Hospital Network Standardization Yielded from Process and Automation Discovery

Finance function mapped and discovered—and automation opportunities uncovered—in just seven weeks

The Lab’s client—a hospital network with locations in a dozen states—sought to map out its end-to-end (E2E) finance operations as part of a transformative effort. Spanning 1,300 employees in both the hospitals and the corporate office, the CFO’s first instinct was to centralize operations.

They started with Accounts Payable (AP), which supposedly would be the easiest function to consolidate at the organization’s headquarters. But the plan, unfortunately, backfired. Without E2E process mapping, hidden opportunities for standardization—not to mention automation—remained hidden.

As an unintended result, one-off reconciliations required that the regional hospitals in the network still perform them locally. In fact, staffing for the AP function alone increased by ten percent.

E2E process mapping to the rescue

This hospital network then contacted The Lab, North America’s leading authority for process mapping and automation of knowledge-work business activities.

In just seven weeks, The Lab mapped out the entire finance operation, spanning:

  • Controllers
  • Capital budgeting
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Accounts payable
  • Payroll
  • Tax

A lack of standardization across the organization contributed to its problems—and were identified by The Lab. Indeed, The Lab pinpointed more than 200 opportunities to reduce or eliminate variance, and pave the way for automation of repetitive and error-prone tasks that the finance team’s workers hated doing.

Many of the standardization opportunities identified by The Lab actually required no new technology whatsoever. For example:

  • Reduced one-off reports. While the finance organization created hundreds of recurring monthly reports, they had never standardized the content with the different hospitals in the network. As a result, scores of one-off, emergency requests were issued every month. The Lab designed new, standardized reports; this one change alone reduced one-off requests by 70 percent.
  • No standardized data definitions. Prior to The Lab’s intervention, no standard definitions existed for the data used in financial reports. As a result, the task of reconciling reports typically required four or five meetings each. The Lab standardized data definitions within two months. These new standards eliminated 80 percent of financial reconciliation rework for finance and accounting operations.
  • Improved analytical services. Initially, finance staff devoted nearly a third of their time to reconciliation and error correction. The Lab’s E2E process mapping identified process improvements which eliminated this avoidable work within just three months. Given the fierce competition for talent, this allowed staff to redirect their effort to their most valuable—and rewarding—service: Financial analysis.

Paving the way for bots

Robotic process automation or RPA allows “bots” to “sit at the computer” just like their human counterparts, replete with their own log-in’s and passwords to various systems.

This hospital network, like most businesses, had been relying on its staffers as the “human glue” to connect systems that don’t, won’t, or can’t talk to each other. Think of repetitive chores such as reconciling fields of data between systems, and/or copying and pasting information from one system into another. After E2E process mapping and automation discovery, the exact places and processes that are ripe for “parking a bot on” are quickly identified.

The Lab routinely configures and implements RPA bots, from our U.S. offices in Houston, with nothing outsourced or offshored, in a matter of weeks.

Boosting the bottom line

After the seven-week process-mapping and automation-discovery phase, this client retained The Lab for the implementation phase. In just six months, The Lab helped them to achieve their goal of standardized work methods and effective centralization. As a result:

  • Operating costs declined by 20 percent.
  • The organization recouped 25 percent of productive capacity.
  • Customer service levels nearly doubled.
  • Annual savings totaled $13.8M.

The project was completely self-funding. It broke even in just five months. Twelve-month ROI on the engagement was fivefold.

Standardize now with The Lab

The best way to appreciate this speed and game-changing power is to see it for yourself. We invite you to schedule your free, no-obligation 30-minute screen-sharing demo with The Lab. You’ll see real RPA banking bots in action, and get all your questions answered by our friendly experts.

Simply contact The Lab today at (201) 526-1200 or email us at to book your free screen-share bot demo.


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