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Fastems Boosts Capacity Of Its Finance Team

Manufacturing solutions provider simplifies rolling forecasts, reduces closing and reporting times to better manage a complex business

As with many manufacturing businesses, for Fastems future innovations depend on the ability to plan and make decisions accurately and efficiently. With the need to conduct complex monthly, quarterly, and annual rolling forecasts across 12 countries and three separate business units, the finance team was in desperate need of a streamlining to their planning approach.
  • Challenges

    • Four different source systems and multiple spreadsheets made it difficult to keep up with information demands
    • Too much time spent on manual tasks that had little or no bearing to the quality of reporting or analyses
    • Difficulty conducting a rolling forecast that incorporated multiple scenarios


    • Data from multiple sources such as the CRM and ERP is automatically aggregated, providing more time for analysis
    • Time spent on monthly closing and reporting was reduced by 50% or 48 days in a year
    • Automated the rolling forecast process and 'what-if' scenario modeling across four business divisions
  • About:
    Founded in 1901, Finland-based Fastems is the world's leading independent manufacturer of flexible factory and robotics-based automation systems for the metalworking industries.
    Tampere, Finland

We get a much better insight and now have more time to analyze the forecast and how it links to the actuals and past performance.

Ville Purhonen, Finance Director

Active planning and rolling forecasts increase ability to innovate

With operations in 12 countries around the globe, Fastems offers modern production automation solutions to companies across manufacturing sectors, including aerospace, construction, mining machinery and built-to-order vehicle manufacturing.

While the company has consistently proven its ability to execute on this complex business model, future innovations are highly dependent on an accurate and efficient financial planning and analysis.

Static planning process couldn’t keep up with a complicated business model

With a highly complex operational structure and a driver-based financial model, the Fastems finance team was struggling to perform monthly closing and forecasting functions efficiently. Four different source systems for inputs and multiple spreadsheets for reporting made it a challenge to keep up with information demands. The team was spending way too much time on manual tasks that had little or no bearing on the quality of their reporting and analyses.

“There were a lot of dimensions and elements we needed to constantly consider,” said Ville Purhonen, Finance Director, who began to look for ways to simply the process.

Fastems chose Workday Adaptive Planning for its time-savings benefits and ability to offer modeling flexibility and simplicity while accommodating the manufacturer’s complicated forecasting algorithms.

Integrated data accelerates business planning and consolidated financial close

By integrating their multiple source systems with their CRM and ERP and fine-tuning their model in Workday Adaptive Planning, the Fastems finance team no longer spends time aggregating data or manipulating multiple spreadsheets. Moreover, Workday Adaptive Planning has automated intercompany eliminations, allocations, and currency conversions to simplify complex multi-currency financial consolidations. 

To be responsive to the company’s ever-changing needs, the Fastems finance team performs 12-month rolling forecasts on a monthly basis that involve all four of their business departments. Sales, top line through to expenses, and cash flow are all reviewed across three different scenarios: baseline, optimistic, and cautious. Territorial and product dimensions are also maintained within the model and monthly time frame. “Performing ‘what-if’ scenarios is now well integrated and very agile. We easily simulate the impact of different business events through our P&L and cash flow,” Purhonen said.

Integrated planning has also resulted in better transparency of key performance metrics across the company groups, with business leaders in each group now having a firm understanding of where the business is going at all times. 

“Planning is now a very, very smooth exercise,” Purhonen said. “We just bring in fresh data from the CRM and other sources and Workday Adaptive Planning does the rest.”

More time for analysis and insights

With automated consolidation of data in a single system, Fastems reviews and reports actuals right alongside with their plans to spot variances quickly. Combined with easier intra-company eliminations using Workday Adaptive Planning, Fastems increased transparency while reducing the time spent on monthly closing and reporting by 60%.

“We started with taking five days for the accounting close and three days for reporting each month. Since using Workday Adaptive Planning, we’re at the point where we’ve reduced this process by 50% or four days, which saves us 48 days in a year,” Purhonen said. “We get a much better insight and now have more time to analyze the forecast and how it links to the actuals and past performance.”

Based on their success, Fastems was the recipient of a Torchie Award at Adaptive Live, the annual global Workday Adaptive Planning user conference.

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