Procurement 4.0

Procurement repositions itself

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The procurement has a special role for the implementation of Industry 4.0. Due to its natural position in the supply chain, the procurement is an active driver of digitization, individualization and autonomy of the product portfolio and related processes in a market that is increasingly dynamic with changing socio-economic and political conditions. It is the interface internally into the company and externally to the partners of the entire supply chain.

As a result, the procurement is developing into a networked Procurement 4.0 enriched with new tasks, which is characterized by the digitization of its internal processes, the design of a modified procurement portfolio consisting of increasingly digital products and services, and by the provision of innovations for the company, which leads to an increase in effectiveness and efficiency for the entire company. It is characterized by agility and ensures individualized customer needs, which are implemented by qualified and sensitized employees.

Get to know the possibilities, potentials, and fields of action of Procurement 4.0 and work with us to determine the individual added value for your company.

Blockchain in Procurement

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The most successful companies of our time make their profits from unconditional exploitation of the potential of their supply network. Many companies are currently pushing ahead with the implementation of applications based on distributed ledger technologies, e. g. blockchain technology. Especially in the field of logistics and its related functional areas, the possibilities of use cases are promising and may lead to profound changes in business processes and a significant increase in efficiency in cross-company collaboration soon. Thanks to its outstanding position in the supply networks, the procurement can actively shape these changes. Modern procurement organizations must see themselves as innovators and actively deal with these potentially disruptive new technological approaches. It is necessary to clarify which added value distributed ledger technologies generate for the procurement and how these can be carried into the company.

Some use cases for procurement are shown below as examples including use cases that already went live:


  • Transparency in the supply chain (Proof of Origin)

Authorities are increasingly demanding proof of origin for products and their components. This requires complete tracking of the components. Blockchain technology can provide security by providing a tamper-proof network for your data that collects information according to your needs and shares it with selected partners.


  • Complete automation of the Procure-to-Pay process

The blockchain allows data to be backed up in real time, enabling analysis of all relevant products, inventories, and the entire supply chain. In this way, stocks can be managed daily, and bottlenecks can be avoided. In addition, companies can control supplier’s compliance with contract conditions based on automated if-then conditions (smart contracts).


  • Incident Forwarding

Today’s supply chain networks are characterized by their high complexity and numerous network participants. If a problem occurs, e. g. in the form of a component defect in a company, it threatens the stability of the entire supply chain. Blockchain technology can help to reduce these mostly unpredictable problems by, for example, capturing status information about components at an early stage and automatically initiating predefined prevention measures. In the event of a damage, its origin can also be clearly traced and claims for compensation can be processed automatically.

From use case to application

Depending on the level of digitalisation of your procurement organisation and the technological know-how, there are different starting points how you can bring blockchain technology into your company.

Our portfolio



You can find a selection of our current projects from the research focus areas of Purchasing & Industry 4.0 here.


Think Tank - Procurement 4.0

The Think Tank Purchasing 4.0 gathers long-standing procurement expertise from leading German companies around one table. Together, the digitalisation progress of procurement is discussed in order to strengthen the strategic role of procurement.


Fraunhofer Procurement 4.0 Check

Do you want to find out where your purchasing department is in the context of Industry 4.0 and what your fields of action are on the way to Procurement 4.0? 

Recent studies and events


Procurement can take on a leadership role

The digital structural change of industry will not be successful without procurement. However, opinions about its role vary widely. They range from »active driver« to »merely supporter«. Therefore, procurement must become more involved in the discussion about Industry 4.0.


Investment concept guide

Digitalisation and Industry 4.0 have a profound and lasting impact on the corporate and working world. As a result of new technological possibilities and the increasing pressure to innovate, companies are forced to take advantage of the opportunities of Industrie 4.0 and quickly turn developed ideas into reality. Support on the way to a digitalised working world is provided by the free guide Investment Concepts from Digital in NRW.


56th BME Symposium Procurement and Logistics DIGITAL

Fraunhofer IML is participating in this year's 56th BME Symposium Purchasing and Logistics DIGITAL and will provide insights into the latest research results of the Think Tank Purchasing 4.0. The topic of this contribution will be the Scorecard 4.0. Together with the BME, we will show you the success factors for "Purchasing 4.0" and how you can use the latest key figures to record the value contribution of purchasing for your company more holistically.


The Think Tank Purchasing 4.0 meets every quarter and offers industry partners from different sectors the opportunity to exchange ideas on current topics in purchasing. Together, new impulses are set and the current challenges of purchasing are looked at. From this, new approaches and solutions are derived that can make future purchasing more effective.


Discover with us how digitalisation in purchasing can be quantified!