Pfleiderer Case Study

Wood-Based Materials Are Innovative Here – Operational Purchasing Is Also Up To Date 

There is a lot going on at Pfleiderer – the specialist for wood-based materials now generates sales of around 1 billion euros per year after a turbulent history. The focus on value-adding product categories is supported by digitalisation. It was necessary to modernise the operational purchasing accordingly. Pfleiderer has been using the Netfira Platform since 2018. Through solution modules for flexible document recognition, automated document flows and digital supplier connectivity, the purchasing team has gained enormous freedom swaying the strategic processes.

The initial situation

Purchasing with a volume of approx. 700 million euros is divided into three strategic areas: wood purchase, direct purchasing (paper, chemistry, energy) and indirect purchasing (everything from ballpoint pens to chipboard presses). Josef Pack, Head of Procurement at Pfleiderer, stated that “we can no longer miss the topic of digitalisation.” Digitisation, however, must lead to considerable simplification of work, preferably without the need for analogous work in operational purchasing. “This is also necessary because with ever smaller resources, we have to move ever larger volumes, and we can only do so with digitalisation,” Pack confirms his motivations. A unified solution should be introduced at all of the company’s locations, which also meant a solution that can be used in the respective languages. The first goal was to fully automate all order confirmations.

Solution: The Netfira Platform

Pfleiderer was looking for a workable solution that would relieve employees in the plants. Head of Procurement Josef Pack was concerned that the solution would not connect business partners who are not yet on the same level of digitisation as Pfleiderer, because “digitalisation is only possible if both partners can do it”. The Netfira Platform’s innovative software solution does not require business partners to change their business processes which made the solution favourable to Pfleiderer.

The project

In the beginning, the project started with the document processing of five selected suppliers via the Netfira system. It was convincing to see that a lot of manual effort and thus a lot of time can be saved. The suppliers were informed by e-mail that the order confirmations will no longer be sent to the buyers, but to a special e-mail address. In this way, there are no costs for the suppliers, no new system is required, and the suppliers do not have to change their processes – an uncomplicated supplier connection on both sides.

Since October 2018, suppliers have been continuously connected in increments of ten. “Everything is going wonderfully,” says project manager and purchasing expert Klaus Bechtold. In operational purchasing, only the order confirmations are now visible, for which there are deviations and which must be checked. Manual archiving and thus a physical storage of order confirmations are no longer necessary.

“With Netfira, we have gained an innovation partner with whom we can develop further together,” concludes Bernd Eichinger, Purchasing Director Indirect.

Results in short form

  • Connection of all relevant suppliers in indirect purchasing
  • Complete automation of 80% of suppliers’ order lines
  • No integration of IT resources
  • Making work easier for employees
  • No more manual work
  • Error rate drastically reduced compared to manual input
  • Smooth, fast and predictable implementation of the Netfira solution
  • More time for strategic tasks

About Pfleiderer

Pfleiderer Deutschland GmbH is a manufacturer of wood-based materials with eight locations in Germany and Poland, five of which are located in Germany and three in Poland. In total, it employs about 3,500 people. The company’s core business is in the area of chipboard and fibreboard for furniture and interior fittings, but in recent years more and more value-adding categories have been built up. Today, the company records around 1 billion sales per year.

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