Pfeifer Holz plans to further streamline its logistics

Introducing Transporeon, the timber group optimised its processes and allows cost-effective rotations for carriers

Pfeifer Holz plans to further streamline its logistics

In the timber industry, logistics costs are an enormous factor. Low goods value and long transport distances make the freight the second highest cost factor – after the raw material and even before wage costs. This is why the Pfeifer Group, based in Imst, Tyrol, initiated a comprehensive project to lower logistics costs already in the year 2008. The main pillar was the introduction of a web based platform called Transporeon, which Pfeifer uses today to manage commissioning and shipping of products such as shuttering panels, pallet blocks, formwork beams and sawn timber at its seven production plants.

The biggest leverage for the European market leader of shuttering panels was centralising and optimising its transport commissioning, and the introduction of a time window management for goods issue. “During the past years, we achieved enormous savings in terms of logistics costs, which had a very positive effect on our total results“, explained Michael Pfeifer, Executive Director at Pfeifer. “The main share was directly or indirectly resulting from the use of the Transporeon platform.“

Prior to introducing the IT-based order-commissioning, disposition with Pfeifer was decentralised: Every plant commissioned its own carriers on the phone or by fax. Detailed information on the transport, such as loading guidelines were sent afterwards. It is obvious that the about 20 dispatchers referred to a certain number of carriers they knew well – who were not always the less expensive providers. Approximately 50 companies carried out all transportations at that time.

Thus it was a fist move for Pfeifer to centralise and digitalise disposition of all branches in Imst (Austria) and Unterbernbach (Germany). Today the orders are managed in the company’s ERP system, and transferred automatically via an interface to the Transporeon platform. Dispatchers also define the process of order commissioning: “no-touch order“ forwards the transport orders automatically according to their volume, region and required special vehicles to suitable forwarders. The “best carrier“-option allows all Pfeifer carriers to submit an offer for the transport, from which a dispatcher can choose.

The advantage of both processes is, that transport orders are commissioned through an efficient process, according to objective criteria. At the same time Pfeifer is able to work with a larger pool of freight carriers.

“Digital transport commissioning had positive effects on our costs in many respects“, says Herbert Stöckl, Logistics Manager, Pfeifer Group. “The objective commissioning and the use of ‘best carrier’ reduced the average freight costs. Moreover we are working with approximately 450 carriers today, 300 of them for goods issue, where we can find less expensive offers. Also, the more efficient process resulted in savings: Previously 20 dispatchers managed about 50,000 charges per year, while today six employees are managing almost 100,000 charges, including about 8,000 standard container shipments and 2,500 intermodal transports. The free personnel capacity is now available for our other projects.“

Herbert Stöckl is planning several development programs together with Transporeon, e.g. for goods income: “The structure is still decentralised. Carriers collecting round timber from the woods are real specialists. In this sector, however, not even every company is connected to the internet. This makes it quite difficult to optimise processes there.“

This is why the Pfeifer company is testing if the new Transporeon app might bring improvements here. The app could help accept freight orders via smartphone, and to implement real-time tracking. Herbert Stöckl is convinced about the cooperation with Transporeon: “We will continue our strategy and seize every opportunity to streamline processes and reduce costs with Transporeon as one of our most important partners.“