Efficiency on rails

Towards sustainable logistics

Pfeifer is promoting e-mobility in internal plant logistics and is shifting incoming and outgoing transport to the railways wherever possible. This promotes efficiency and is good for the environment.

Major trends such as sustainability and digitisation are also triggering fundamental changes in the field of logistics. Pfeifer's management is constantly investing in improvements to the logistics processes, both on-site as well as on the inbound and outbound side in cooperation with freight forwarders and railways. “All volume increases in production require correspondingly efficient logistics,” emphasises Logistics Manager Herbert Stöckl, who is gradually putting the above-mentioned trends into practice. Pfeifer is currently setting an example by conversing from diesel to electric forklifts, which is to be carried out throughout the entire company in the medium term. From autumn 2018, a 16-tons truck was the first vehicle to be put through its paces in Kundl, and several 8- and 16-tons forklifts are now proving their worth in daily use at various locations. “The electric forklifts are more efficient, require less maintenance and are easier to maintain. This enables us to save large amounts of fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions in the plants,” is how Stöckl describes the advantages. The necessary infrastructure, e.g. sufficient charging stations, has already been provided; training for the personnel and ongoing training on the machines accompany the conversion. “We only retain diesel forklifts in exceptional cases, i.e. in those plants where long distances or inclines require and justify their use,” says Stöckl.

Herbert Stöckl (r.) und sein Team steuern sämtliche Logistikprozesse

Herbert Stöckl (r.) and his team manage all logistics processes

Efficiency on rails

Since 2011/12, Pfeifer has relied on environmentally friendly transport by train. In the meantime, about 350 block trains (most of them in the entrance area) are in operation exclusively for the Austrian company every year. In terms of volumes transported, the trend is steeply upward, with further annual increases of 30 to 40 % following 900,000 Tons in 2018. The ability to redirect round timber transports to the locations Unterbernbach, Uelzen or Kundl according to the individual needs makes the Pfeifer Group the leading player in the timber industry in terms of logistics. In the future, rail transport is to be promoted even more, according to Stöckl:

„Ideally, in future all plants will have their own railway siding to deliver round timber and transport processed products. In addition to traffic calming, flexible redistribution and a secure supply of raw materials, the extended loading times also speak clearly in favour of expanding rail connections“

The company management underpins this commitment with investments in existing railway sidings as well as efforts to create new ones.

Electrical forklift trucks prove their worth in daily use at several locations.

Uniform processes

A new logistics centre was set up in Imst by the end of 2019 in order to improve the management of internal processes and establish uniform standards. At the central registration terminal between the three production plants in Imst, the paperwork for incoming and outgoing truck transports is handled from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., while the loading of the goods continues to take place at the respective plants. A positive side-effect of the reorganisation is a noticeable reduction in traffic around the plants. This project marks the successful completion of the Group-wide standardisation of logistics processes that has been planned since 2010/11. Growing numbers of digitalised or automated processes from incoming to outgoing deliveries form the basis of optimised logistics, which require qualified personnel to manage and monitor them. “Our employees are involved in all processes or further developments to ensure that they understand the dimensions in which Pfeifer operates,” explains Stöckl. And these dimensions are considerable:

Every year Pfeifer handles 6 to 7 million tons – only in the outgoing and incoming goods areas. These quantities are moved many times from A to B within the plant area.

Residual wood transport systems at several locations, for example, ensure more relaxed and efficient plant logistics, reducing the number of travel paths and machines on the plant premises.

Herbert Stöckl

Logistic Manager

»We only retain diesel fork lift trucks in exceptional cases, i.e. in those plants where long distances or inclines require and justify their use. «

sustainability in numbers
  • Rail transport 2018: 900,000 t
  • Increase in rail transport 2017 – 2018: 35 %
  • Rail transport estimated for 2020: 1.3 million t