New Pfeifer Product conquers the market
With the start of production of CLT in Schlitz, Pfeifer is positioning itself as a full-range supplier in the field of constructive wood building materials. This step entails major challenges for production, logistics and sales, which are being tackled with state-of-the-art equipment and IT, synergies between the locations and the most important resource – namely competent specialists.
Just in time for the summer of 2019, the production facilities at the Schlitz location were commissioned for trial operation to obtain all the necessary certifications and provide important feedback for fine tuning at all levels. At the same time, the sales team accepted first orders for the latest addition to the Pfeifer product range, which was tailored to the customers' needs in the newly created technical office in Schlitz. By the end of 2019, the
first CLT panels were ready to leave the plant heading towards construction sites. With the sales launch, 55 new quality jobs have been created in Schlitz, the production volume in the first expansion phase is designed for 50,000 m³ CLT annually. Due to the great potential of cross laminated timber, there are already plans for a further expansion.
“We cannot reinvent CLT, but we want to convince our customers with good product quality and reliable processing,” emphasises Bernd Gusinde, Technical Sales Manager in Schlitz. Thus the proven Pfeifer virtues are also reflected in the CLT: first-class coverage of the market requirements for a load-bearing timber construction component; efficient and cost-optimised production using state- of-the-art production plants; leanest possible handling through IT-supported processes with simultaneous top customer service and on-time delivery. Due to the intensive support and project-related order processing involving the CLT material, it was necessary to set up a separate Technical Office, which also handles work preparation in direct proximity to the production facilities. Under the leadership of Bernd Gusinde, the appropriate infrastructure was established in the run-up to the start of production in order to optimise projects internally and generate orders as efficiently as possible. “In order to receive order information and design documents from our customers we need CAD know-how in work preparation. Based on this, we have to create, among other things, loading plans, provide customers with release plans in the form of individual part drawings and develop the control system for our joinery plant,” the timber construction expert explains.
Ideally, the customer would already provide much of this information in a well-prepared form, but in practice, and especially for smaller orders, it is expected that these services would to a certain extent be provided in-house. When it comes to larger projects and more complex de- signs, a network of specialised partner offices handles the professional preparation of the documents for the customer.
In order to ensure rapid market entry, the existing network and sales structures, especially from the area of constructive timber products such as glulam (BSH) and solid wood panels (MHP), will be used. As CLT is a product requiring intensive customer advice and relevant topics such as statics, building physics and assembly have to be explained to a certain extent by the manufacturer, an increase in personnel was made to provide competent support in the market.
This team provides technical information, prepares pre-dimensioning and design proposals, gives processing instructions and clarifies technical production options.
For one, I see myself as a classic product manager: I coordinate all product-related activities involving Pfeifer CLT internally and externally to ensure the desired market success.This includes creating product strategies in coordination with the management, product marketing as well as advertising, planning and accompanying product development, among others together with research entities, universities and trade associations.
Furthermore, my tasks include active market research and analysing customer demands, closely monitoring the competition and supporting the Sales Department with key accounts and customer events as well as consulting activities with architects and engineers. On the other hand, I take care of establishing and heading the Technical Office and Technical Sales Departments when it comes to product consultation, calculations and order processing.
Due to the central location of the CLT plant in Germany, the sales department focuses mainly on the German market, while Austria, Italy and Switzerland are also addressed. The existing Pfeifer customer structure makes it easier to enter these countries. In the mid-term, our European neighbours such as France and the BeNeLux states, but also Great Britain and Scandinavia will move into focus. Inquiries from Australia and the USA show just how international the CLT product is, even before sales launch. The developments in these countries, in Eastern Europe, Asia and overseas are being closely monitored.
The operation of a CLT production system relies on secure and high-quality raw material supply. Together with our Lauterbach-based sawmill as a supplier, Pfeifer has created a perfect synergy which offers enormous advantages in terms of efficiency and material yield, as well as guaranteeing consistent quality assurance. At Lauterbach, regional wood is cut in the quality and quantity we require and is delivered pre-sorted using the shortest possible route. The raw material from Lauterbach is mostly dried in Schlitz.
Location Lauterbach & Location Schlitz.