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How do you describe Umoja to colleagues?

I explain that Umoja is the Secretary General's administrative reform initiative. The Umoja team is dedicated to re-engineering the UN's business processes and developing a technical solution to support them.

What is your role on the Umoja team?

I was selected as the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Procurement on the Change Management Team. My overall role is to help strategize and advise on the re-engineering of procurement business processes and policies. It's a great opportunity to put my administrative expertise to work in a new way.

What specific projects are you working on now?

I'm working very closely with the Supply Chain Team on the "Procure to Pay" process. It encompasses all steps involved in securing goods and services - everything from planning what you need to acquiring the product.

I'm also working with the Procurement Division in the implementation of a new category coding system. Every product category - like vehicles or furniture - is assigned a code which facilitates the whole process - from requisition to procurement to inventory management. The objective is to implement a coding system that is widely used in the marketplace. It will enable the UN to more clearly communicate the Organization's requirements to suppliers. This is an important step toward improving the overall UN procurement process.

Where did you serve prior to joining Umoja?

Just prior to joining, I was the Chief of the Policy and Best Practices Section in the Procurement Division/OCSS where I participated in procurement reform initiatives. All together I've worked in UN procurement for 17 years, including 6 as Chief of Procurement at the UN Office at Geneva. Before the UN I worked in private sector procurement for about 13 years.

How do you think Umoja will benefit the Organization?

From a procurement perspective, Umoja will improve how we plan and manage the purchase of goods and services. In general, Umoja will enable administrative staff to work more quickly and efficiently, especially in peacekeeping missions where time is of the essence.

Originally published on iSeek in English and French on 9 May 2011