Making Agile MES a Reality with CoorsTek

CoorsTek is the global leader in technical ceramics with over 50 locations worldwide, producing advanced ceramic components for virtually every industry. When the company’s previous maintenance solution could no longer keep up with the demand, CoorsTek decided it was time to switch to a more capable solution – DELMIA Apriso MES.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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CoorsTek is the global leader in technical ceramics with over 50 locations worldwide, producing advanced ceramic components for virtually every industry. When the company’s previous maintenance solution could no longer keep up with the demand, CoorsTek decided it was time to switch to a more capable solution – DELMIA Apriso MES.

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Locations Worldwide

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Industry sector leader

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Technical ceramic and advanced material formulations

The purpose of the Project

The CoorsTek project was one of, if not the fastest-moving project for its size that we have seen at Andea. CoorsTek sites are highly machine-centric, with operators operating up to four machines at once. These machines produce parts to very high accuracies (thousands of an inch) and run highly automated. CoorsTek’s sites run 24×7, so having a high-quality maintenance program is essential to keeping up with demand and ensuring robustness in daily operations so that the company remains competitive.

Before implementing DELMIA Apriso, CoorsTek used a home-grown maintenance solution called “Tracker”, which has outgrown its original purpose and could not efficiently track labor or manage spare parts. Another reason for choosing Apriso MES was to fulfill CoorsTek’s goal of having one unified solution across all its sites and become the default shop-floor application.

CoorsTek plans to roll out DELMIA Apriso MES and move from the QAD ERP instance to a future ERP system over the next few years, so the company needed a solution that could accommodate this move and its vision.

The main goal of the project was to replace the Tracker solution with Apriso maintenance, manage spare parts, and set up the environment for rapid growth in two areas:

Roll out the maintenance solution to other plants.
Expand the Apriso solution to include Production, Quality, Warehouse, and other departments.

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Project highlights and key takeaways:


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The project used Agile from Day 1

The project ran in 2-week iterations (or sprints) which started immediately after a week-long on-site workshop. Andea team members had daily meetings called “Standups” with the key CoorsTek team members to keep them informed about the project's crucial milestones and gather critical and timely feedback. Such regular updates gave the entire team better visibility and control over budget, prioritization, scope, and timeline. This allowed making essential decisions in near real-time and ensured momentum was kept throughout the entire project right up until go-live.

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Project KPI's

This quick-start and momentum gained allowed the team to create and rollout significantly more functionality than initially planned – in fact over 320% of the original scope. Due to Agile's lean nature with reduced overhead, this project was also completed under the forecasted budget. This quick start also meant the solution was ready to live ahead of schedule. However, due to the external factors related to the Coronavirus lockdowns, early go-live was not possible.

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Quality Focused

It is vital to mention that the entire team was quality-focused from day one. Members of Andea's Project Excellence team were included, and more importantly, essential in all the project’s major phases. It meant that there was no need for the information handover. The system and business test cases were developed in almost real-time and were always up to date. As a result, the entire team could introduce new and changed requirements within the solution with minimal risk and cost and provided CoorsTek with a high-quality solution. The result of this effort was solid with less than five total bugs found in multiple UAT rounds and three bugs found post-go-live.

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Centralized Solution – many sites running on a single server

The decision was made early on to implement Apriso using a centralized architecture, which has resulted in many benefits for CoorsTek. It has reduced the cost of rollouts to new sites by over 80%. It also reduced the complexity and cost of enterprise-level reporting and cross-site execution. Lastly, the complexity and number of integration points with the ERP dropped considerably in the rollout sites. As a result, the internal CoorsTek's team is now autonomous and can do the deployments independently.

Key Takeaways and Lessons Learned:

Agile Implementations

  • Due to the extensive customer extensions required, the Andea team ran a Kanban-style approach to the project. It enabled Andea to plan in a reduced number of sprints and reduce the number of meetings needed. The result was delivery of 320% of the original project scope, on time and within budget.
  • The agile approach allowed CoorsTek to add new and enhanced features, but it blurred the finish line at times. It is essential to estimate all features (user stories) and tasks (including bugs) as early and as often as possible to see the project’s overall status, track the burndown, and derive the project delivery dates.
  • Prioritization is the key to success. The QA Engineers added a priority to the bugs found, which blocked their testing progress and the ability to release functionality. The entire team monitored a dashboard, and any critical bugs were treated as priority zero, meaning the developers worked on these first. This ensured functionality was not left half tested; bug fixes had a much quicker turnaround, and was all done with reduced development time and effort.

Communication Coorstek – Andea

  • Early on, William, the Project Lead from CoorsTek, spent a week in the Andea office working alongside the development team to receive Apriso platform and solution development training. This strengthened the Customer’s product and solution knowledge and helped build credibility and trust with Andea.
  • Andea Team communicated internally and with the CoorsTek as often as possible. Andea tracked all requirements, test cases, and their execution in the CoorsTek development portal so they could see the progress and coverage at any time. During the project status update meetings, the Andea team also used a project dashboard to track critical project KPI’s. It was very polarizing and quickly drove action and priority, especially around what bugs needed to be fixed and when.

CoorsTek started working with Andea after they were highly recommended due to their extensive experience in both the Apriso platform and manufacturing software in general. It was clear very early on that this recommendation was warranted as Andea exceeded our expectations both in what they produced and how they did it. We, as a combined team, successfully completed our implementation under budget with over 300% of the planned scope. I’m very excited about our future partnership and I look forward to implementing our complete manufacturing solution globally.

Brian Frimel
Director Manufacturing IT at Coorstek
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