Using Blockchain to create paperless processes to streamline and secure procurement


Hitachi, a global technology giant based in Japan, has partnered with its Service Delivery Division to tackle inefficiencies in procurement processes. They created the Electronic Signature Service (ESS), a pioneering platform that uses Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to streamline and secure contract management. The platform’s core mission is to digitize the paper-based contract processes that are deemed as inefficient by Hitachi’s procurement divisions, which handle contracts with thousands of business partners globally.

The platform builds trust into the system by using blockchain to ensure that digital documents remain original and untampered with throughout multiple transfers and processing steps.
In summary, Hitachi’s Electronic Signature Service is a game-changing solution designed to modernize and secure procurement processes. It offers a more efficient, trustworthy, and environmentally friendly approach to contract management, setting a new standard not just for Hitachi but potentially for the broader business community.


A blockchain is a distributed ledger that guarantees immutability of data as well as traceability and transparency of the information that is being recorded. If a malicious party tries to modify an information, all the other parties will know it and see the malicious attempt. Whenever an action is initiated, all the parties know what is happening. In the context of the Electronic Signature Service, blockchain ensures that every party will know who affixed a signature, when and which document was signed. It also prevents attempts to temper with the signature. Below is an illustration of how this works:

Image source: Hitachi’s website

When is this Electronic Signature Service useful?

Many industries, such as Supply Chain involves many participants in the process. From suppliers to carriers and other middlemen, traditional paper-based process or centralized systems do not allow for transparency and traceability of “who did what and when”. However, with blockchain, participants do not need to worry about malicious actors or trust issues. As everything is recorded on this immutable and transparent ledger, nobody can cheat. The following image illustrates how different parties involved in supply chain processes interact in a transparent way.

Image source: Hitachi’s website

Benefits & Outcomes
  • Reduce the time needed to process contracts
  • Eliminate paper-based system
  • Increase trust for digital systems and remote work
  • Increasing efficiency
  • Enhance security to ensure integrity and security of digital contracts
  • Reduce costs by eliminating expenses related to paper-based process
Further Info

The Electronic Signature Service resulted in:

  •  a 20% increase in contract cases managed per month in one of Hitachi’s division
  • a projected labor savings of 1,225 person-hours per month
  • a reduced mailing and paper costs
  • an increased ability for remote work

According to Hitachi the Electronic Signature Service works like this:

  • A client uploads a PDF needing signature to Hitachi’s private cloud environment
  • The client registers their signature image
  • The solution adds the signature image to the document and records data (time, date, and operation history) to Hitachi’s Hyperledger Fabric-backed blockchain environment
  • The Adobe Approved Trust List (AATL) signatures are added to the contract
  • The signatures and keys get verified
  • The client downloads the signed contract downloaded

Project is live. Research by Alexandre on November 2023.

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