Berneck is the largest wood-based panel exporting company in Brazil. With an average export volume of 3,500+ containers per month across 60 countries, the company serves industries like furniture, construction, automotive, electronics, and packaging.
Berneck aims to build vigorous and lasting bonds with customers, suppliers, and society with more than 70 years of continuous investments in new technologies, strict quality control, and developing new applications for more versatile and renewable wood products.
As the company grew, the team in charge of exports needed a scalable solution to replace a costly and inefficient legacy system that made scaling difficult and tracking orders and lead times nearly impossible.
Challenges: department waste and inflating costs
Karine Correa — international trade supervisor at Berneck — was responsible for overseeing export operations and managing a team of over 15 people. For total monthly orders of 150 or less, Karine and her team were able to control and monitor operations using advanced Excel.
But when orders doubled, their Excel spreadsheets sheets were no longer enough to accurately estimate lead time, keep track of document deadlines, and organize the influx of information.
As a result, new bottlenecks formed and became harder to identify, and the company frequently paid onerous fees for missing documentation deadlines when shipping to China — their largest importer — and other countries.
As operations continued to scale, it became clear that managing orders through their existing process management methods was not sustainable. As costs inflated, the company also needed to standardize logistics expenses to lower high booking and detention expenses.
The team's inability to measure lead time, a critical metric for the export operations process, made it difficult to share information with other employees and evaluate team performance.
Karine also often struggled with measuring and tracking the booking process because she “didn’t know exactly where to find the information [she] needed” due to the booking operation being manually managed via email communications.
Other obstacles the team faced with the previous method included:
- Frequently missed deadlines
- Missing process documentation
- Lack of visibility into the exports operations process
- Each analyst unintentionally acting as information gatekeepers
- Department waste due to manual processes, such as time-consuming rework and chasing after information
The journey to an automated and lean operation
The benefit of a no-code process automation platform is that technical optimization capabilities are democratized and made accessible to any business user, not just the IT team. It’s also a useful tool for teams wanting to streamline, centralize, standardize, and gain visibility into their business processes — which is exactly what Karine’s team needed.
Within four months of using Pipefy, Karine saw major improvements thanks to Pipefy’s intuitive visual interface which organized, streamlined, and made viewing information from a single centralized place easy — but something was still missing.
Not long after using Pipefy, Karine learned about the Lean Six Sigma methodology. She quickly realized that there were some additional operational issues and gaps at Berneck that could be improved by adopting both no-code automation and a culture of continuously improving, eliminating any kind of waste, and adding value to the customers.
With the Pipefy team by her side, she was able to enhance the benefits of no-code automation by adopting Lean practices.
Results: streamlined workflows, avoided late fees, and more visibility
One year after implementing the Lean transformation and using Pipefy as a Lean management tool, Karine and her team retired their extensive use of Excel and centralized operations into a single platform. This led to results like:
- 90% less waste in the logistics department
- Automated 46% of their email communications
- Eliminated 3,000 manually drafted emails per quarter with Pipefy’s email templates and automation
- 10,080 hours saved per quarter with automation
- ROI of 270%
- Systemic control of expenses and no more missed deadline fees
- Improved team morale
- Smarter and more accurate data-driven strategies
- Better communication between the exports team and the company
As a result of the newly automated and streamlined exports process, Berneck significantly cut costs, gained operational savings, and is now saving thousands a year by preventing late fees with SLA tracking and automatic deadline notifications.
And with Pipefy’s customizable dashboards and reports, Karine and her team gained the visibility and traceability they needed to accurately measure team performance and track and report lead time. The team can now visualize lead time and easily generate reports to see how many confirmations each employee is sending and easily compare how much time an order takes in a phase, resulting in a 31% decrease in lead time. Best of all, information is now easily viewed and digested from Pipefy’s intuitive interface.
Today, processes are standardized and optimized, team morale is up, information is seamlessly shared between teams, orders are easily tracked, and the team is able to make more strategic and accurate data-driven decisions.