Paper manufacturer Steinbeis produces around 300,000 tons of recycled paper every year. But it is operating in a hotly contested market and to continue offering competitive prices and producing paper sustainably, the company is aiming for cost efficiency through digitalization - with SAP HANA.
At its factory near Hamburg, family-owned Steinbeis produces an annual 300,000 tons of office paper, magazine paper, and digital printing paper from recycled paper. It began the switch from using wood pulp to using 100 percent recovered paper as the raw material for its paper production back in 1976.
"It was a breakthrough innovation at the time," says Ulrich Feuersinger, managing director of Steinbeis Papier GmbH. "In those days, paper manufacturers were focused more on obtaining low-cost raw materials than on what their environmental impact might be. But, as a sixth-generation family-owned company, we enjoy the advantage of not having to think in terms of quarterly results. When it comes to growing our company, we can take a longer-term perspective."
Today, Steinbeis is a leader in the sustainable, closed-loop manufacturing of recycled paper. As a midsize company, it faces fierce competition from larger rivals. "In Scandinavia particularly, we're up against competitors that source their raw materials from managed forests," Feuersinger explains. "We have to be better and faster than them, which is why having efficient IT systems is key to our survival."
Three years ago, Steinbeis began expanding its digital transformation in production across the entire company. "Industry 4.0@Steinbeis Paper," a project supported by avato consulting ag and SAP, is the first major step on this journey.
"We've been using SAP software in all the production processes at our paper factory for 20 years now," says Dr. Michael Hunold, head of New Processes at Steinbeis. "We've already achieved a high degree of digitalization and automation in production. But we realized that there was a lot of data we could only analyze in retrospect. That gave us the idea of having all that data analyzed automatically in the background." This is the focus of the Industry 4.0 solution Steinbeis is implementing across the board.
"Our aim from the start was to turn information into insight in seconds," Hunold says. "We want to transform data into knowledge and use that knowledge to reap strategic and operational benefits. SAP HANA is the solution that's helping us achieve that aim."
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