With its new B2B service portal, the Pfeifer Group extends its leading role in the European timber industry to the field of technology ownership. From the first quarter of 2020 customers will have the chance to access detailed information on Pfeifer products in a designated and secured area, order online and trace the entire order process in real time. Around the clock and in a responsive manner on all front-end devices.
For instance, they can order an entire truck load of EUROBLOCK pallet blocks in various dimensions on the internet, and have the appropriate amount of packaging timber be delivered. Any time, from office or the comfort of one’s own home. Science fiction? Not at all, it’s actually a requirement in our modern world and Pfeifer’s B2B service portal makes all this possible. And yet, this electronic platform for all Pfeifer customers is more than a classic online shop. “Pfeifer will remain a partner to retailers. Our B2B portal is not intended for end customers,” the Pfeifer Group’s Marketing Manager and person responsible for the project, Florian Singer, stresses. And continues: “In its functions, however, it won't lag behind private customer solutions. This portal allows us to significantly upgrade our service level. Nevertheless, it won't replace our field and office contact persons. On the contrary: For both our Sales Department and the customers, it will make the offer process, order processing and administration easier, more transparent and allow for full online traceability.” The portal for the product categories pallet blocks and packaging timber is scheduled to launch in January 2020, following an extensive testing and optimisation phase (which is already underway), with EUROBLOCK products. Gradually, the service offer is supposed to be extended to the entire product portfolio.
Existing and new customers get access to a secured customer area using a user name and password. There, they use a few clicks to obtain detailed information on Pfeifer products and can view and download all communication media such as brochures, product data, photos, videos and more and can also order samples, for instance. The portal’s in-depth service quality begins with information on the availability of products at all eight locations and customer-specific pricing including calculation of expected shipping costs. All of that works online, without having to use telephones or e-mails, and in real time. Common, shop navigation similar to B2C solutions as well as a visually appealing user interface guide the user through the entire shopping process. Once the order has been placed and/or the goods delivered, the customer can trace the order history in the self-service area or place a follow-up order. On top of that, customers have access to all documents regarding order processing – from delivery notes to invoices – and can download them, if needed. Inquiries and appointment requests can also be sent via this platform.
CEO of the Pfeifer Holding
“Our B2B service portal merges the analogue world of the timber industry with digital innovation. This simplicity of access for customers will become a competitive factor in the future – the B2B area included.”
The new B2B portal comprises a separate website that is linked to the Pfeifer website www.pfeifergroup.com. The underlying commerce software is provided by the renowned supplier Spryker Systems GmbH from Berlin (D). It offers a first-class industry solution. Florian Singer explains the technical base for the user interface: “Essentially, the portal maps the entire sales process – standardised by customer groups. The Spryker system is connected to our existing inventory management system and communicates with it.“ Accordingly, the team didn't have a finished shop system at its disposal, but instead had to tailor the software to the firm’s own requirements and those of the existing customers: “Spryker’s B2B suite is extremely flexible, meets highest demands in terms of data and system security, speed and quality management. Its B2B functions are state-of-the-art, even when applied to our complex product range. What’s more, the software fully meets our interface requirements. It communicates with the Pfeifer inventory management system and collates order process information in real time. The respective adjustments to the software module were done by our partnering web agency TOWA.”
This range of services and functional depth in a B2B portal makes the Pfeifer Group a true pioneer in the timber industry. Internally, the project was created by the IT Department and the Sales Department in unison and developed in the framework of the “Pfeifer 4.0” future project. Now, the time has come to implement it. Ewald Franzoi, CFO of the Pfeifer Holding and the person responsible for finance, personnel and IT, uses concrete facts and figures to explain the motivation behind this development leap: “The Millenials are coming! Today, almost half of all B2B decision makers or decision shapers are less than 35 years old, have grown up with the Internet and search engines and are more than familiar with digital research. 90 % of B2B buyers search for key words on the Internet, 42 % also use their mobile devices in their B2B purchasing process. 74 % prefer information from the Internet. Digitisation leads to radical changes in B2B sales. Our new portal pays tribute to these developments.”
CFO of the Pfeifer Holding
“Today, almost half of all B2B decision makers or decision shapers are less than 35 years old, have grown up with the Internet and search engines and are more than familiar with digital research.”
In his role as Chief of Sales, CEO Michael Pfeifer talks about opportunities and a win-win situation: “Our B2B service portal merges the analogue world of the timber industry with digital innovation. Information on our products are now easy to access on the Internet, interaction with our customers greatly facilitated. This simplicity of access for customers will become a competitive factor in the future – the B2B area included. We now complement our high level of analogue customer care convenience provided by our office and field staff with contemporary digital service quality. The automation of data exchange offers significant benefits for all those involved in the value creation chain.” On top of that, the entire business model is up for scrutiny in the digital world: “This provides us with valuable input for our quality management processes and constant improvement of our customer service.”