To ensure the continued provision of complex medical specialist care to the West Brabant region of the Netherlands, the Lievensberg hospital in Bergen op Zoom and the Franciscus hospital in Roosendaal merged on January 1, 2015 to form the Bravis hospital.
The two hospitals were already working closely together before the merger was even conceived and, in 2013, they opted for the same ERP system to support them in their business processes (finances, procurement and logistics). "We were working with a range of outdated systems and both establishments were in need of something innovative," explains Leo Simons, Manager of Corporate Affairs at Bravis. "The process of working together to decide on, select, prepare and implement a solution proved to be excellent preparation for our actual merger."
"AX4Health is a modern, future-proof system that covers the entire procurement, logistics and financial process and continues to evolve. After all, you don't want to have to introduce a new ERP system every three years. We also recognised the benefits of Microsoft AX, which requires less maintenance, management and customisation than SAP. Avanade's presentation and our visit to the Westfriesgasthuis hospital, where AX4Health is already in use, made the decision clear."
AX4Health was implemented in both hospitals in 2013 in what proved to be an important learning process. "You implement an ERP system to enable you to ultimately work more efficiently, make fewer mistakes and ensure faster turnaround of processes," explains Simons. "The procurement, storage and financial handling processes are more closely interlinked than ever. Employees have to adopt a different way of working and departments have to increase their level of cooperation. AX4Health is very easy to use, but we had been using the same system for a long time, so we needed some time to familiarise ourselves with the new way of working. Where previously we were primarily occupied with the actual ‘doing’, we now have more of a monitoring role,” adds Karin Pallast, Director of Avanade Health Care. "The processes run differently with a modern system like AX4Health. In some cases, this leads to different roles. AX4Health provides considerable support for the whole process, from procurement to financial administration. This can sometimes work out less favourably for individual departments but ultimately all parties benefit from a more efficient system."
By using AX4Health, Bravis has made a huge step forward in terms of efficiency, which is reflected in all departments. The most significant gain has been made in procurement, as this function is now fully centralised. As Luc Stevens, Finance & Control Manager explains, "Where departments would previously order a chair themselves, via the procurement department, from a supplier of their choice, they now have access to a central portal in AX4Health. This gives that department a much greater overview of orders, so they can be bundled. This means items can be purchased at more attractive prices and better agreements can be made with suppliers. As hospitals spend very large sums of money on procurement, even a 1% saving represents a major gain. Implementing AX4Health has also helped to reduce waste and lower the consumption of goods."
The logistics and administrative departments also benefit from the use of AX4Health. In terms of logistics, Bravis has made savings on inventory by introducing automatic replenishment and online scanning of department stock. "Once you are familiar with using AX4Health, the process of scanning and electronically approving invoices, electronic processing of bank statements and automated reconcilliation of invoices is more efficient for both the accounts payable department and the budget holders," continues Stevens.