When Will I Get My Stuff?

To get the most accurate answer to this question, you must talk to the purchasing staff where you are about what you want to purchase.  But we can give you some idea of what kinds of requests can be completed relatively quickly and what you should expect to take a long time.

Remember that you can make purchases of less than $50 yourself and get reimbursed (or take an advance and purchase them yourself with that cash, then liquidate).   So the following applies only to purchases of $50 or more.

Characteristics of Quick Purchases

If you are requesting items or services that are

    1. Low-cost (under $500)


    2. Available locally (don’t have to be brought from another city or country),


    3. Relatively common products or services (For example, a desktop laser printer is common.  A “Plot Printer” that prints poster-sized sheets of highly-detailed maps and diagrams is less common and might be harder to find).

In an emergency situation you can expect that purchases with these characteristics can be carried out from request to delivery within 2 working days (maybe even the same day).

This is, of course, assuming that there are still shops operating, materials available in them, and basic roads and other infrastructure intact after the emergency.

Characteristics of Purchases that Take a Long Time

As purchase value, quantity, specialty of product, and distance to the supplier increase, so does the time it will take to find and deliver your items or services.

If you are requesting items or services that are

    1. High value (over $5,000),


    2. For large amounts of things (20,000 plastic tarps – or 20,000 of anything, really),


    3. For technical or specialized items or services (e.g. the plot printer mentioned above, or polyethylene pipes of a specific pressure rating and custom size),


    4. For items or services that are not available in the town, region, or country where you are operating.

You should talk with the purchasing department before making any estimate of how long these things will take to be delivered.

When planning your programs’ purchases, also please consider the damage to local infrastructure caused by the emergency to which you are responding.  The worse the roads, airports, and seaports have been damaged, the longer your items and services might take to deliver.