Case Study

How ZEISS increased productivity and process visibility through automation

Summary: ZEISS faced a common obstacle: they needed to automate a range of manual and unstructured workflows in order to improve productivity and reduce errors. Automating all these workflows was difficult with the components of their existing tech stack. As a workaround, teams relied on spreadsheets and emails, a tactic that introduced risks to IT governance efforts and created bottlenecks throughout the company. 


ZEISS turned to Pipefy. In less than 2 years, ZEISS has automated over 70 previously manual workflows for IT, HR, Procurement, Sales, and Logistics teams. ZEISS' customer onboarding process is a great example of this automation success; its productivity per FTE has increased by 144%, while lead has decreased for 8 hours to just 2. By automating with Pipefy, ZEISS employees save more than 760 working hours per month in just four key processes. 


ZEISS is an international leader in optics and optoelectronics technology. Over 2023, the ZEISS Group earned €10.1 billion in revenue across all its segments. With more than 42,000 employees, ZEISS is present in almost 50 countries, with approximately 100 commercial and service units, and more than 6,000 employees dedicated to research and development in different regions of the world. The company was founded in 1846 in Jena, and is currently based in Oberkochen, Germany. ZEISS has been present in Brazil for over 90 years. São Paulo operations include areas of study like medical research, metrology, and microscopy.

Challenge: Lack of Control & Visibility

ZEISS' business teams relied on a complex tech stack that includes Jira, SAP (for CRM), and SharePoint (for Procurement). That combination of components could not automate every necessary service-oriented workflow, however. 


To get around this, teams managed some workflows using spreadsheets and emails. The results were complex processes that required unnecessary manual work. Work quality issues became common, handoffs were often broken, and visibility into process performance was limited. In addition, these ad hoc workarounds made it difficult for IT to enforce security and governance standards. 

We didn't have a tool to check process statuses, gain access to those processes stuck in a workflow phase, or ensure a smooth task handover to a different business area.”
Lygia Silva
Process Manager at ZEISS

Example: lens exchange process

Before Pipefy, businesses looking to resell a ZEISS lens had to manually complete a PDF form on the company website. The form was frequently missing information, or filled with information that was not correct. Customers sometimes used an outdated version they’d saved from a previous order. This workflow did not allow clients to check their order statuses, nor did they receive regular updates. Internal teams found themselves handling a high volume of emails from customers seeking order statuses. 

Example: customer registration workflow

The customer registration process had similar issues. The fragmented nature of its workflows meant that important tasks were sometimes left undone, such as credit analyses for which the finance team were responsible. Without the rule-based logic of automation, this critical step could be skipped before completion. “Sometimes the auditor wouldn’t validate which parameters we needed to fill out. They’d run the process regardless, but it wasn't complete or correct," says Lygia.


Throughout the company, other teams faced similar obstacles: 


  • Loss of information,
  • Lack of visibility for clients,
  • Workflows and requests lacked standardization,
  • Difficulty measuring KPIs and process performance, and
  • High risk of errors and rework caused by email and spreadsheet dependence.

A quest for centralization, visibility, and governance

In 2022, the ZEISS team began searching for a tool; its non-negotiables included the following functionalities: 


  • Centralize incoming requests,
  • Coordinate the request channels,
  • Resolve process fragmentation,
  • Reduce the volume of manual tasks,
  • Make process management easier, and 
  • Increase visibility into execution and performance.


Additionally, it would have to address the IT team’s governance and security concerns. At the same time, the project leaders also had a wish list. They wanted a no/low-code platform to enable faster process automation/optimization.


Potential solutions would also integrate with ZEISS’ existing components and offer the flexibility to manage a wide range of processes. "We offer a large array of products, so different clients and businesses have specific needs," says Lygia Silva, who coordinates the governance of process management technologies for the Brazilian operations.

We needed flexibility. The request form has to be tailored to each different area. I think the ease of use, to customize things, was the main benefit of Pipefy. It's like playing with Lego bricks.”
Lygia Silva
Process Manager at ZEISS

ZEISS chose Pipefy because of its ease of use and flexibility via automation and integration. Upon selection, Pipefy was evaluated by the company’s IT team and approved for implementation.


Today, ZEISS relies on Pipefy to manage and automate 70 workflows and processes. They include procurement, customer onboarding, lens exchange, and delivery processes, all of which play a critical role in their operations. In these four major processes alone, there is a 72% average productivity per FTE improvement; the teams involved are able to save an average of 762 labor hours per month.


The ability to connect workflows and databases through Pipefy’s automations was another important benefit for ZEISS. Pipefy helped teams structure and orchestrate these workflows. Now, when a new employee is hired, all the right teams receive a notification right away. This means that new hireshave access to the systems they need when they arrive on their first day of work. “In the past, we repeatedly asked IT for access and equipment," Lygia recounts. 

Results: Efficiency Gains, Cost Reduction, and Performance Control

Two years after implementation, ZEISS manages over 70 workflows in Pipefy (like Procurement, Sales, Master Data, Sales Support, ITSM, Marketing, and many others). In addition to improved orchestration and efficiency gains, the ZEISS Process Management Team has fortified their governance efforts. Today, they deliver efficient processes to the business line while keeping a close eye on process performance.

The governance that Pipefy brings is a big help - we can now control what we're implementing and monitor deliveries. We can now calculate how much ROI is generated, whether or not we will save resources, and when process improvement occurs.”
Lygia Silva
Process Manager at ZEISS

Pipefy enabled ZEISS to centralize, standardize, and integrate processes and systems, and eliminate manual tasks such as sending emails, forwarding requests, and setting expiration alerts. As a result, ZEISS has seen a positive impact on their operations and have more control over their many workflows. 

Customer onboarding

  • 50% reduction in lead time (from 4 to 2 days)
  • 144% increase in productivity (the same number of employees formerly processed 110 requests per month; now they process 269)


  • 75% reduction in lead time (from 8 to 2 hours)
  • 50% increase in productivity per employee

Lens exchange

  • increase of 66% in process efficiency 
  • at least 67% reduction in lead time (from 20 to 30 days to 6.7 days)


  • 70% reduction in lead time (from 25 to 30 days to 7.5 days)
  • 48.5% increase in productivity per work hour (an increase from 200 to 297 orders processed by the same number of employees)
In the past, we didn’t have access to process KPIs. In processes managed via email, we sometimes had to guess as to whether something was wrong by accessing the shared inboxes.

By using automation, we saw qualitative gains in process quality. Before that, employees weren’t writing emails to clients to notify them of new activities pertaining to their requests because there simply wasn’t time. Now those emails are sent automatically. The client has a far better experience and remains informed, and employees don't have to spend time writing emails.”

Lygia Silva
Process Manager at ZEISS