Studies & Publications

Procurement can take on a leadership role

BME Vorstudie Einkauf 4.0

Fraunhofer IML and BME present new study on the digitalisation of procurement

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". Procurement must therefore become more involved in the discussion about Industry 4.0. As an innovation scout and expert for technology and management, it will then also be heard. These are the key findings of the study "Digitalisation of procurement - Purchasing 4.0" by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML and the German Association for Materials Management, Procurement and Logistics (BME). (BME). Between August 2015 and April 2016, a total of 25 purchasing managers and CPOs from well-known industrial companies and representatives from two universities were surveyed.

Key survey results:

Strong internal and external networking is the measure of all things if Industry 4.0 is to be developed successfully. While networking within the company affects all departments equally, Procurement in particular is challenged with external networking. The exchange of know-how with other companies and organisations is what makes it possible to profit from the advantages of digitalisation. Procurement is the driver of external networking and bears full responsibility here. It has a decisive role to play in the implementation of Industry 4.0: it must bring the innovations and technologies into the company so that it can successfully master the fourth industrial revolution.

Procurement must be able to react in real time in the future. This is only possible if it has digitalised its processes as far as possible beforehand.

Procurement must manage an increasingly digitalised procurement portfolio. Not only the Procurement processes, but also the products to be procured are subject to the change of digitalisation.

Operational purchasing processes can be almost completely digitalised. They do not have to be handled by an employee; new technologies and e-solutions take care of that. Strategic Procurement then only controls and monitors these processes. This means that operational Procurement is a discontinued model.

The demands and expectations on strategic Procurement are growing and with them the demand for an increased value contribution.

The job description of the Procurement is changing fundamentally. His traditional role is passé. He is becoming a digital interface manager internally and externally.

Technologies create many new opportunities for companies, but they do not replace personal relationships. Especially in Procurement, personal contacts with suppliers and internal customers remain an important basis.

Procurement does not bear the overall responsibility for the implementation of Industry 4.0 - yet it plays a decisive role.

The current study is the starting point for further, detailed investigations on the topic of Procurement 4.0. To this end, BME and Fraunhofer IML have founded a think tank as a source of experience and ideas. The task of this group of experts is to compile empirical values from previous practice and to determine the requirements for Procurement associated with the advancing digitalisation of the economy.


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Investment concept guide

© Fraunhofer IML

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.

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56th BME Symposium Procurement and Logistics DIGITAL


Fraunhofer IML is taking part in this year's 56th BME Symposium Procurement and Logistics DIGITAL and will provide insights into the latest research results of the Think Tank Procurement 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 "Procurement 4.0" and how you can use the latest key figures to record the value contribution of Procurement for your company more holistically.

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

Discover with us how digitalisation in Procurement can be quantified!