Director International Supply Chain Strategy (DISCS)


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 19 sections, 23 associations and other offices together. Based in Geneva, MSF International provides coordination, information and support to the MSF movement, and implements international projects and initiatives as requested. MSF International also provides administrative support to the MSF Access Campaign.

Following MSF’s full revision and redefinition of its international governance structures, the need for strengthening MSF’s leadership at an international executive level was confirmed and is now underway.


A common organisational supply chain strategy (OSS) for the whole MSF movement was endorsed by the Executive Committee (Core Excom), the highest international body at executive level, in September, 2013.

Renewed MSF Supply Chain vision:
For MSF as a movement to establish the most effective and efficient professionalized supply chain of its kind in the humanitarian sector, which is flexible and yet has minimal operational complexity, providing field operations with the required products and services on time and cost effectively, in the right quality and quantity, avoiding waste and/or unnecessary duplication.

MSF Supply Chain Objectives:
To streamline the existing supply chain in order to achieve optimal operational effectiveness and efficiency. Across the entire supply chain process the critical success factors will be to reach the required performance levels in:

  • Quality
  • Availability (right quantity in time)
  • Costs

The MSF end to end supply chain is a continuous series of managed processes that begins with the expression of needs from a program, (the demand), and ends when, after a number of analyzed, measured and controlled segments, each optimizing the trade-off between cost, quality and lead time, goods or services are delivered to the point of distribution, where responsibility is handed over from the supply chain to the program in charge of the distribution to users, consumers or patients.
The end to end supply chain does not have the responsibility of forecasting demand nor conducting distributions planning - both activities are the responsibility of Operations.

The supply chain does, however, need good quality forecasts leading to confirmed orders to make it possible to organize and optimize the supply chain activities accordingly.

Similarly, the supply chain is not in charge of distribution as this role is the responsibility of field operations, but it needs to have access to reliable distribution data to ensure an optimal uninterrupted supply of goods and services to the program.


The DISCS is a new position within MSF.

In the start-up phase of this position intensive consultation and communication will be needed with the Supply & Logistics Directors platform and other stakeholder platforms in order to develop for final Core Excom approval:

  • The business case, which would include analysis of potential savings through:
    • shared purchasing
    • simplification of processes
    • limiting duplications
  • A multi-year plan of action, inclusive of budget and monitoring framework for all of the above
  • Proposals for the governance of the position.

There will be regular opportunities for consultation and resolution of any differing views and to obtain endorsement of activities/projects derived from the OSS with the Core Excom.


Along with a specific team complementary to the Operational Centres (OCs) and European Supply Centres (ESCs) supply teams and being part of MSF International the DISCS, under the supervision of the Core Excom, will contribute to improve our supply system to a state of the art system taking into account our specificities and strategic priorities, the operational projects’ needs and the changes in our environment.

The DISCS will function in a matrix environment with a broad diversity of management responsibilities:

  • Chairperson of an MSF internal supply chain steering committee (to be set-up).
  • Chairperson of an advisory committee composed of a variety of supply professionals from outside MSF (to be set-up).
  • Line manager of the international supply team (to be set-up).
  • Manager of a number of international supply projects generated from MSF’s supply strategy with the ESCs and their hubs, the OC Supply Units and field supply.

The DISCS will have decisional authority while executing the above mentioned responsibilities (the exact scope of this authority will be defined in the start-up phase) and is directly accountable to the Core Excom for all activities generated from the Organizational Supply Strategy (OSS).


The Director International Supply Chain Strategy is responsible for further development and the implementation of the strategic objectives as defined in the Organisational Supply Strategy (OSS).

Overall Objective:
To develop and manage an implementation plan to reach the strategic objectives of the OSS while leading the ongoing process of further development of MSF's supply chain vision and strategy.
To provide long-term vision, strategic direction and leadership for MSF’s supply chain (see below) and to set up and manage a supply chain management system to guarantee, internally and externally, the harmonisation, coordination and integration of the supply chain activities, ensuring their compliance with MSF’s governance rules, policies and guidelines, avoiding duplication and minimizing waste while optimizing costs, quality and availability.

Specific Objectives:

  • Implement the objectives of the OSS.
  • Prioritize activities generated from the OSS aiming at significant gains whether related to costs, quality, availability or a combination of the three.
  • Set-up an international multidisciplinary team of supply professionals strongly connected to the existing supply teams in the OCs and ESCs in order to create sufficient capacity to implement the OSS,
  • Lead the ongoing process of further development of MSF’s supply chain vision and strategy.
  • Set-up and maintain an MSF internal steering committee ensuring the representation of all key stakeholders.
  • Set-up and maintain an advisory committee consisting of external supply professionals.
  • Propose projects/activities generated from the OSS to the Core Excom for endorsement.
  • Develop an implementation plan for the OSS detailing possible different models of integration (in OCs), business cases, implementation strategies and a monitoring and evaluation framework.
  • Create and implement projects and activities in such a way that individual OCs can, if applicable come on board when their in-house supply organisation is aligned.


  • Ensure the implementation of the objectives of the OSS in cooperation with the stakeholders (platforms) involved.
  • Translate the OSS into a multiyear action plan with clear objectives, milestones and measurable targets.
  • Develop a phased implementation plan of projects and activities derived from the strategic objectives, detailing possible different integration models, business cases, and subsequent implementation strategies.
  • Ensure the set-up, management and maintenance of an international supply team strongly connected to a variety of supply professionals existing in the OCs and ESCs in order to create sufficient capacity and empowerment to implement the OSS.
  • Ensure the set-up, management and maintenance of an MSF internal steering committee (stakeholders) and an external advisory committee (supply professionals).
  • Develop, maintain and adjust the necessary escalation models and procedures in order to handle any significant disagreements around strategic choices and implementation plans.
  • Maintain a global management overview in terms of availability and use of supply resources (at ESCs, regional Hubs and country level).
  • Develop, implement and maintain a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure progress including service level indicators, quality indicators and financial indicators .
  • Present progress reports with a KPI dashboard to the Core Excom.
  • Formulate annual plans including budget and seek endorsement from the Core Excom


Genuine interest in, understanding of, and commitment to; the humanitarian principles, associative structure, social mission, operations, and challenges of MSF.


  • Bachelor degree in Supply Chain, Logistics, Business or a related field; a Masters Level qualification is a plus
  • Relevant professional certifications will be an advantage


  • 10+ years of relevant experience in international supply chain management with a minimum of 6 years in humanitarian supply management at senior management positions both at Headquarters and at field level.
  • Experience in multiple supply chain /processes, methodologies and technologies
  • Experience in managing and integrating complex services in a global environment.
  • Experience in long-term strategy implementation and development in a global organisation.
  • Experience in high-level relationship building
  • Proven success in leading and managing complex change processes.
  • MSF experience and knowledge is an advantage.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Adept at leading change management across multiple disciplines and organizations
  • Complete in-depth grasp of international complex supply chain management/ logistics processes and current best practices.
  • Knowledge of how various pieces of different organizations’ activities fit into a bigger whole – strategic versus analysis
  • Knowledge and use of technology to gain end-to-end visibility across the supply chain; understand information technology and leverage information systems as a strategic tool
  • A strategic thinker with ability to balance tactical and strategic issues.
  • Ability and motivation to drive change, improvement and innovation.
  • Demonstrated managerial and leadership skills with outstanding project and people management skills including distance management and the ability to influence people who are not under direct management
  • Strong commercial acumen with in-depth knowledge of large scale budget management and cost-saving approaches.
  • Excellent organisational skills with the ability to handle large volumes of work, track multiple projects and support multiple groups and activities at any one time; ability to drive projects to a successful completion.
  • Excellent communication skills and diplomacy; problem-solving and negotiation abilities.
  • Ability to work in a cross-cultural and cross-functional environment.


  • Fluent spoken and written English.
  • Good command of French is an advantage.

Starting date: Late summer 2014
Contract: Permanent Contract (expected minimum commitment of 3 years)
Work time: Full time
Location: Amsterdam, Brussels or Paris preferred
Travel: Willingness to travel up to 50% of the time
Salary: Annual gross salary and benefits will be based on the salary grid of the hosting OC, with a Director level salary.

Deadline for applications: 2 June 2014

Please submit all applications only by email to: stating “DISCS” in the title

Please submit only one file containing your CV and cover letter and name the file with your last name only

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted