Kenya: New Dawn As Kemsa Automates Its Procurement Process

Nairobi — The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) has turned a new page in its procurement excellence journey with the formal activation of an automated purchase order generation system.

As part of its transformation journey, which includes integrating information technology systems, KEMSA has unveiled an electronic Local Purchase Order (LPO) generation process.

The automation of the Procurement process and elimination of manual procedures that require human intervention, such as the issuance of LPO, is also part of the Authority’s ethics and integrity assurance strategy.

Speaking at an engagement session with Federation of Kenya Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (FKPM) officials, KEMSA Acting Chief Executive Officer John Kabuchi said the automation of critical functions would enhance the Authority’s efficiency levels.

The KEMSA Team Leader told the FKPM officials, led by Chairperson and Regal Pharmaceuticals CEO Rohin Vora that in the revised procurement process, the certified electronic LPO would be sent to the supplier via email in three days after signing the contract.

“Automating the LPO process will ensure that we eliminate the time spent for suppliers to pick the physical copy before making deliveries of medical supplies,” explained Kabuchi. “Such automation also eliminates the need for human intervention, which has been a key organisational integrity risk area,” he added.

The electronic local purchase order will be encrypted with a unique password for security purposes.

KEMSA, Kabuchi explained, has prioritised the automation of various supply chain processes to improve end-to-end visibility.

“Soon, we will also automate contracting so that suppliers don’t come to KEMSA to sign the contracts but rather they shall be emailed to them for their perusal and signing before submitting to us. By doing this, we will reduce the delays that occur when the signing parties are not available at the same time.”

Mr Kabuchi averred that the Authority has advanced use of Information Technology Systems to support organisational agility and simplify business processes to improve the Order Fill Rate. KEMSA has made significant progress on this front, with the order turnaround time reducing from 46 days in February 2021 to 16 days at the end of February 2022.

“We want to ease the processes of suppliers doing business with us by ensuring that all the procurement processes, right from tendering to award, are visible, “said Kabuchi.

Further, he informed the local manufacturers that all LPOs would have an expiry date to tame the delays witnessed when suppliers took too long to deliver under open-ended delivery timelines.

During the contract signing, the supplier and KEMSA will also agree on a framework model, allowing for the staggered delivery of supplies as part of the adoption of world-class inventory management practices. Adopting revised Just in Time inventory management procedures will help curb the risk of holding slow-moving stocks that lead to wastage as short shelf-life products expire.

He further challenged the FPKM members to ensure their product portfolio is aligned with the Kenya Essential Medicines List to benefit from the opportunities reserved for local manufacturers.

The KEMSA boss re-affirmed the Authority’s position to increase tenders restricted to local manufacturing as part of the Government plan to bolster the economy.

He however urged the Federation of Kenya Pharmaceutical Manufacturers leadership to impress on their members to maintain the quality of their products.

“We have noted that there were quality concerns raised by customers that have prompted product recalls, which is not a good sign,” stated the CEO.

Rohin Vora, FPKM chair and CEO of Regal Pharmaceuticals Limited, raised an issue of the long-standing payment owed to suppliers by KEMSA.

“We wish to appeal to KEMSA to quickly clear the outstanding payment to our members so that they can also service their financial obligations.

He acknowledged that there has been significant progress in settling the outstanding payments in the last two months.

Mr Vora commended KEMSA on the significant improvement, especially in the electronic LPO and hoped that the contract would soon follow suit.

He expressed that the members would be especially appreciative of the staggering quantities contracting since it will not overburden them with simultaneously producing and delivering massive amounts.

“This is a significant achievement for KEMSA and the local manufacturing because we sometimes experience challenges in delivering raw materials to commence manufacturing of a product, “said Vora.

The KEMSA CEO agreed to the request to clear outstanding payments stating that they would be handled in an ageing manner as he appealed to counties to settle their debts in a timely manner.