A digital and collaborative Supply Chain: the success of Firex

APS and S&OP, Plant and Machinery Sector

Firex, located within the so-called Inox Valley, is dedicated to the production of machines for the food industry and equipment for collective catering. The company has grown considerably, to the point that its staff has doubled in four years and that the products made are now sold in over 70 countries. This sharp increase in size has pushed Firex, which has always been attentive to management logic, to evolve the production planning process, moving from a manual system based on the use of Excel files to a digital type of planning, obtaining immediate benefits. Riccardo Zanghì, Operations Manager, tells us about Firex’s growth and innovation path.

MTO production and high customisation

Firex has always been focused on maximising customer satisfaction, which has led to MTO-type production growing in terms of complexity, even more so now that the product range is sold in over 70 countries. The customizations requested by the customer are in fact added to those necessary depending on the country of destination, just think of the different types of heating: gas, electric or steam.

The company’s strong verticalisation allows Firex to guarantee customers the highest quality of the products made and to be able to innovate them quickly and autonomously. The production of the Belluno company therefore starts from sheet metal to arrive with a finished product among the first in the world.

Firex Food Equipment Manufacturing - Saldatore - Cybertec - CyberPlan

Seize change at the right time

Firex already had a very high cultural base in terms of management logic, but the increase in production complexity as well as the desire to maximize customer service have pushed the company to refine its ability to manage the supply chain. Added to this was the desire to increase the speed and tools available, increasing the quality of the work done without further growth in terms of employees. We have therefore chosen to innovate the methods and tools used to plan production. Until then, in fact, load leveling was calculated using Excel files that extrapolated the data from the management system on an AS400 basis, tools that, as is known, divide information into silos and do not allow for in-depth analyses, including the identification of constraints and bottlenecks.


A software selection to find the best solution

We have therefore searched the market for solutions up to par, among which CyberPlan stood out – says Riccardo Zanghì – for intuitiveness and fundamental requirements such as intelligent and functional algorithms that guaranteed the achievement of company objectives. The intuitiveness made us understand that the solution, once implemented and integrated with existing systems in the company, would be easily adopted by end users.”


Faster than expected implementation

The implementation was carried out by Link Management, a long-standing Cybertec partner, and was completed ahead of schedule. This aspect, made possible by the data preparation work done by the Firex team together with the Link Management experience, has made it possible to refine the preparation of users and to perfect the solution around the needs of the customer, who uses CyberPlan with the various S&OP, Finite Capacity Planning and Detail Scheduling modules.

Firex Food Equipment Manufacturing (4) - Cybertec - CyberPlan-1


A versatile, collaborative and useful solution for different departments

In Firex, the CyberPlan solution is used not only by the production scheduling department, but also by purchases and sales. This is because the versatility of the CyberPlan product has been exploited to obtain the management of internal and external kanbans as well as the possibility of simulating not only a production plan, but also the individual order, line or code. The CyberPlan tool has made it possible to remove the barriers created by the individualities of the numerous Excel files by donating a collaborative digital planning platform to share plans and information.


A digital management of internal and external kanbans

Firex has digitized the kanbans with CyberPlan, within which a kanban board and plan has been created that also returns the decentralised workload on external suppliers. The same development has also been carried out for the internal kanban.

This development allows Firex to eliminate human error and to know exactly what is the situation of orders and warehouses of suppliers, to the point that CyberPlan communicates at all times which boxes are in the company and which are at the suppliers. Another positive aspect was the possibility of resizing the batches of the boxes, which is carried out in a massive and digital way, which freed a human resource from tasks with low added value. In addition to this, this customization has made it possible to create periodic reports and statistics


Great benefits from the decision making tool

The results of the enhancement of planning with the digital planning tool have been largely positive and have been seen on several aspects:

  • Reduction of crossing time by 20-25% on average;
  • Visibility of the cycle within the crossing;
  • Prevention of problems (stock breaks, failure to meet between materials, etc.);
  • Leveling of loads;
  • Certain dates to customers;
  • Radical improvement of On-Time Delivery (OTD) with a service level close to 100%.

Finally, today the sales department is able to quickly and confidently confirm delivery dates to customers, thanks to a delivery management policy that allows Firex to use the advantages of groupage.

I often recommend CyberPlan, it is a fast tool, which performs complex calculations but is simple to use and highly customizable” Riccardo Zanghì – Operations Manager – Firex


People-based success

The people involved in the project benefited from new concepts and methods introduced thanks to the implementation of the CyberPlan software; this project was part of a broader framework of corporate improvement and innovation that allowed Firex to pursue empowerment objectives both at the corporate level and for individual collaborators.

Facchin Zanghì Maltese - Cybertec

Engineer Riccardo Zanghì, MBA at the MIP School of Business of the Politecnico di Milano and the Production Planning and Advancement team, Demis Facchin and Marco Maltese. Competence, innovation, dedication and team spirit have made it possible to successfully implement the CyberPlan project at Firex, a leading company in the production of highly technological food cooking machines.


Link Management, a successful partner

CyberPlan was implemented in Firex by Link Management, a very serious company made up of really competent people.” Riccardo Zanghì – Operations Manager – Firex

The success of Firex is also due to the great professionalism and expertise of Link Management, specialists in the field of Supply Chain and partners of Cybertec for over twelve years. This long partnership is a guarantee of a complete knowledge of the CyberPlan solution, which the Link Management consultants have installed in Firex, integrating it with existing solutions and within an innovation project. Link Management carries out projects for the organisation and improvement of the factory: production planning and control, MES, Industry 4.0, supplier and warehouse management. The quality of the basic model created to make the demo has already demonstrated to Firex the potential of the software and the professionalism of Link, which has been confirmed with respect for time, results and budget.  Learn more about Link Management >


Firex Srl Food Equipment Manufacturing - Cybertec - CyberPlan

Firex, at the top of catering machines

Firex is a company rooted in the territory of Belluno, within the so-called Inox Valley, which designs, manufactures and distributes contact and batch cooking machines. Always characterized by a great attention to management logic, in the last four years Firex has grown to the point of seeing the number of employees double, this thanks to the goodness of its products, internationally recognized. Firex recently joined the giant The Middleby Corporation, a world leader in the business sector of manufacturing machinery and appliances for food processing and cooking.

The batch cooking to which Firex products are addressed is characterized by the production of standardized batches of food: the customer thus decides their own recipes, thus setting their own quality level, while Firex, through its own machines, guarantees the repeatability of quality and the highest standardization of the product.


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