How Berneck Earned an ROI of 270 % with Lean Practices and Pipefy Automation

Learn how Berneck was able to retire the extensive use of Excel and significantly cut back on operational costs using Lean practices and Pipefy.

“I really love the tool, even the visual look and feel. I always end up recommending it to anyone I can.”

Karine Correa, international trade supervisor at Berneck and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt

Challenge:

Berneck’s operations were scaling and the company was struggling to manage their orders through the previous process management methods. The company also needed to standardize logistics’ expenses and lower their costs.

Major struggles with the previous method:

  • Deadlines were frequently missed 
  • The processes weren’t documented 
  • It was nearly impossible to measure lead time 
  • Each analyst unintentionally acted as an information gatekeeper 
  • Their Booking and Detention expenses were high and the math wasn’t  adding up 
  • There were different types of waste in the department such as rework, motion and time

Solution:

By adopting Lean practices and implementing Pipefy, Berneck was able to retire the extensive use of Excel, significantly cut back operational costs and continuously improve. Soon after the transformation, they were able to:

  • Standardize and optimize processes 
  • Automate 46% of emails 
  • Increase team morale 
  • Keep track of their deadlines 
  • Generate reports to measure progress 
  • Gain systemic control of their expenses 
  • Build stronger strategies based on accurate data
  • Share information with the team and the company.

Operational savings gained with Pipefy:

  • 270% ROI
  • Lead time reduced by 31%
  • 10,080 hours saved per quarter with automation 
  • 90% less waste in the department

The context


Berneck is the largest exporter of wood in Brazil, ranks ninth in the country for exportation per volume and is one of the largest national lumber providers. On average, Berneck ships 2,000 containers per month across 46 countries, China being their largest importer.

Karine Correa, Berneck’s international trade supervisor, is responsible for overseeing export operations and managing a team of over 15 people. When orders were under 150 per month, Karine was able to control and monitor operations using advanced Excel. However,when Berneck’s orders doubled, the automated Excel sheets were no longer enough to accurately estimate lead time, keep track of document deadlines and organize the influx of information. 

Consequently, new bottlenecks were forming and were harder to identify, and the company frequently paid onerous fees for missing documentation deadlines when shipping to China and other countries.

Pipefy
Pipefy

Within a quarter of Pipefy usage, Berneck experienced major improvements. The company gained significant operational savings with automation and accumulated more savings by preventing different fees. 

Not long after using Pipefy, Karine started studying Lean Six Sigma and found out that Berneck had some operational issues that could be solved and improved by adopting the Lean culture.

Lean was created by the Toyota Engineer Taiichi Ohno in order to rebuild their manufactory post World War II. The culture behind this philosophy is to continuously improve by eliminating any kind of waste and adding value to the customers. And that is exactly the gap Karine needed to fill in at Berneck.

After a year of implementing the Lean transformation and using Pipefy as a Lean management tool, Berneck experienced 90% less waste in the logistics department, apart from documenting, standardizing and optimizing processes in order to continuously improve.

Continuously Improving Processes With Lean and Automation

Lean Transformation

More than improving processes, the Lean transformation is about cultural change. Knowing that and understanding how this journey is also about involving the whole team, a Lean committee was created at Berneck with 40 people who became Lean experts. 

Their journey began with a common cause analysis. They needed to understand what they already had under control, so they could attack what they didn’t. In order to be successful, they had to start sorting and standardizing their processes.

To solve the existing problems and identify other issues, Karine’s team started to use the A3 framework for strategy and tactical objectives. The A3 is a problem solving Lean tool and it’s used to understand the problem at hand, the current state of the issue, the results you expect to achieve, the root cause of the problem, the solution, its execution and how to follow up on the process.

If you want to know more about Lean and its tools, read our Beginner’s Guide here

Involving everyone in the Lean transformation process ended up being the biggest differential for Berneck—according to Karine, “giving real autonomy to the team was a key point in order to make the transformation work.” Doing that and using different Lean tools for each step in the way, Karine was able to eliminate 90% of the existing waste in their logistics, document the whole process of Booking and Detention, optimize costs and analyze data in order to understand expenses.


The Lean transformation was very successful company-wide. As a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Karine is proud of these achievements. “Now there are many savings and we’ve grown as a whole—we’ve grown as a team,” said the international trade supervisor. 

Using Lean alongside Pipefy, Berneck was able to boost business by adding value to their customers, eliminating waste and continuously improving. Now let’s discuss how automation was also key in this transformation:

Pipefy Automation

Shortly after using Pipefy’s email templates, Berneck was able to automate 46% of their email communications, saving Karine’s team from writing over 3,000 repetitive emails per quarter. In addition to saving over 600 hours of work time, this automation resulted in smoother team-to-team handoffs and timely client status updates. Email automation alone resulted in an ROI of 161%

Berneck also incorporated automation into other processes that streamlined work and approval flows. With automation built throughout their processes, the company gained an additional ROI of 109%.

In other words, Berneck earned a total ROI of 270% in the short-term after adopting Pipefy. However, that’s not all the company achieved with Pipefy automation alone. Berneck is now saving thousands a year by preventing late fees with SLA tracking and automatic deadline notifications.

Besides slashing down operational costs with Pipefy automation, Berneck cut back on theirlead time and can now accurately measure team performance.

Pipefy


Reducing Lead Time and Measuring Progress With Reports

Prior to implementing Lean and Pipefy Automation, Berneck had to track how much time the email communications for the Booking process took and sometimes Karine “didn’t know exactly where to find the information [she] needed.” They needed to measure their lead time.

Lead time is the total time needed for a process to be completed, from beginning to end. Take a manufacturing plant into account and consider that lead time is the time it takes from the production order to the product delivery. In Berneck’s logistics case, it is the email process for the entire Booking operation.

The lack of this metric was a problem when sharing information with other employees and evaluating team performance. However, using Lean to learn how to measure lead time and using Pipefy’s customizable reports, Berneck became able to better visualize the lead time.

The company reduced the metric by 31% and by generating a report, the international trade supervisor “can see how many confirmations each employee is sending and easily compare how much time an order takes in a phase.” Best of all, information is now easily viewed and digested from Pipefy’s intuitive interface.

Pipefy


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