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Pfleiderer Case Study

Breaking New Ground in Wood-Based Materials and Operational Purchasing 

Pfleiderer – specialist in wood-based materials – now generates around 1 billion euros per year, despite a turbulent history. Digitisation of business processes has backed Pfleiderer’s recent focus on value-adding product categories. As part of this digitisation, it was necessary to modernise the operational purchasing accordingly. Since 2018, the Netfira Platform has afforded the purchasing team at Pfleiderer tremendous freedom and supported strategic processes. Flexible document recognition through solution modules, automated document flows, and digital supplier connectivity are just some of the benefits afforded by the Netfira Platform. 

The initial situation

Pfleiderer’s purchasing department has a volume of approx. 700 million euros and 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 must lead to considerable simplification of workflows, preferably without the need for repetitive and time-consuming tasks for the operational purchasing team. Pack shared a similar sentiment to many procurement managers in stating, “this is also necessary because with diminishing resources, we have to move larger volumes, and we can only do so with digitalisation.” Pfleiderer hoped to introduce a unified solution across all of the company’s locations worldwide. The initial objective was to fully automate all purchase order confirmations.  

Solution: The Netfira Platform

Netfira provided a workable solution that would relieve employees in the plants without disrupting business partners. The Netfira Platform’s innovative software solution does not require business partners to change their business processes which squashed concerns that the solution would not connect business partners who do not share the same level of digitisation as Pfleiderer.  

The project

The project started with the document processing of five selected suppliers via the Netfira Platform. Early on in the project, the benefit of the Platform was evident thanks to the drastic reduction in manual effort and time. Suppliers were simply asked to send order confirmations to a designated e-mail address rather than directly to the buyer. This allows suppliers to connect to the Netfira Platform without any additional costs, new systems, or change their processes – an uncomplicated supplier connection on both sides.  

 Since October 2018, new suppliers have been onboarded steadily as Pfleiderer increases their use of the Netfira Platform. “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 that must be checked with the support of the Netfira Platform. Manual archiving and 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.  

Results in short form

  • Connection of all relevant suppliers in indirect purchasing
  • Complete automation of 80% of suppliers’ order items
  • No integration of IT resources
  • Making work easier for employees
  • Drastically reduced manual work
  • Minimal error rate 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 fiberboard for furniture and interior fittings. Still, in recent years more and more value-adding categories have been built up. 


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