LANSA has given us the stability to develop our core ERP application. LANSA keeps evolving.


Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) is a global medical technology company that serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories and the public. BD manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. BD uses LANSA Integrator and WebMethods to exchange real-time transactions between its European sales and distribution system and its global eBusiness platform.

Rudi Deschilder, manager eBusiness at BD, says, “Everybody is talking about doing eBusiness, but our focus has always been to do Business. To do business you need an integrated approach involving all business channels, including the eBusiness channel. LANSA is the power behind our core distribution system and the glue between our logistic systems. And LANSA keeps evolving”.

The bottom line is to do more business more efficiently, LANSA helps us with this.

  1. The Challenge: Commerce, Collaboration and Marketing
  2. The eCommerce Solution
  3. Automated Warehousing linked to SAP Manufacturing
  4. Collaborative Computing
  5. Conclusion
  6. Company and System Information

The Challenge: Commerce, Collaboration and Marketing

“Our customers are aligned to BD’s businesses,” explains Deschilder. “For consumer healthcare products like needles, we work mostly via distributors. Our medical division deals mostly with hospitals. For our pre-analytical solutions our customers are the clinical laboratories, and for bio-science we deal with research laboratories and universities.”

“We are not the largest player in our market, but we excel in the way we communicate with our customers. We strive for an ‘Extended Enterprise’ and see eBusiness as a first step in bringing customers closer to us.”

“The ultimate goal of the Extended Enterprise is complete integration of the logistic processes of our internal systems and the external systems of our customers. But we also see an opportunity for better collaboration and to increase our marketing reach. For example, today we may only communicate with the purchase manager of a hospital, but we also want to exchange information with the medical staff of that hospital.”

“Besides product information BD has lots of collateral research material, white papers, brochures and certificates of product analysis. Basic information we like to make available to all our customers, but ‘deep scientific information’ should only be available to subscribers in a customized and personalized fashion where the customer profile determines the level and type of information.”

“We are a global company and need to integrate business systems worldwide. Worldwide BD used SAP on a Sun Solaris that is located in North America. Here at BD Europe we have our own iSeries and LANSA-based sales and distribution system, but we do use SAP’s manufacturing, logistics planning and procurement modules. BD’s eBusiness platform is Broadvision-based, also on a Sun Solaris.”

“We are also a major partner in, a Global Healthcare Exchange marketplace. And we need to communicate with Ariba and other procurement solutions systems our customers may use. All these systems generate transactions that need to be processed by one or more of the other systems.”

Our eBusiness initiatives have created more brand awareness for our company name.

The eCommerce solution

Nadine de Muynck, IT Manager BD Europe, explains, “We have been using LANSA development tools for our core ERP system in Europe since the late 80s and when LANSA Integrator was announced it provided an easy way for us to process and generate XML. On our SAP and Broadvision systems, we had already implemented WebMethods to process and generate XML. So, now all our platforms are able to exchange transactions.”

“Companies can place orders with us in a variety of ways. A decreasing percentage of orders still arrives in the traditional way by phone or fax and is manually entered in our LANSA-based sales and distribution system. A large percentage of orders arrives by EDI and is automatically processed in the same core system.”

“Everything we develop is universal,” comments Deschilder. “We don’t differentiate between our own website and external portal sites and we view our own website, developed with Broadvision on a Sun Solaris, as an e-partner. This site offers online and real-time e-procurement, which includes transactions for orders, order status, price requests and product availability. These transactions are transformed to XML by WebMethods and accepted by LANSA Integrator for immediate order processing and confirmation back to WebMethods.”

“We also accept orders from Orders placed on are transformed and sent in XML format by WebMethods. In case of European customers, LANSA Integrator accepts these orders in real-time on our iSeries-based sales and distribution platform in Europe. Order confirmations go the opposite way. The XML is generated and transmitted in real-time by LANSA Integrator and sent to the to WebMethods on Orders are processed immediately on our system and order status information becomes instantly available to the portal site.”

“And some of our customers use Ariba or other procurement solutions. These public market places do round-trips. They assemble their shopping basket on our site, but take it to their own platform for confirmation. Then they send their order in XML format to our platform. LANSA Integrator accepts the order for processing and the order follows the same path in our LANSA system as for the other order methods.”

“LANSA Integrator provides us with an easy way to generate and receive XML messages,” says de Muynck. “It was just one new LANSA statement in our system to map and process the incoming XML and generate outgoing XML. And with LANSA, we can handle transactions in a procedural way. We don’t close the process of sending transactions until we receive a confirmation from the receiving system that the process was successful. With LANSA Integrator you can just “wait” in the application till you receive confirmation,” continues de Muynck.

“With the universally accepted XML interface, our logistics systems are open for whoever wants to do business with us.”

BD offers end-to-end logistical integration and the eBusiness infrastructure to deliver it.

Automated Warehousing linked to SAP Manufacturing

“We are completely integrated with our eBusiness partners, distributors, transport companies, banks and the end customer. An order only needs to be entered once and will be processed by all relevant systems. Once the order is in our system, a LANSA-built warehouse system takes care of delivery in a completely automated fashion and even integrates with the robotic cranes in our warehouse,” continues de Muynck.

“The LANSA system sends the picking information to an NT server that activates the robotic crane nearest to the pallet that needs to be picked. The pallet is moved to a picking station and at the moment the pallet arrives at the picking station the warehouse worker gets a message on his AS/400 screen that indicates how many items should be picked from this pallet. They pick the items and confirm this to the AS/400. Then LANSA prints a sticky label for the package and updates the delivery status information of the order. The system is completely automated from start to end with LANSA.”

“LANSA links to our global system for stock replenishment and other information using mostly batch EDI ANSI standard messages via SAP’s IDOC interface. For stock replenishment, we prefer real-time connectivity, so we plan to develop a LANSA Integrator link to SAP, again using WebMethods on the SAP side.”

LANSA is the power behind our core distribution system and the glue between our logistics systems.

BD molecular diagnostic solutions.

Collaborative Computing

“In the area of collaborative computing we offer discussion databases and complaint registration,” explains de Muynck. “In case of complaint registration this information is entered on our iSeries using Domino Notes, but the files are updated with LANSA’s IO modules. Lotus Notes Enterprise (LEI) calls the LANSA IO modules, so validations defined in the LANSA Repository are automatically activated when the complaint is processed in our Domino system.”

“With LANSA we have set up our core sales and distribution system in an object oriented way. All validations and logic is defined at file level, in the LANSA repository. Because of LANSA Integrator we can re-use the validations and logic that we defined at file level in our new eBusiness environment, even though our eBusiness runs on a different platform.”

“It is always the same principle. We don’t put any logic in the front-end application, whether it is Lotus Notes, our website or a classic iSeries green-screen. We define the business logic in the LANSA Repository,” says de Muynck.

LANSA has given us the stability to develop our core ERP application. LANSA keeps evolving.


“We are not the largest medical technology company, but we are most advanced in eCommerce, knowledge sharing and collaboration,” says Deschilder. “We are easy to do business with, and people want to do business with us because we have the scientific knowledge, we can offer end-to-end logistical integration and the eBusiness infrastructure to deliver.”

“Our eBusiness initiatives have created more brand awareness for our company name. We have built communities in the domain of diabetics, cancer, AIDS and Parkinson research. We have over 70 different brands of products, some of them very well known in the industry. But now people also recognize BD, the company name behind all these brands.”

“Because of our web presence and eCommerce service, we are able to do business in emerging markets like East Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, with a very limited number of sales representatives and administrative staff.”

“LANSA is the power behind our core distribution system and the glue between our logistic systems. We can accept EDI, fax, phone and web orders directly in our LANSA-based distribution system. And using LANSA Integrator we can exchange XML transactions with external systems that use WebMethods or Ariba. Whatever the source of the transactions, they are processed in a single ERP system.”

“Being successful in eBusiness depends mostly on your ERP application. We can display the delivery status of an order just moments after that order has been placed. If your ERP system is not functioning well, then you better not expose your system on the web.”

“You can manage IT projects in two ways,” says Deschilder. “You can say, we run a marathon and in four years time when the project is finished we look at the result. We don’t re-evaluate our options and mistakes in between. Or you can take 100-meter sprints. We aim for project cycles of 100 days. If that seems too short, then we decrease the scope of the project. Technology changes so fast. A decision made today can be out-of-date tomorrow, and certainly needs to be reviewed in 100 days time.”

“LANSA’s development environment has given us the stability and the capabilities to develop our core ERP application. LANSA keeps evolving. We still view its technology as very up-to-date.”

“Our company goal is to improve human health around the world. But to make that possible we also need to perform well for our shareholders. The bottom line is to do more business more efficiently, and LANSA helps us with this.”

Company and System Information

Becton Dickinson and Company logo

  • BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) is a medical technology company headquartered in Franklin Lakes, NJ USA that manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment and diagnostic products. The revenue for the financial year 2001 was 3.8 billion.
  • BD Europe’s core sales and distribution system was developed in LANSA and includes over 3,000 data files. BD Europe employs 30 developers, of which 12 developers have LANSA skills. The other 18 developers are Lotus Notes developers.
  • BD uses three ERP systems worldwide: The European sales and delivery system is LANSA-based iSeries system. BD Bioscience and BD worldwide run on SAP-based Sun Solaris systems.
  • For more information about Becton Dickinson