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German Lufthansa AG

An important step towards more transparency in the business

"Despite our heterogeneous structure ECLASS is enabling us to participate in cross-industry product category activities."

The Lufthansa Group is a global aviation group with almost 500 subsidiaries and affiliates. It consists of five divisions that represent the areas of passenger transport, air freight, and downstream services: Passenger Airline Group, Logistics, MRO, catering and IT services.

All divisions are among the market leaders in their sectors. The Lufthansa Group employs more than 120,000 people who commit themselves to the growth of the company and thus form an important basis for the company‘s success worldwide.

Initial Situation

ECLASS became an issue in the Lufthansa Group with the introduction of the LUPUS desktop purchasing system. Previously, the separate companies of the Group only had individual product category trees, which made a comparison across the limits of their own company virtually impossible. Especially in indirect procurement, where material numbers are partially supplier-specific and also vary regionally, shopping synergies could be achieved only with great manual effort.

Already then the catalog suppliers offered an almost blanket coverage with the ECLASS information on their articles. Through the introduction of ECLASS as an overall product category code a big step forward was made in the indirect purchasing processes of the Lufthansa Group, which has opened up many new possibilities, especially for strategic purchasing. Since then, at Lufthansa a lot of positive experiences have been gathered in product category management.


Within the Lufthansa Group the ECLASS product category tree is used with priority when purchasing. Within the Group a very lean product category tree, based on ECLASS, with just over 200 product groups is used, but is nevertheless matched directly to the ECLASS tree. At all points in the order systems where a manual assignment of product groups is required, this reduced Lufthansa view is used, which the purchaser can handle in a well-organized manner. From the catalog systems of the group the purchasing documents are automatically enriched with the ECLASS information and as such low into the back-end systems for reporting and controlling purposes.

Lufthansa continues to participate in a number of purchasing benchmarks and is very involved in purchasing alliances beyond its own industry. To speak a common language here with the respective partners, an ECLASS-allocation is essential and makes collaboration much easier. Purchasing is in many ways a mater of data.


To meet the growing cost pressure, it is now more important than ever to take advantage of all opportunities for the exploitation of synergy potentials. This applies to any company of the Lufthansa Group, but also across all business segments.

A necessary condition for the success of this strategy is the standardization of processes and the creation of transparency wherever a potential for improvement is suspected. Of course the procurement plays an important role and uses a whole range of instruments to bring the organizations that have developed very differently over the years back, together again to a common power. An important tool here is the ECLASS product group tree, which helps to provide a common view of the procurement and use the strength of Lufthansa in the procurement market optimally through a focused market approach.

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