Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) is one of the well-known techniques of quality management that is used for continuous improvements in product or process designs. While applying this technique, determining the risk priority numbers, which indicate the levels of risks associated with potential problems, is of prime importance for the success of application. These numbers are generally attained from past experience and engineering judgments, and this way of risk assessment sometimes leads to inaccuracies and inconsistencies during priority numbering. Fuzzy logic approach is preferable in order to remove these deficiencies in assigning the risk priority numbers. In this study, a fuzzy-based FMEA is to be applied first time to improve the purchasing process of a public hospital. Results indicate that the application of fuzzy FMEA method can solve the problems that have arisen from conventional FMEA, and can efficiently discover the potential failure modes and effects. It can also provide the stability of process assurance. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.