Company: FourFrontCustomer: Mary KaySubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: January 1999The cosmetics industry is not one that you would automatically associate with the information technology market. However, with today’s complex business requirements it has become an integral part of the daily operations within this sector. Mary Kay Cosmetics is a prime example of how IT has revolutionised the company’s day to day activities and has enabled them to achieve retail revenues over $1.3 billion during 1997.Founded in 1963, Mary Kay is currently the best selling brand of facial skin care and colour cosmetics in the USA*.
The company employs 2,000 people worldwide and has recently been recognised as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ in America. In 1997, the company became a billion-dollar global enterprise, and now has more than 500,000 independent beauty consultants working on the company’s behalf in over 25 countries. Mary Kay Cosmetics (UK) Ltd is the UK arm of the business and is based in London, employing 20 people to service the current UK network of 2,600 beauty consultants.As a market leader that operates on a global scale, Mary Kay relies heavily upon information technology to keep its offices in constant contact with one another. As well as maintaining the communications with each beauty consultant, their individual sales have to be closely monitored and logged in order to calculate commission payments. Angus Cameron, Managing Director of Mary Kay (UK) Ltd explained, “It would not be feasible to run Mary Kay without the use of information technology tools to cope with the complex range of discounts on retail prices, commissions and incentives that we offer our beauty consultants.
“Mary Kay had been using an in-house developed solution, alongside Filemaker Pro and Sage accounting software, but recognised that in order to sustain their growth plans, they needed to implement a more flexible package to respond to changes in their marketing plan and business requirements as the company evolved.At this point Mary Kay chose to evaluate software from other developers, and found that FourFront’s SIMBA multi-level marketing solution provided the necessary flexibility. SIMBA’s features include the ability to tailor entry and enquiry screens, statements letters and invoices to suit the exact needs of the user. It is also capable of handling complex discount and commission levels across multiple individuals and of producing a wide variety of reports to suit enquiries by consultants about the status of their distributor file.Said Angus Cameron, “The implementation of SIMBA means that Mary Kay can now be more responsive to its consultants.
The new system provides more efficient, effective and detailed communication, improved staff efficiency and cost savings. An ideal combination which can only help to keep the morale high amongst our sales teams.”At Mary Kay, SIMBA is used for the creation of consultant invoices, order picking lists, inventory control, commission payments and account balances. The comprehensive system also allows the appropriate departments to monitor sales and marketing variables for the achievement of the best possible corporate results.The majority of the company’s employees have access to the SIMBA system via the company’s Novell network to process all aspects of communication with the consultants, from order processing, payment of commissions, handling of the distribution of stock and general ledger inputs.Explained Angus Cameron, “The most useful feature of SIMBA is that it provides us with integrated data which allows a universal accounting system to operate within the company.
This provides employees in different departments with the ability to view the same information from any one computer at any time. We like the fact that SIMBA is constantly being reviewed and improved by FourFront. The company provides a highly responsive support service. It has helped us to smooth out any wrinkles and has fully customised the software so that it meets our exact requirements.”SIMBA has also provided Mary Kay with the opportunity to review its corporate IT strategy.
The company is so impressed with the software that FourFront is currently talking to other Mary Kay sites across Europe about the possibility of installing SIMBA to manage their local needs.Mary Kay has been using the software for over a year, and is delighted with its performance. Concluded Angus Cameron, “We are making savings on our resources and achieving efficiencies over the accounts system as a result of implementing SIMBA. In essence, it has allowed us to achieve a higher level of service with the same amount of staff.”* based on Mary Kay sales and the latest industry data