Once the news sunk in, “we realize it makes sense and we can be a huge advantage to the Hill-Rom team and we’re glad to be with” the company, according to Miller.
The idea to purchase Virtus “was discussed at a high level,” said Finarty, a three-year Hill-Rom employee. “They’re such a strategic supplier of ours (we thought), ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we were all one family?’ Typically, Virtus workers had been delivering products to Hill-Rom daily and asking what was needed.
Hill-Rom executives wanted to buy this supplier because “the products and components Virtus makes are strategic to our customers and our own portfolio,” Finarty explained. “Customers are increasingly looking at and wanting improved therapies, and the knowledge base and talent at Virtus helps us to provide better products and therapies for our customers. In addition, it allows us to vertically integrate,” which helps control the quality and cost and lets Hill-Rom be more flexible for customers.
Another advantage of the acquisition is “it does allow us to expand our employee presence in Batesville.”
About 95 – 65 hourly and 30 salaried – work at the Virtus plant. The two other Hill-Rom plants in Batesville are larger, Selke with around 120 and Ritter with 350, according to Finarty.
“Short term we don’t anticipate day-to-day changes on either side. Over time, we do expect there to be some efficiencies between the ... sites. We expect to see some deeper integration.”
Miller said the Virtus plant now runs Monday through Thursday. “We actually have an integration team that will work together on figuring out how we move forward.”
Finarty believed the new Hill-Rom associates from Virtus will benefit by being part of a larger company and like its perks. She predicted, “They will enjoy collaborating with Hill-Rom employees in a more direct manner.”
The vice president is hopeful the Virtus workers will continue to focus on day-to-day operations. “I know they have a ton of questions and we’re trying to get answers to those.”
Debbie Blank can be contacted at email@example.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.
Adding assets • This is Hill-Rom's fifth acquisition in five years, after the company purchased Encompass TSS in 2010, Liko in 2011 and Volker and Aspen Surgical in 2012.