Healthy ERP Strategies

Hill-Rom achieves business agility with a strategic attitude toward its ERP implementation.

by David A. Kelly
Hill-Rom, the medical technology subsidiary of Hillenbrand Industries and the world's leading manufacturer of hospital beds, realized that it needed to implement systems tools and more efficient processes to enable its rental business to expand. At the same time, it identified real opportunities to expand its third-party billing section of its business. Thanks to Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne software as the foundation, plus expert help from industry implementation partner CSS International, Hill-Rom has successfully met the challenge of flourishing in a new and different business segment.

Kim Dennis, senior vice president, Post Acute Care, Hill-Rom, reports that the firm's interactions with third-party payers required a unique and creative solution utilizing industry best practices into the software for its post acute care business. The JD Edwards software that Hill-Rom depends on offers the ability to create custom bolt-on modules.

Learn how the customized JD Edwards implementation combined with an in-depth analysis of its business processes and new training techniques now enable Hill-Rom management to pursue new business opportunities efficiently and effectively.

The complexity of large-scale enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations is enough to daunt even the most agile and innovative company. It's not uncommon for companies to discover, during the course of a major IT project, that they need to refocus their attention and strategic vision on new opportunities for growth and that the IT systems that are effectively supporting much of the organization will need to be changed to accommodate new directions.

That was the challenge facing Hill-Rom, the medical technology subsidiary of Hillenbrand Industries and the world's leading manufacturer of hospital beds. As a US$1.3 billion medical device manufacturer with more than 6,000 associates all over the world, Hill-Rom found that its business processes and IT solutions were geared toward its largest lines of business, while smaller but potentially higher-growth areas were in need of different types of IT support. With Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP software as the foundation, plus expert help from industry implementation partner CSS International, Hill-Rom met the challenge of a new and different business segment.

 

Pinpointing the Right Processes

"Our rental business was growing, but we were limited by a lack of system tools and in need of more-efficient processes," says Kim Dennis, senior vice president, Post Acute Care, at Batesville, Indiana-based Hill-Rom. "We knew there were real opportunities in the third-party billing section of our business. Our challenge was to make the system and business process changes that we needed so we could scale the system effectively for more-profitable growth. During the course of the initial implementation, the project team focused primarily on our traditional rental surfaces business; however, we soon realized that we had not fully accommodated all of the needs of our post acute care business, which is quite different from our traditional rental business."

 

Hill-Rom's interactions with third-party payers required unique and creative solutions that incorporated industry best practices into the software that would be used for their post acute care business. Fortunately, the JD Edwards software that Hill-Rom uses had the flexibility to allow for the creation of custom bolt-on modules. At a time when the post acute care business was poised to take off, it was critical that the software it ran on provided the same competitive advantages that the rest of the company enjoyed.

 

Investing in New Opportunities

It's not an unfamiliar problem for any successful business in any industry. Over time, most organizations need to balance the needs of their existing lines of business against the requirements and investments for addressing new opportunities. While it's easy to ride along on current business, truly successful organizations thrive by finding, funding, and capitalizing on new opportunities. Pursuing new business opportunities requires industry best practices coupled with agile IT capabilities and support.

 

For Hill-Rom, a customized JD Edwards implementation along with an in-depth analysis of its business processes and new training techniques now allows management to pursue new business opportunities efficiently and effectively.

One of Hill-Rom's greatest business challenges is coping with a rapidly changing healthcare marketplace, with ongoing regulatory changes as well as dynamic business requirements. To be successful, Hill-Rom needs to continue to deliver the top-quality products and services that made it a leader in its industry, but the company also needs to adapt to an ever-changing healthcare market.

For example, in the old healthcare world sick people were usually cared for in a hospital. Once they were well, they went home. However, today (and into the foreseeable future) a patient will more likely stay in an acute care setting for a much shorter period of time, potentially followed by a stay in a long-term care facility in order to do additional rehabilitation. Then the patient may go home. If there are issues, the patient may return to a nursing home or to the hospital. In short, healthcare and medical companies need to be able to dynamically provide services across the continuum if they want to remain competitive.

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