Emergency buying 2. How to buy faster

Engage with and support suppliers

Support existing suppliers and identify new ones to work with during an emergency

Why it’s important

Managing supplier relationships is even more important during an emergency. As well as working with existing suppliers under difficult circumstances, buyers may need to approach, evaluate and contract new suppliers in a matter of days or weeks.

At the same time buyers have important responsibilities to ensure suppliers are qualified, financially viable and able to supply what they say they will.

What it means

At the beginning of any emergency situation you should:

  • contact your existing suppliers and discuss any challenges they are facing, for example sourcing components from their supply chain
  • share information openly about what you are planning to buy and if you are planning to use emergency procedures
  • invite new suppliers who may not have worked with government before to register on your supplier database
  • be clear with suppliers if you are using accelerated or emergency buying procedures and when contracts will revert to normal
  • look at how to speed up supplier registration and reduce red tape

During an emergency you should also:

  • consider whether you can use existing suppliers to provide services in a different way, for example by using technology suppliers to provide medical equipment to hospitals
  • consult suppliers on whether they can repurpose existing products or services to meet emergency needs
  • consider using international suppliers if needs cannot be met locally

To help support suppliers during an emergency you should:

  • provide extensions if an emergency has impacted their ability to deliver in the original timeframe
  • avoid terminating contracts, instead look into how modifications can be made to support delivery
  • adjust payment schedules to pay suppliers faster once an invoice is submitted
  • use government-issued purchase cards or ‘procurement cards’ to enable instant payments, up to a reasonable limit

Do’s and don’ts


  • contact suppliers at the beginning of an emergency to discuss any challenges they are facing
  • encourage new suppliers to register with you
  • provide extensions or other forms of relief to help suppliers during an emergency


  • do not terminate a contract during an emergency without first considering all the alternatives