. They also aim to increase sharing in knowledge, tools, and resources and to gain efficiencies in the current processes.


The organisation follows two procurement processes:

  • Request for Quotes (RFQ) – delegated to the divisions.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) – responsibility of the procurement central team.

Our client’s current procurement processes were lacking in maturity and good practice. Therefore, they took a considerable amount of time to complete.

Delays were due to lack of experience within the division in the preparation of the Terms of Reference (TOR) / Scope of Work (SOW). The procurement team was also scrutinising the TOR and requesting further clarification. Further delays were caused by an appropriate technical committee not being established in time to perform the technical evaluation.

An assessment of the supplier was completed after the contract was awarded, and staff were not properly trained on the procurement practices while being onboarded. A recent audit concluded that there were significant non-compliance breaches within the RFQ processes.


Terra Firma was engaged to understand the procurement processes and assess whether they were in line with the procurement policy.

Our role included documenting the specific business processes identified for review in the procurement and finance functions of our client’s organisation. We verified through interviews and observation that the business processes were those in operation.

We were engaged to recommend changes and facilitate the redesign of processes in line with best practice. Our role involved applying analytical techniques to determine the cause of problems in existing processes and systems.

Our Approach

Our consultants worked closely with the business divisions to gain an in-depth understanding of the procurement process. We documented the current end-to-end procurement process and identified operational, financial, and technological risks that seriously inhibited the process.

We conducted frequent stand-ups and met with the project team and director to review deliverables and deadlines. Our consultants collaborated with senior stakeholders to derive appropriate solutions that would help mitigate those identified risks.

Using those recommendations, we built a future state procurement process that improved efficiency while minimising the risks. We presented our findings and got buy-in from Director General, Deputy Director Generals and Division Directors.


Terra Firma provided many opportunities for the organisation to achieve with their new and improved procurement processes. Our client can manage risks as they are now able to perform supplier assessments well ahead of time and prior to awarding the contract.

By strategically bringing forward some activities once done in sequence and now done in parallel, our client has reduced the overall time taken to process an RFP. Performing administrative tasks in parallel also results in an increased level of cost savings.

There has been improved coordination between the procuring sections (divisions) and Procurement Central using standardisation. We assisted in improving communication between vendors and our client through information sharing.

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