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Lead Buyer Essential Household items & Specialized Food

Requisition ID:  15870
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract
Reports to (role)


Head of Procurement

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.



The Category Lead Buyer develops and implements and coordinates sourcing strategies for its category to meet internal customer needs and to obtain maximum value from suppliers.

 S/he ensures that items in those categories are procured efficiently

The Category Lead buyer will be a member of the Procurement Unit, in charge of Purchasing within the ICRC's logistics division mandate.

 The Logistic / Procurement Unit is looking for a suitable candidate to fill the following position:

 Category Lead buyer EHI (Essential Household Items - Emergency relief) & Specialized Food                                                                       

 (Location Satigny / Switzerland)


Accountabilities & Functional responsibilities


  • Carries out annual reviews of the procurement strategy for their category and proposes innovative ways to ensure that the ICRC gets best value for money.
  • Defines, implements and coordinates sourcing strategies for their category; establishes and leads a network of suppliers, Units requesting services, Buyers and Category Buyers.
  • Develops innovative products, concepts and projects with Units requesting services and proposes updates to the catalogue in line with procurement standards and guidelines.
  • Applies ICRC procurement processes and procedures to ensure that files are ready for audit; signs off on procurement selection tables and contracts up to a set threshold and answers questions from compliance staff.
  • Leads optimization of the supplier panel and develops supplier-relationship management (SRM) strategies according to suppliers’ categorization within that framework.
  • Performs category analysis of scope, spending, internal demand, stakeholder requirements, leading practices, key drivers (e.g. total cost of ownership) and market trends.
  • Signs off on all purchasing files in accordance with the financial rules and ensures that procurement policies, strategies and procedures are followed in the field for their product category.
  • Coaches and trains the Buyers and Category Buyers; provides advice, guidance and support to ICRC staff regarding procurement policy, category management, the sourcing process, contract management, SRM and the procure-to-pay process (if appropriate).
  • Represents the Logistics Division and communicates with donors and diplomatic missions about the procurement strategy and key performance indicators for their product category.
  • Is responsible for supply planning and participates actively in setting and updating the global stock policy; actively participates in supply and demand forums.
People management responsibilities


  • Functional supervision of regional purchasing managers and regional category buyers


Scope & Impact


  • Is in charge of one or several product categories with annual expenditure of 60 to 80 Mio CHF of variable complexity
  • Geographical remit: global (Remit is local for HQ categories).
  • Has financial responsibility for global frame agreements and contracts; has technical responsibility for highly complex categories.
  • Supports implementation of strategic institutional projects that require large-scale change management.
  • Provides leadership (blue line) on the procurement strategy for specific categories for the Buyers and Category Buyers (approx. 10–30 people). Or Category strategies can impact the procurement of materials and services at local, regional and global level (HQ categories).


  •  Internally, interacts with heads of unit, technical experts (ICT, legal, etc.) at headquarters, and logistics staff.
  •  Externally, interacts with the directors and account managers of supply companies and lawyers
Certifications / Education required


  • University / Master degree in international procurement  
  • Good communication skills both in writing and oral English and French (a strong advantage). Other languages are appreciated.
Professional Experience required


  • Experience:  10/15 years working experience in international Procurement (category management, SRM and contract management)
  • 6 to 8 years in Essential Household Items and Specialized Food
  • Demonstrated experience in development and implementation of sourcing strategies for different spend categories over a sustained period (at global level).
  • Humanitarian field experience in Procurement is a strong asset.
  • Experience working on large, cross-cutting projects.
  • Project-management experience an asset.
  • Ability to monitor complex activities with different experts and to analyse the relevance of purchase requests.
  • Knowledge of the procure-to-pay (P2P) process and use of an ERP software
  • Knowledge about the Convention of the International sales of contracts / Incoterms
Desired profile and skills


  • Team work & Collaboration
  • Strong organizational skills with a demonstrated ability to prioritize and work independently
  • Proactive and a fast-learner
  • Strong communication skills; Beneficiary & Client focused
  • Knowledge: Good management and administrative skills, leadership spirit.
  • Global, multicultural focus, detailed knowledge of the economic security context (regulations, products, services, environment)
  • Customer and solution oriented, capacity to manage complex activities with various experts and to analyse the relevance of purchase requests
  • Computer literate with proficiency in MS Office, knowledge of J. D. Edwards ERP an added value.
  • Team player, collaborative, flexible, interpersonal skills, interested to work in a multicultural environment
  • Experience or interest for economic security in less advanced countries.
  • Knowledge of the global and local supply chain, processes and understanding of the humanitarian procurement constraints


Additional information


  • Type of contract: Open-ended
  • Working rate: 100%
  • Starting date: 01.11.2020 - or ASAP
  • Location: Satigny - Switzerland
  • Application deadline: 27.09.2020


The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome application from all qualified candidates.