Smart procurement in supply chain

The impact of digital transformation of the procurement functions on supply chain agility

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

To achieve profitable and sustainable growth, supply chains need to adjust rapidly to market conditions (e.g. customer preferences, competitive forces) by predicting and responding to demand especially when it is unplanned. The recent COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for being agile in the marketplace as the pandemic has dramatically accelerated the changes in consumers’ demand. Procurement agility will play an influential role in helping firms’ supply chain management to adapt to the new challenges of an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. By opening the door to new opportunities, procurement agility can help supply chains to react to sudden changes in demand, which can be considered as a characteristic of successful procurement organisations because firms with high performing procurement functions outperform their competitors. Agile procurement can cope with uncertainties in a volatile environment by monitoring the key metrics that measure suppliers’ health. For example, it can help firms to identify an alternative supplier that can be joined quickly to the firms’ supply network when the risk of supplying from the original supplier increases. This can be a call for a supply chain that can effectively adjust to a changing marketplace by seamlessly sourcing from multiple locations.

In recent years, world-class procurement professionals have adequately embraced and driven the digital transformation to respond with changing requirements of their customers, both internally and externally. The adoption of industry 4.0 technologies has transformed the way that procurement operates by enabling procurement functions to identify and explore previously untapped sources of value. For example, accessing supplier data has been a challenging task for firms. Industry 4.0 technologies such as the internet of things (IoT) and cloud-based infrastructure are helping firms to be flexibly responsive by collecting, processing and analysing real-time data from various suppliers within the supply network. In addition, as the need for offering new services and products increases, agile procurement teams with deep knowledge of emerging technologies can help firms to reduce their development time by fostering collaborative relationships with innovative suppliers. This means that digitalisation can be an effective tool of agility.

Since the real challenge in digitalising processes is to integrate technology and insights in a way that is both progressive and supports business needs, this project will investigate how digital transformation of the procurement functions can improve firms’ supply chain agility.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Hadi Rezaei Vandchali


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Good understanding of supply chain management and procurement functions
  • Evidence of high level written and communication skills expected for doctoral study
  • Good analytical skills
  • Work or research experience in supply chain management

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Good knowledge of Industry 4.0 technologies and big data analytics

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Hadi Rezaei Vandchali to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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