Implementing Industry 4.0 technologies: Future roles in purchasing and supply management

Vincent Delke*, Holger Schiele, Wolfgang Buchholz, Stephen Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Technological advancements associated with Industry 4.0 drive a paradigm shift with economic and social consequences where digitalization, robotization, and other emerging technologies reshape the interconnection between organizations. Critical areas that need to adapt to the change are inter-organizational buyer-supplier relationships managed by Purchasing and Supply Management (PSM) professionals. That is, their future responsibilities and skills are likely to change. Introducing the concept of specialized roles to summarize needed competencies, this research conducted a real-time Delphi study using an internet-based platform involving 47 procurement experts. As a result, the roles of the Data Analyst, Master Data Manager, Process Automation Manager, Supplier Onboarding Manager, System Innovation Scout, and Legislation Specialist were identified as essential Industry 4.0 PSM roles. For these roles, the probability of their occurrence, industry impact, desirability, and level of industry adoption are assessed. Based on emerging technologies in PSM and adopting a human-centered perspective, this research shows the need to focus on talent development to enable a technology-driven revolution. Thus, the contributions lay in the literature on Industry 4.0 and the PSM skills and capabilities domain, highlighting the required roles for Smart Working and effective Smart Supply Chains management as parts of the digital transformation journey.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122847
JournalTechnological forecasting and social change
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


  • Competencies
  • Forecasting
  • Industry 4.0
  • Purchasing and supply management
  • Roles
  • Smart working
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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