Manufacturing Excellence: Hologic
Achieving a Single View Across the Supply Chain
by Tony Kontzer, February 2008
When Bedford, Massachusetts-based Hologic closed its US$6.2 billion merger with Cytyc in October 2007, it was reminded of just how important Oracle has become to the company's success. Nearly six years earlier, the maker of digital imaging equipment for detecting breast cancer and osteoporosis had made the decision to consolidate a fragmented IT environment on Oracle E-Business Suite. As the company had grown through acquisition, so too had its technology become increasingly complex and disconnected. "Our IT had grown into what I would call a mess," says David Rudzinsky, Hologic's CIO. "We were running our business on Microsoft Excel."
Hologic had a system for every function. Manufacturing, sales and marketing, finance, operations—you name the department, it had its own standalone application. Hologic's numerous acquisitions had resulted in even more information silos. None of the systems spoke to each other, and Microsoft Excel was the only way that available information could be combined into something useful on a companywide basis. But doing things that way carried a substantial price—financial processes were slowed, and managers had difficulty coordinating schedules.
"All of our legacy applications and tools were helping us run our little niches of the business," says Rudzinsky, "but none of them did a good job with what they now call ERP and CRM."
Once the company completed its Oracle E-Business Suite deployment, dubbed "One Hologic Implementing Oracle," the change was like night and day. With an integrated set of Oracle applications running on a single global instance of Oracle E-Business Suite, Hologic could take advantage of a single view across its entire supply chain.
"It did a lot more for the company than just provide us with an ERP platform," says Rudzinsky. "It helped us to break down barriers that existed between some of our subsidiaries and helped us adopt a single corporate culture."
The business results speak for themselves, as Hologic has seen significant improvements in several areas:
- Slashing inventory by as much as 50 percent in some of its plants.
- Boosting customer satisfaction as better data quality and streamlined business processes translated into improved responsiveness.
- Reducing the number of days Hologic needs to close its books, thereby yielding faster financial reporting and an ability for employees to make better, more-proactive decisions.
- Establishing the IT controls needed to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which Rudzinsky says would have been a nightmare with such a large number of disparate systems. "Trying to prove those controls across all these different platforms would have cost a lot and taken a lot of time," he says.
The far-reaching success of the effort has led to Hologic's being recognized in the summer of 2007 at Managing Automation's Progressive Manufacturing Summit and Awards. Executive Editor Jeff Moad says the fact that Hologic has achieved a single companywide instance of its applications sets it apart from most other manufacturing firms. "Being able to do something like this on an enterprisewide basis is unusual," he says.
But Rudzinsky says that credit for the recognition his company has received should be shared with Oracle, and he's doing his best to let other companies know that Oracle can help them achieve a more unified and efficient application architecture. "They're not my software vendor; they're my partner," says Rudzinsky. "I want them to be successful because they help us to be successful."
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is a business and technology writer in Silicon Valley who has contributed to InformationWeek, Investor's Business Daily, CIO Insight
, and Network World.