'Chiefs Of the Service Can Finally Send Back Bad Products'. Diana Petrenia's interview to 'Gazeta po-Ukrains'ki'

— In 2017, 23 new military units have been converted to new food supply system. And this is about 17 000 servicemen. This year in October – 50 more units. Almost 60 000 servicemen can now feel the outcome of the reform. And this is almost half of the military men, eligible for army food supply. I expect that in 2020 we will spread the changes to the whole army, – says Head of the Reform’s Project Office of the Ministry of Defence Diana Petrenya, 39.


What is the percentage of combat units, converted to the new food supply system?

— In 2017, 19 non-combat units and installations (polygons, training facilities) and 4 combat units. This is 79th Landing and Assault Brigade, 19th separate rocket brigade, 3rd and 8th separate special forces regiments. And there are peculiarities. One thing when supply truck cannot reach a University, another – when it cannot reach the contact line. We were trying not to harm our boys at the front line. 

At the end of this year we successfully launched in 50 military units. And there is only 11 logistic units. The rest are combat units. We have observed how it worked last year, what were the obstacles. Before you test the process in the field, you will not understand the peculiar “local” problem. 

50 Units launched, despite sabotage attempts of “technical” companies, which blocked tender procedures, filing claims into Antimonopoly committee. Problem was solved only after meeting of the President with the Head of Antimonopoly committee. Claims began to be resolved almost immediately. 

In the internet previously and quite often there were negative comments about food supply. With photo proofs.

— We are trying to react fast about this information. Reform still covers only 73 units. 

If people were poisoned – this is a huge scandal. They have to be hospitalized immediately. Servicemen has to write down a report. Medical personnel will do the same. I know that I can hear that “We will be under pressure!” and “This report will cause nothing!”. However, without it everybody will think and see that all is good here!

It is also necessary to contact the hotline of the Ministry of Defence. Each canteen has to have a poster with contact details. This gives a reason to send a commission with specialists. And only after that it is okay to post on Facebook and draw attention to the issue. 

Is it beneficial for Ukraine to switch all military units to the new food supply system?

— This will be as let’s say cinditions in Artek (scout camp), where a wide range of products and buffet items. Old system instead is like pioneer camp “Chaika” (Seagull) – does not allow it. 

Besides, there will be huge difference in the quality of cooking. It is important, because same macaroons could be cooked good, or left on the stove for 20 minutes and become a glue. 

Last year cost of new food supply system was approximately the same, as with the old one. This year it will be more expensive at the rate of 10-15%. But this is money that will provide health and positive morale of the servicemen. 

When brigade returns to the place of permanent dislocation (home base), do servicemen remain on new food supply system?

— Yes, of course. New system – is for the unit. It does not matter where it is located – in the Homebase, at polygon, or at the zone of Joint operation forces. When 79th was at the front line, some of the servicemen still were in Mykolaiv. They also were fed in the new system. 

Before, main benefits where for three companies, which covered whole area of Ukraine. Is it profitable for entrepreneurs to participate in tenders?

— Now, companies will only supply products to the military installations. We are buying possibility to order any products from a catalogue from the 400 items in the list – this is an electronic catalogue. Thus, companies will only need to put products in the truck and bring them to the gates of military installation. Head of the food supply will check the quality and relevant certificates, and that’s it. 

Is it beneficial for the business? At present, 7 entrepreneurs are serving 23 units, since last year. It means that this is profitable. 

Is there a competition between suppliers?

— Yes, there is much less companies that can provide full outsource than companies that can provide products. That’s why now there appearing more or less healthy competition. 

What can get in the way for the reform before 2020 to the scale of whole Armed Forces?

— There is a doubts whether we should implement the system with military cooks at the warehouses, or in logistic support unit with small staff. 6 cooks per 20 servicemen – that’s wrong. So we are looking for the options to establish economic food supply via catalogue. 

At present, need of the Ministry of Defence are funded at the level of 65%. But expenditures for food supply is secured budget line, so it will be fully funded. 

How the quality of food is guaranteed?

— We administering all the processes, from the point of truck coming to the gates and to the point of waste disposal. And this is important. At each of the stages there is a person, who is responsible. It was all absent with the old system. 

We know all about our cooks: where have they studied, what is their health and how do they cook. In the same way we are controlling serving personnel. We can do inspections. We have a system of electronic warehouses, where we see the balance of what’s left. 

The food supply service is really being reborn. Chiefs of the service can finally send back bad products. It was impossible with the old outsourcing system. 

How do you see your role after 2020?

— I really hope for the end of the war. Then I will finish my job here in Ministry of Defence. 

As a volunteer she cared about assault brigade.

Diana Petrenya was born in Mykolaiv. Finished local agricultural Universlity. Before the war she worked in IT business, was private entrepreneur.

Since spring of 2014 – a volunteer in the fund “Wings of Phoenix” in Mykolaiv. She personally took care about 79th Landing and assault brigade that stationed in Mykolaiv. 

In the November of the same year she joined volunteer landing party in the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

Since June of 2018 she is a head of Reform’s Project Office. 

She likes to read “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach, loves utopia of Stryhatsky brothers and distopia by Haruki Murakami. Fan of the British bands Pink Floyd, Queen and Muse. 

Military personnel was not allowed to get involved with the menu.

In the old food supply system military kitchen were served by private firms. They themselves procured products and prepared food for the servicemen. 

New system – is to feed by the catalogue. Products are being procured through publick procurement system “Prozorro”. Suppliers only deliver products to the military installations. They are further taken by the food supply service. Trained military cooks prepare food. 

Among the units that prepare food themselves – 72nd Black Zaporozhtsi brigade, 25th air assault brigade 36th Marines, 80th landing and assault, 24th King Danylo brigade, 169th training centre Desna and other units. 

Source. Author: Oleksiy Gordeev.