An Orchestral Approach to Harmonizing Discordant Data

When words alone cannot describe life’s crescendos, Sinanudin Omerhodzic eloquently speaks through music. “When my daughter and my son were born, I composed music to express my love for them.” He began playing piano at the age of seven and 35 years later is still captivated by music, especially with what he calls the “organism of the symphony.”

“If you see the orchestra, there are many, many musicians playing various instruments,” he says. “It’s not that easy to compose and orchestrate that so that is sounds nice.”

In that way, technology is similar to an orchestra, he says. As chief information officer (CIO) of healthcare company Paul HARTMANN, Omerhodzic knows what he’s talking about. “To program something, it needs to be perfect or else it doesn’t work.”

Founded in 1818 and based in Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany, HARTMANN now employs 11,000 people in more than 30 countries, distributing products such as the disinfectants hospital uses to kill germs as well as personal healthcare products like bandages and incontinence products.

Hartmann Employees Seek to Advance Healthcare Services

Omerhodzic says HARTMANN employees seek to take healthcare services further than in the past. “Having the right product, in the right place, at the right time can save lives.”

After nearly two decades, he is now focused on the biggest challenge of his career: Several healthcare issues have coalesced into a global crisis. Omerhodzic ticks them off, staccato style.

“We don’t have enough specialists and doctors. People are living longer and consuming healthcare services longer. That puts the healthcare system under cost pressure. But at the same time, people expect to get better medicine and treatment because of the recent advances in technology. Healthcare providers are having difficulty with the costs because of the expectations to get all of those services.”

To meet these challenges, Omerhodzic repositioned his CIO role to focus on healthcare leadership.  Next, he went a step further and built a healthcare-focused technology team, asking employees to think differently about markets, emerging technologies, and processes, as well as how to better use technology to help people.

Yet success still required a deeper understanding of customer needs and opinions. And therein lay the problem.

Various tools harvested internal and external info and then squirrelled it away in silos. The team required a tool to ferret out all of that data and then harmonize it to better serve his company’s customers – with insights to proactively solve their healthcare needs and address their expectations and concerns. “Orchestration is key to move things forward and to be successful.”

Harmonizing Data with SAP Data Hub

Omerhodzic found the solution in SAP Data Hub, which pulls dissonant data into harmony, revealing customers’ problems and thereby empowering HARTMANN to identify new, specific opportunities. The data helped his team diagnose two key problems and proactively propose innovative solutions.

First, the team quickly discovered that its healthcare customers are not experts in managing inventory. Rather, they are healthcare providers who use medical supplies. “They want to help their patients.”

An analysis of the data revealed a haphazard ordering practice that resulted in inflated costs. “Every day, HARTMANN customers are placing thousands of orders around the globe. There’s a tremendous cost on the process side.” Omerhodzic says that even in 2019, 60 percent of orders were placed manually with the average cost per order at approximately US$100.

Next, Omerhodzic and his OneIT tech team devised a sensor box based on the Internet of Things (IoT), which optimized ultrasound echo technology to measure items placed on storage shelves. “When you use some of the product, the sensor is measuring the height and can see how many products are still in the box. So when the minimum number of products remain, the replenishment order process starts automatically.” His team discovered a way to proactively save customers tremendous time and cost.

Then, Omerhodzic used SAP Data Hub to perform predictive analytics by combining inventory data with weather data. “If you know that next week it’s going to snow, that means there will likely be more accidents on the streets, and thus more people in the hospitals.”

More patients mean more demands for those products. When products are running low, an automatic trigger places an order to replenish the supplies, which might also prompt the company to ramp up additional supply streams. “If we can predict the demand, we can ensure that all supply chain and manufacturing processes are able to cope.” Omerhodzic says this predictive logic will be extremely helpful to automatically stock hospitals during epidemics like the flu.

Omerhodzic’s orchestral approach to his CIO role brings him great fulfillment. “I love to do this. I really enjoy using technology to resolve healthcare challenges.”

But beyond personal satisfaction and passion for his work, he believes technology has empowered his company to become a leading example in the healthcare industry and “to really fulfill our mission to save patient lives.”

How Do You Save Patient Lives with Data?

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How Do You Save Patient Lives with Data?