Interview with Faster: APS and Demand Driven for innovative planning

APS (Advanced Planning and Scheduling) and DD (Demand Driven)

We interviewed Stefania Bellandi and Davide Magnifico, respectively planner and planning manager of Faster, a company based in Rivolta D’Adda in the province of Cremona that innovated the production planning process by inserting APS and Demand Driven MRP software. Ambition and desire to improve have driven Faster, and in particular the people who work in it, to implement these tools.

Faster Couplings-1

Faster: world reference in the production of hydraulic quick couplings

Faster is a company active in the production of hydraulic quick couplings, of which it is a global reference. If the main plant is that of Rivolta D’Adda, where the mechanical and assembly part is made, then there is an assembly plant in the United States, divided into two locations of the Helios group. Other offices are located in China, Brazil and India and mainly manage the commercial part, but an initial part of Faster’s production process is also carried out in India.

Faster’s products are mainly intended for two sectors: agriculture and construction equipment, although there are also applications in the oil and gas, deforestation, refrigeration and other sectors. In both main sectors, references are of primary importance and include the leaders of the respective sectors.
In the agricultural field you can find all the main producers, including John Deere, Same, CNH/New Holland, Fendt. As for the construction equipment part, some brands belong to the aforementioned brands to which Develon (formerly Doosan), Bobcat, Caterpillar, and others are added.

Specifically, the quick hydraulic couplings made by Faster are used to connect the instrument or machinery to the tractor or machine and allow the application to operate. The products are of various types: multifasts, couplings and castings or quick couplings, simple couplings and cast iron castings


The drive for improvement: ambition and improved performance

The ERP in use at the time was AS400, then replaced with Navision. When choosing to implement the new management system, Faster chose to add a specific tool for production planning that would allow them to make decisions much faster and to have better visibility than the MRP and analysis of the shortcomings carried out by the management system. In fact, the needs were: speed of planning, speed in hanging decisions and finally having very clear and fast information to use.

The previous MRP was performed once a week, the following day the proposals for assembly and for the workshop were analyzed; the next 4 days were used for the issuance, modification and release of orders, etc. In short, using AS400 and the MES Metrono to plan and schedule production was a long and elaborate process, with limited functions, which required an evolution of methods and tools.


The process of forecasting demand to support production

The CyberPlan implementation project, which started at the beginning of 2015, ended within the year and saw the inclusion of CyberPlan Demand Planning and S&OP, used by Faster to manage sales forecasts.

“I’ve been using CyberPlan for eight years and I can say that it gives you a huge advantage” Davide Magnifico

Before CyberPlan, these analyses were carried out, but based on past consumption, sorting by average consumption, with all the appropriate risks. Faster therefore needed to work on an accurate forecast forecast and not one based on past average consumption. In fact, CyberPlan Demand Planning and S&OP allows you to have a forecast that, with proper maintenance, returns reliable data and allows you to have a question to work on.

The tool is particularly useful in cases where customers do not share information about expected sales in the event of long lead times for the supply of materials, as it gives long-term visibility and prevents the occurrence of missing items that interrupt the production process and compromise compliance with delivery dates.

Subsidiary companies are managed as if they were customers sending sales orders. The assembly part that is carried out on a contract basis is managed in CyberPlan as if it were carried out by internal lines; Faster therefore plans the capacity, materials and other details for the suppliers, as if they were internal to the company.

Prodotti accoppiamenti - Faster Couplings

Innovation with the Demand Driven method

A few years ago, the management of Faster began to look for a solution to some aspects that it intended to improve: expired material and high levels of inventory.

The main objectives of what would later become the Demand Driven MRP project, also known as DDMRP, were to improve the level of service while reducing the warehouse, a result obtainable because the tool allows to maintain a stock of material only on key codes.

The company has therefore chosen to evaluate several options together with external consultants, in order to identify the most suitable option. After evaluating several solutions, the choice is oriented to the Demand Driven methodology as it is reputed to be the most structured and with the most theory at the base.

The Demand Driven project started from the theoretical training of people, held by external consultants; once the theoretical training was completed, the real project began to be developed with the analysis of the production of Faster and the definition of buffers.

We chose to start with a significant and rather complex product family, which contains components of different types: subsets of external assemblers, workshop components, purchasing components and purchasing components with large lead times. This choice was made to start with a family that would allow to deal with a large number of cases and as it is relevant in terms of turnover, from there the project continued to cover the entire company production and the go-live took place in the autumn of 2022.


Tangible and measurable results for Faster

The main results pursued and found by Faster are punctuality and a high level of service, with an adequate level of stock, two benefits that are the fruits of the entire process, including aspects such as demand management and the production process, in addition to the APS software implementation project.

“CyberPlan greatly helps in understanding what the priorities are, what to produce, how to produce it, understanding what is missing. In short, all the information you need to produce. The work operationally has not changed. The same things are done, but in a different way: faster, more effective.”Davide Magnifico

The APS tool provides the planning department with all the information necessary to organize the production department, such as missing or production dates, and generates production proposals to evaluate production scenarios.

“CyberPlan allows you to analyze the loads of people, machines, to understand if you need to add shifts. It gives you all the information possible and allows you to do these analyses that must then be reported with management and factory activities.”Davide Magnifico

If there are activities that go outside the software in the strict sense, it is also true that the transition from a simple MRP to CyberPlan has provided the advantage of enjoying up-to-date information thanks to daily and no longer weekly processing. In fact, the MRP calculation carried out with CyberPlan takes Faster about 10 minutes.

“With CyberPlan we spend 3 or 4 times less time than the old MRPs, to have useful information to make decisions.” Davide Magnifico

Another aspect evaluated as positive by Faster is the possibility of having reports that are also useful to other departments. Among these is the pegging report that allows you to understand the connection of each component with customer demand and is also used by the purchasing department to have visibility on the arrival of materials.

It definitely gives advantages at the decision-making level, it’s what we need because we have a very fast process, which changes often, changes demand, customers anticipate or postpone certain things.” Davide Magnifico

Faster also appreciated the fact that CyberPlan is particularly fast. The production planning department is now able to respond to sales department requests quickly and can provide information quickly. Having then continuous changes in the production process, with many part numbers, the management of internal lines and several external Faster assemblers therefore needed speed in making decisions to control this entropy, CyberPlan is a tool that has supported and supports the company in managing these needs.

Finally, as users, Bellandi and Magnifico appreciate the navigability of data between the various bill of materials, especially in cases where there are different levels of bill of materials, as CyberPlan offers speed and the ability to move through the various information (customer orders, bill of materials, cycles, and so on).


CyberPlan, the APS for planning and scheduling full-capacity production

The important results obtained by Faster have been possible above all thanks to the work of the company staff, to which has been added that of Cybertec consultants and the adoption of the Advanced Planning and Scheduling CyberPlan tool. Thanks to advanced logics such as finite-capacity scheduling and the high computing power deriving from the database in RAM, APS allows manufacturing companies to plan production in a modern, fast and shared way. Learn how to implement this tool in your company.

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