The Future is now

Pfeifer takes off with Innovation Hub in Innsbruck

The Tyrolean wood-processing family business has firmly established innovation as a core aspect of its overall strategy. The Innovation Hub founded in June 2021 is a clear sign for that. With it, Pfeifer intends to further expand innovation in the European timber industry in the coming years.

Pfeifer has deliberately separated its new location in Bachlechnerstraße from daily business in its Imst headquarters to promote innovative topics. Sharing the location with MPreis, its doors are, however, open for all members of the organisation as well as other network partners. “At our hub, we are looking into new technologies, startups and trends, identify potential and resolutely pursue the latter. We cannot achieve this goal alone. Instead, we would like to build bridges and embody innovation with all our employees,” report Ewald Franzoi, the CFO of Pfeifer. and Head of Innovation Johannes Oberdanner.

Professional trend scouting

The Pfeifer Innovation Team is now complete: Head of Innovation Johannes Oberdanner, Karolin Riedel, Michael Fink, Linda Wawrzyniak and Robert Eller (from left to right).

Following a setup phase, the Innovation Hub team currently consists of five employees. Apart from the experienced manager and innovation expert Johannes Oberdanner, who throws his vast network into the ring, four innovation managers contribute various competences from product development, product management and marketing to process and project management as well as digitisation and sales. Together they are responsible for initialising and coordinating projects relating to service and business models and product innovation along the entire wood value chain. Decision-making frames are determined by the themes of “Building and living in the future” as well as “Wood as a resource and carbon storage medium” that were defined during strategic work. In this context, the Hub's team works closely with other departments within the Pfeifer Group as well as external partners, responding to customer inputs.

Ewald Franzoi

CFO of the Pfeifer Group

“We want to leverage the huge potential of wood as a raw material and carbon storage medium through courage, innovative strength and entrepreneurial spirit together with all our employees and partners. The Innovation Hub provides the necessary space and is a growth zone for new approaches and ideas.”

Timber Valley – a bold vision:

“We want to create an ecosystem with the Hub as the centre in Innsbruck, to which many other organisations can connect. Our goal is to build sustainable networks with universities, startups, accelerators, incubators and corporate ventures,”

says Johannes Oberdanner.

This allows for long-term and sustainable added value to be created – and not only for Pfeifer customers. Wood as a raw material and wood processing also play a key role in society as a whole, enabling the restructuring of the construction and energy sectors and thus the climate turnaround. New technologies, optimised products and a secure supply of raw materials will therefore determine the future success of companies and the ecological impact of the industry. Ewald Franzoi on Pfeifer's pioneering role:

“As the first company in the timber industry that runs its own Innovation Hub, we are establishing a platform for interdisciplinary exchange on important issues concerning the potential of wood as a raw material in the context of the climate crisis. We believe that, despite all the challenges ahead, wood allows for a bright future.”

Johannes Oberdanner

Head of Innovation at the Pfeifer Group

“Our vision aims at establishing a ‘Timber Valley’ right here in Tyrol. We want to create an ecosystem with the Hub as the centre in Innsbruck, to which many other organisations can connect.“

About the Pfeifer Group

The Pfeifer Group is one of the most venerable and competitive companies in the European timber industry, employing some 2,100 employees at 8 locations in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. The family-run company is based in Imst (Tyrol/Austria). At the Group’s fully integrated saw mills, some 4 million cubic metres of timber are processed into sawn timber and profiled timber, concrete formwork panels, formwork beams, cross laminated timber (CLT), glulam, glued solid timber boards as well as pallet blocks, briquettes, pellets and bio power. Customers are served in 90 countries around the world. However, Pfeifer generates some 90 % of its turnover in its European core markets.