Forces Under 40 2017

by DSN Staff

Click here to order the March 2017 issue in which this article appeared.

DSN is thrilled to showcase the most outstanding young professionals working in direct selling companies today. These honorees represent all aspects of the business—from technology and marketing to finance and field services—and represent the fine talent of tomorrow. We know it is imperative to nurture and encourage the young leaders in our channel in order to secure the brightest future possible for all.

These dynamic young leaders are broadening the scope of the companies they work for as well as our entire channel of distribution. Based upon the enthusiastic nominations of the honorees presented here, the future is bright indeed. The program was open to all full-time professionals working in active direct selling companies who turned 40 years old on or after Jan. 1, 2017. The honorees are presented in alphabetical order with each profile including the thoughts and words of the honoree’s respective company.

We also want to thank our generous sponsors, Avalara and Fossil.


…. Continue to the Honoree’s profiles.




Thirty-One Gifts to Premiere New Collection at Hundreds of Theaters

Thirty-One Gifts is coming soon to theaters across North America. The Columbus, Ohio-based company is unveiling its latest collection during special showings to be held Saturday in 275 cities.

The unique format is a means to promote the company’s spring/summer 2016 offerings and train independent sales consultants to sell the products. The 12-year-old company specializes in trendy and functional bags, home organization solutions and, following last year’s acquisition of Jewel Kade, artisan jewelry.

“This is the best, most exciting way to give our sales field the tools they need to find solutions for their customers’ personal, family and home organization and fashion needs, and more,” Cindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts Founder, President and CEO, said in a statement. “Our product premiere allows thousands to see the reveal of our new products and patterns at once, and to be able to share that information with their customers at home parties in 2016.”

Through its network of 85,000-plus consultants, Thirty-One Gifts generated revenue of $643 million in 2014. The company expects approximately 45,000 of those consultants to attend its mass product premiere at select theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

Forbes: Rodan and Fields among America’s Richest Self-Made Women

Two direct selling entrepreneurs are among the top women in the country blazing their own—very lucrative—trails, according to a new list by Forbes.

A feature on America’s Richest Self-Made Women, appearing in the June issue of Forbes magazine, includes Rodan + Fields Founders Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields. The dermatologist duo tied at No. 42, with respective net worths of $320 million, trailed by the likes of pop mogul Beyoncé Knowles and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. Before launching their eponymous skincare brand, the business partners created acne treatment Proactiv, currently licensed to direct marketer Guthy-Renker. They have also co-authored two lifestyle books focused on skincare solutions.

Topping the list of successful, self-made women is Elizabeth Holmes, Founder and CEO of blood testing firm Theranos and the world’s youngest female billionaire, with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Twenty-two of the top 50 hail from the Technology or Fashion & Retail sectors.

An accompanying feature highlights eight businesswomen to watch, including Thirty-One Gifts Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe. Monroe’s net worth is a reported $200 million, matching that of Hollywood leading lady Sandra Bullock and genre-defying music artist Taylor Swift.

“When she was 28 and a young working mother, Monroe had an idea to help women earn extra money by hosting parties selling gifts and accessories,” the piece states. “She held the first in 2003. Since then over 300,000 consultants have held more than 4.5 million parties for her company, Thirty-One Gifts.”

Thirty-One Brings its Totes and Accessories to Alberta, Canada

On the heels of its success in Ontario, Thirty-One Gifts’ first Canadian province, the company is expanding the sale of its products into Alberta. Beginning Feb. 10, Thirty-One will make available its entire line of personalized home organization products and totes as well as its new Jewell by Thirty-One line of faux leather purses and accessories.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company has worked to establish itself in Ontario over the past two years, and Alberta, with a strong economy and interest in Thirty-One products, served as a welcomed opportunity for the company’s movement into new markets.

“We were purposeful about keeping to a single Canadian province for a period of time in order to thoughtfully introduce our brand and values to a new country,” said Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO Cindy Monroe. “Our business is about relationships and we’ve spent time focusing on building those relationships in Ontario, creating a strong foundation for growth and success as we expand into Alberta.”

Christina Snyder, Vice President of New Market Development, said she already sees a strong leadership base in Alberta, and looks forward to holding two upcoming opportunity events in Calgary, Alberta, for potential consultants.

“We’re going to show them we truly are a relationship company and we care about women having a fulfilling, enjoyable way to earn extra income,” Snyder said.

Thirty-One to Offer Artisan Jewelry Following Jewel Kade Acquisition

Photo above: Jewel Kade Founder Janet Kinkade (left) and Thirty-One Gifts Founder Cindy Monroe.

Thirty-One Gifts is ringing in the new year with a new addition to its family of brands. The Columbus, Ohio-based company has announced the acquisition of Utah-based direct seller Jewel Kade, an artisan jewelry brand founded in 2009. Beginning in spring 2015, Thirty-One will offer JK by Thirty-One jewelry in addition to its handbags, totes and home organization products.

Similar vision and values make the two companies a great fit, said Thirty-One Director of Communications Kate Hannum-Rose. Like Thirty-One Founder Cindy Monroe, Janet Kinkade launched Jewel Kade from her basement with the hope of equipping and empowering women to succeed on their own terms. Both brands also bring a personal touch with the option to customize various products. Jewel Kade now partners with a network of 1,500 stylists nationwide and has been featured on The Today Show, Ellen and American Idol.

JK by Thirty-One is not the only fresh offering coming to Thirty-One customers in 2015. The company has also acquired upscale accessories brand Jewell, a direct selling startup co-founded in 2013 by Monroe and her sister, Christie Jewell Woodfin. These strategic acquisitions bring new growth opportunities to a company that has achieved annual net sales of $763 million in its first decade.

“Years ago, Thirty-One offered gifting categories like jewelry and purses, and these acquisitions are great opportunities to bring some of these successful products back in our product offering, along with the other amazing bags, totes and home organization products in our spring catalog,” said Hannum-Rose.

With the acquisition, Thirty-One is offering Jewel Kade stylists the opportunity to join its family of consultants. Kinkade will also carry on her role as the principal jewelry designer for JK by Thirty-One.

90 Days of Direct Selling – Day 80


Thirty-One Gifts

2013 Net Sales: $763 million

Country: USA

Thirty-One Gifts offers products for everyone’s lifestyle—stylish purses, totes, home organization solutions and more, most of which can be personalized. Independent sales consultants are located throughout the U.S. and Ontario, Canada.


2012 Rank: 18
2012 Net Sales: $718 million
Sales Method: Party plan and group sales
Compensation Structure: Multi-level
Products: Handbags, totes
Markets: 2
Salespeople: 121,249
Employees: 1,683
Headquarters: Columbus, Ohio
Executive: Cindy Monroe
Year Founded: 2003


2014 DSN Global 100 List

DSN 100

Since 2004 Direct Selling News has been dedicated to telling stories focused on relating the opportunities direct sellers provide to millions of independent business owners around the globe. So it seemed only fitting for DSN to further recognize the industry by compiling a comprehensive list, starting in 2010, of the top direct selling companies in the world.

The DSN Global 100 list offers a unique perspective on the global impact of the industry on economic and social realms. It provides a range of mutual learning not only for industry members but also for researchers, investors and—most important—those seeking opportunities within the industry. In an effort to support transparency and verify authenticity, DSN implemented a new standard for the 2011 ranking, which we have continued each year since: the Revenue Certification Form (RCF). In addition to an updated profile, each company is asked to submit an RCF signed by the CEO and CFO or designated agent. Some privately-held companies choose not to participate in the Global 100 process, and therefore do not appear on this list. We encourage all companies to submit the required forms. We thank all the companies that willingly participated in our survey as well as our dedicated team of researchers who helped us present to you the remarkable achievements of direct sellers around the globe. The following contains the ranking for the 2014 DSN Global 100 (based on 2013 revenues), our annual list of the top revenue-generating direct selling companies in the world. The list is published in the June issue of Direct Selling News.

Click here to celebrate your company’s achievement with customized recognition prints.

2014 Rank

Company Name

2013 Revenue

1 Amway $11.80B
2 Avon $9.95B
3 Herbalife $4.80B
4 Vorwerk $3.70B
5 Mary Kay $3.60B
6 Natura $3.20B
7 Nu Skin $3.18B
8 Tupperware $2.67B
9 Belcorp $1.96B
10 Oriflame $1.95B
11 Primerica $1.27B
12 Ambit Energy $1.20B
13 Telecom Plus $1.10B
14 Stream Energy $867M
15 Yanbal $848M
16 Miki $783M
17 Thirty-One $763M
18 Blyth (PartyLite and ViSalus) $750M
19 USANA $718M
20 ACN $700M
21 New Era $678M
22 Market America $547M
23 Amore Pacific $520M
24 Forbes Lux $489M
25 Scentsy $485M
26 AdvoCare $460M
27 It Works! Global $456M
28 Noevir Holdings $455M
29 Isagenix $448M
30 COSWAY $440M
31 YoFoto $428M
32 Arbonne $413M
33 Better Way $407M
34 Nature’s Sunshine $378M
35 For Days $376M
36 Apollo $340M
37 Team National $332M
39 Team Beachbody $328M
40 LR Health & Beauty Systems $323M
41 4Life $300M
42 Longrich $292M
43 PM-International $284M
44 Neways $280M
45 Viridian Energy $267M
46 Jeunesse $257M
47 North American Power $256M
48 MENARD $255M
49 Southwestern Advantage $253M
50 Elken $233M
50 Origami Owl $233M
52 Take Shape For Life $229M
53 Vemma $221M
54 Nerium $219M
55 LG Household & Health Care $215M
55 Organo Gold $215M
57 Naris Cosmetics $214M
58 Charle $208M
58 LifeVantage $208M
60 Pro-Health $204M
61 CUTCO $200M
61 HEIM & HAUS $200M
63 Naturally Plus $199M
64 Rodan + Fields $196M
65 WorldVentures $195M
66 Family Heritage Life $192M
68 Huis Clos $184M
69 GNLD $178M
70 Mannatech $177M
71 Giffarine $176M
72 Enagic $170M
73 Diana $166M
73 BearCere’Ju $166M
75 Hy Cite $164M
76 Plexus $160M
77 Princess House $154M
78 Gano Excel $150M
79 Zija $144M
80 KOYO-SHA $141M
81 Zhulian Marketing $127M
82 Univera $118M
83 Nikken $115M
84 5LINX $112M
85 Vision International People Group $96M
85 Arsoa Honsha $96M
87 New Image $95M
88 Nefful $94M
89 Youngevity $86M
90 Akasuka $83M
91 Tastefully Simple $79M
92 Kleeneze $76M
94 Chandeal $72M
95 Momentis $71M
95 Seacret $71M
97 Ion Cosmetics $70M
98 Reliv $68M
99 CVSL $65M
100 Zurvita $63M

Click here to celebrate your company’s achievement with customized recognition prints.

Direct Selling’s ‘Influential Women’ Collect Top Honors

DSN recognizes direct selling’s Most Influential Women as a force within the industry, but their impact reaches far beyond the scope of direct selling. Two recent examples include Thirty-One CEO Cindy Monroe and Mary Kay CMO Sheryl Adkins-Green, both recognized for their achievements among America’s leading businesswomen.

Enterprising Women magazine has named Thirty-One’s Cindy Monroe as one of its 2014 Enterprising Women of the Year. The prestigious award honors women who, in addition to leading fast-growth businesses, support other women entrepreneurs and take on leadership roles within their communities. Monroe was a winner in the top category, representing companies that generate more than $25 million in annual sales.

Monroe has described her own leadership style as both hands-on and hands-off. “I’m really good at setting the vision and telling them that I can roll up my sleeves and be there to help them now, but I do know when it’s time to back off and let them shine,” Monroe told DSN.

Brand Innovators, an exclusive community of brand marketers from the world’s top brands, has recognized Sheryl Adkins-Green among its Top 50 Women in Marketing. The Mary Kay marketing chief ranked No. 26 on the list, which honors standout marketing professionals—particularly those who successfully leverage digital media and emerging tech platforms.

“The most important thing that I’m focused on is inviting more women—a lot more women—to discover Mary Kay,” Adkins told DSN in a recent interview. “I believe that if they experience the customized service of an Independent Beauty Consultant and learn about the Mary Kay ‘Pink Changing Lives’ initiatives in the community, they will fall in love with the brand!”

The Most Influential Women in Direct Selling

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Order reprints of Cindy Monroe’s profile here.

Thirty-One Gifts Products Thirty-one Gifts

Cindy Monroe
Founder and CEO, Thirty-One Gifts

When Cindy Monroe talks about leading by example, she’s all in—or, maybe it’s out. Rather than leading a sales initiative from a posh executive office, she’s out on the floor in a cube like everyone else. “I am one who is willing to do the same thing that I’m asking anyone else to do,” she says.

As Founder and CEO of this fast-growing, party-plan company, Monroe says, “I’m really good at setting the vision and telling them that I can roll up my sleeves and be there to help them now, but I do know when it’s time to back off and let them shine.” Only by learning on their own and occasionally falling, she says, do people learn how to pick themselves up and depend upon others on the team. Monroe has been in the thick of an infrastructure build-out at Thirty-One Gifts for several years, which included warehouse management, order entry and inventory systems. “We took the time, energy, and resources and invested it, and now we have a solid foundation. The next two years are really going to be all hands on deck and focused on our sales field to really make them feel like they are No. 1,” she says. Cindy Monroe, Founder and CEO, Thirty-One GiftsBuilding that foundation took Monroe out of her “wheelhouse” of sales, marketing and product, but that shift in focus allowed her to grow and better grasp areas like operations, finance and IT. “You can’t, as an owner or CEO, be spending millions of dollars without understanding where that money is being spent. There’s a responsibility as an executive that you have to get in and understand it from the inside out,” Monroe says. With sales, marketing and communication as a priority in 2014, Monroe once again steps into her comfort zone to figure out how best to apply tools and technology to support relationships, the party, the business model and 120,000 Independent Consultants. Finding the right balance of technology in a relationship-based industry is tricky. Too much is distracting, and Monroe believes that can put the entire industry at risk. On a personal level, striking balance between work and family has been one of Monroe’s greatest challenges. “I personally take all my roles very seriously, and I really want to make sure I’m delivering and being the best at all of them,” she says. “One of the things I’ve been able to do is to practice and learn how to be present with whatever I’m doing—being in the moment and focusing on who I’m with and what role I’m playing. It’s something that you have to work at. You have to hold yourself accountable and have other people to help hold you accountable.” Monroe puts work and family on one calendar. Sometimes they overlap, but that keeps her head in both worlds in case her daughter texts photos of her winter formal dress or her son checks in. She says, “If I’m planning a date night, I put that on my calendar, and I think it helps me mentally shift gears. I’m preparing for 6 p.m. when I’m going to dinner with Scott, instead of waiting until 5:59 p.m. and saying, ‘Oh, no! I’ve got dinner with Scott!’ ”

Cindy Monroe on personal development…

“I’m really hard on myself and trying to accept that I’m always growing and maturing. The business has grown so fast that as a person I’ve had to constantly assess where I am and make sure that the business is not outpacing me. So I’m very careful with my own development and very purposeful with it. I don’t have one strategic system, but I have multiple in place.”

Thirty-One Gifts

Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe started Thirty-One Gifts in the basement of her home 10 years ago with a mission to empower women, strengthen families and change lives. Today, there are over 120,000 Independent Consultants, who last year presented the company’s line of personalized bags and accessories at over 1 million home parties. The company believes strongly in giving back. In 2013, Thirty-One Gives again worked with the Direct Selling Association and NBC’s TODAY Show to deliver 250,000 items to an annual toy drive. Over the last four years, that partnership has gathered some 750,000 items, equaling about $20 million, for American children in need. Thirty-One consultants distribute the toys through local nonprofit partnerships that carry forward the company’s mission of celebrating, encouraging and rewarding women and girls. The effort truly impacts local communities. Some 16,000 Independent Consultants and guests gathered last July for the largest national conference in Thirty-One history, and the company hosted its first Canadian national conference as well. The Columbus, Ohio-based company is the second largest woman-owned company in central Ohio with nearly 2,300 employees between its headquarters and distribution centers.

Thirty-One Gifts ranked No. 18 on the Direct Selling News Global 100 with sales of $718 million in 2012.

Order reprints of Cindy Monroe’s profile here.

Operations and Processes: The Keys to Creating a Successful Experience

by Barbara Seale and DSN Staff

Click here to order the December 2013 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

DSN December 2013, Cover.

Direct selling companies know that behind every successful consultant stands an army of people who are working hard to ensure the total customer experience is a highly successful and positive one.

No matter how wonderful a product is or how fun an event has been, once the order is placed the customer experience is taken out of the hands of the consultant and turned over to those behind the scenes—the customer service rep, the warehouse manager, the picker/packer and the IT team member—who ultimately determine the overall satisfaction level of the customer.

The foundational functions of a business—from order processing to supply chain management to IT systems—are critical to success. A company’s operational elements must be continuously maintained and constantly updated or the company eventually grinds to a halt. Routine meetings and efficient distribution and delivery processes aren’t the sexy part of the business, but they literally make or break the business. Without them, the consultant might lose confidence in the company and could leave in frustration.

The foundational functions of a business—from order processing to supply chain management to IT systems—are critical to success.

So what is the total customer experience? It encompasses much more than attending a party and ordering products. A recent article in the September 2013 Harvard Business Review (HBR) reported that customers don’t think of businesses in terms of individual touch points such as websites or shipping or even gatherings. Instead, they measure their satisfaction through their entire experience. Well-run, frequent parties held by a top consultant can be trumped by slow product delivery to the customer. And since direct selling companies actually have two layers of customers—the consultant and her final customer—the effect becomes twice as important. According to HBR, the quality of those cumulative interactions, called the customer “journey,” shows up in the bottom line.

    • In measurements of customer satisfaction performing just one point better than peer companies on a 10-point scale corresponds to at least a two percent better performance on revenue growth rate.
  • The gap between the top- and bottom-quartile companies on journey performance was 50 percent wider than the gap between top- and bottom-quartile companies on touch point performance in one of the surveyed industries.

Think of your own experience, and the survey rings just as true for direct selling as for other industries. Have you ever discontinued a popular product, replacing it with another that was truly improved, only to receive complaints from consultants that their customers were leaving them? Customers still had access to a top-notch product, the same great service as always and your money-back guarantee, but they were disgruntled nonetheless—and so were your consultants. Their view of the company is based on their whole experience, which is fueled by every element of your operational system and all your processes. While customers and consultants are practically unaware of these things because they’re mostly behind the scenes, to them you’re the sum of all your parts.

That’s why so many direct selling companies are currently putting a lot of focus on the operational side of the business, making substantial investments to ensure the field has those systems and processes in place to help them be successful.

“We’re committed to making sure that our field tools work well, our back-office systems are efficient, and every phone call, every ticket and every order shipped is the best it can be,” says Al Richey, Vice President of U.S. Operations at Nerium International. “That only helps cause satisfaction and retention. The last thing I ever want to do is lose a customer because operations dropped the ball. We set a high bar, but it’s our bar.”

“The last thing I ever want to do is lose a customer because operations dropped the ball. We set a high bar, but it’s our bar.”
—Al Richey, Vice President of U.S. Operations, Nerium International

Processing the Order

In 2011 Scentsy was named to Inc. magazine’s annual 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private businesses. The party-plan company’s 2010 revenues of $382 million and three-year sales growth rate of 2,904 percent had it placing 85th on the list.

But growing at such a pace brought with it some very real concerns—mainly, how do you keep pace with the demand for product? Scentsy’s IT Department, headed by Chief Information Officer Matt Cooley, was tasked with improving and refining the company’s front-end system. Utilizing key software platforms from Microsoft and SAP technology, they developed an e-commerce and fulfillment platform that allows consultants to quickly place orders and track order progress.

The SAP system, which was launched in January, allows Scentsy to deal with the various demands of an e-commerce business—such as placing last-minute orders, handling surges in volume, doing custom calculating for commission structure and helping project commissions.

At Ambit, co-founders Jere Thompson and Chris Chambless recognized the IT challenge as they built the company. They invested in a proprietary, robust, scalable system called BlueNet™ that could handle rapid growth. The company’s Chief Information Officer, John Burke, recruited expert staff members to build a system that could flawlessly perform all the functions a traditional energy company needs, as well as pay commissions to the company’s independent energy consultants—plus, it had to be able to grow along with the company. They also chose a headquarters location with an open environment that fosters communication among all staff members.

“BlueNet is the reason we’ve been able to grow to where we are today,” says Eric Johnstone, Ambit’s Vice President of Marketing and Field Services. “We had to put a lot of systems and processes in place before we had our first customer.”

Salt Lake City-based USANA uses Odyssey, a proprietary logistics technology system, to track associates’ past and current orders across its 18 markets as well as rank advancement and contact information. In a typical month, the company handles 82,000 orders.

USANA has also embraced mobile technology: Its online shopping cart, online enrollment and auto-orders can all be accessed from mobile devices, and its True Health Assessment showcases the use of Online Enrollment and Shopping on an iPad. USANA has full-order tracking online from the shopping cart, from the USANAtoday back office and through automated emails.

Distribution Centers

Even though robust operational infrastructure is universally acknowledged as one of a company’s must-haves, some companies have found that rapid growth can overwhelm it. Thirty-One Gifts discovered that it had an enviable problem a few years ago when growth threatened to outpace the ability of the company’s business processes, systems and overall infrastructure to support it. The company made a bold decision. With more than 5,000 new consultants joining the company each month, it froze recruiting for four months in 2011 to allow it to beef up its infrastructure and processes.

“We knew that implementing the recruiting freeze was something we had to do,” explains Thirty-One President Andy Neri. “We started the company with a commitment to our consultants to give them the opportunity to be successful, but we also knew we had to have critical business processes and infrastructure to not just keep pace with growth at that time, but to get us out in front of it to be foundational for the future.”

With more than 5,000 new consultants joining Thirty-One Gifts each month, it froze recruiting for four months in 2011 to allow it to beef up its infrastructure and processes.

The company used the pause to expand into a new personalization and distribution center; to upgrade warehousing and order management systems; to improve training for consultants; and to add staff at its call center.

Today, the distribution center in Columbus is automated and systematically controlled. Picking is done there at the center, with conveyer belts taking products up to the mezzanine level where monogramming is completed (which can add one to two days to the delivery process). The distribution center ships an average of 740,000 units per week, and according to COO John DiCecco, 99.8 percent of the orders are 100 percent correct. Approximately 16 percent of all orders are shipped directly to the customer and 84 percent are shipped to the consultant/hostess; 99.6 percent of all customers receive their orders complete, without backorders.

Scentsy has also invested heavily in distribution centers to help handle the surges in volume. In a typical month, the company processes approximately 365,000 shipments in North America, but that number can flex during peak seasonal volume to over 600,000 shipments a month.

In September 2011 the company opened a 190,947-square-foot distribution center on the Scentsy Campus in Meridian, Idaho, and announced plans for a 150,000-square-foot distribution center in Texas, where more Scentsy products are sold than any other state.

The Coppell, Texas, center handles approximately 27 percent of Scentsy’s orders in the United States and has reduced shipping times to customers in the south and central U.S. from three to four transit days to one to two days. The center also has a custom-built pack station with a dedicated packer, as all Scentsy distribution centers do.

“Because of the intricacies of our packs, we invest heavily in our packers,” says COO Tabb Compton. “We need the highest quality of packs and the highest quality of fill rates and accuracy to that pack. Rather than using more automated systems, we want that true team-member touch because they are the last person to touch the consultant before the delivery is made.” Scentsy boasts nearly 100 percent accuracy on items selected to items shipped.

Speed of Delivery

Nu Skin has been in business for almost 30 years and now operates in 53 countries. Logistics for such a company is a huge undertaking, and at Nu Skin, that complex function is overseen by a Vice President of Logistics. Scott Schwerdt, President of the Americas Region, estimates that operational coordination occupies about 50 percent of management’s time internally, purely because of its complexity and significance.

“Getting products into 53 countries, with different formulations and different regulations is such a significant part of our business because it can make or break us,” he states flatly. “Failure to have products on the shelves for distributors is tantamount to putting them out of business. Or if they can’t order directly from the company, it impacts their confidence. If any one of the operational legs of our business falls down, it can stop them dead in their tracks.”

Schwerdt notes that Nu Skin’s sophisticated SAP logistics and sales system software tracks the complicated movement of products throughout the company and to their eventual destination, providing management with a complete picture of operations at any point in time. Daily logistics meetings and weekly global operations meetings let managers look at every issue affecting the business and then take any necessary steps to make sure they’re delivering on their commitments.

“Failure to have products on the shelves for distributors is tantamount to putting them out of business. Or if they can’t order directly from the company, it impacts their confidence.”
—Scott Schwerdt, President of the Americas Region, Nu Skin Enterprises Inc.

Operational systems usually work best when a business is predictable. Some innovations aid that process. At Nu Skin, its enviable auto-ship program is one of the keys. Most of its monthly shipments are generated by its auto-ship function, allowing the company to predict each quarter’s results with almost 100 percent accuracy.

USANA delivery can vary depending on the ship zone and method used for shipping. Products are shipped directly to customers from USANA’s corporate headquarters in Salt Lake City, and on average the process can take anywhere from two days to 10–14 days. The company boasts a 99.9 percent accuracy rate on delivery.

For Mannatech, 99 percent of orders are shipped directly to the consultants, and the average delivery time is 2.4 days, with a 99.8 (plus or minus 0.15) percent accuracy rate. If an order is shipped short by mistake, the customer calls to notify the company and Mannatech sends out a comp order to correct the shipping mistake. The inventory for the comp order is actually accounted for when the next cycle count is done, which results in a wash of the inventory level for that item. Mannatech absorbs the additional cost to ship out backorders.

At Scentsy, 70 percent of products are sent to the consultant and 30 percent directly to the customer the consultant represents. The company has worked hard to be able to get to all contiguous U.S. locations within three days; the actual transit time is 2.2 days. The timeframe from the date that Scentsy receives the order to delivery is two to three business days. So, overall, the company operates under a five-day business model, which might be extended during the holidays and at the end of the month when volumes typically increase.

Scentsy is very diligent about tracking missing items and has a missing items ratio of .02 percent of total units shipped versus units reported missing to its customer support group. It has a 99.9 percent ratio on fill rates. The company spends a lot of time to ensure the items being promoted in the catalog are available at any point in time. If items are backordered, Scentsy will process the order the moment the product is replenished under a first-in, first-out model, without charging additional shipping.

Handling Service Issues

Even with the best in operations, service issues inevitably arise and must be handled quickly and efficiently.

The perfect storm can converge, and one did earlier this year at Ambit. On a Saturday—prime time for part-time direct sellers to work their business—Ambit’s consultant back office, Power Zone, went down. The Ambit team immediately began communicating through emails and texts to its field sales leaders, who then cascaded the information to their teams. The problem turned out to be an external issue that was resolved within four hours.

“We had a post mortem the next morning and let consultants know what had happened,” says Johnstone, Ambit’s Vice President, Marketing and Field Services. “The issue turned out to be minor because we tackled it right away and quickly informed everyone who needed to know or take action. In our culture, titles aren’t important. You do what you need to do and think like an entrepreneur in this organization.”

As harrowing as an operations crisis can be, it’s also an opportunity to improve. “You can do all the due diligence in the world and prepare, prepare, prepare,” Johnstone reflects. “But there can be something that wasn’t communicated properly to us, and one little thing can affect another. We always have lessons learned from every market.”

USANA has two call centers in the U.S. handling calls for North America, Europe and the Caribbean Islands. The company believes it is important to provide a convenient and personalized avenue for the associates and customers to place orders, answer questions or receive help with their business needs. The average call wait time is 36 seconds.

USANA’s customer service team is available through all media, including phone, email, Facebook, chat, and through the mail. All attempts are made to personalize the service each customer receives. On average, USANA’s customer service department handles talk time—for eight different languages—in about 294 seconds. However, USANA’s customer service team does not set talk-time limits and encourages its Customer Service Reps (CSRs) to remain on the call as long as the customer needs them to handle the situation with One Call Resolution.

“You can do all the due diligence in the world and prepare, prepare, prepare, but there can be something that wasn’t communicated properly to us, and one little thing can affect another.”
—Eric Johnstone, Vice President, Marketing and Field Services, Ambit

Mannatech has an in-house call center, and CSRs are available via phone to assist customers with placing their web orders. Customers have a tracking number for each order that is placed. The company accepts issue reports via phone, email, mail or fax. Most issues are addressed immediately over the phone or email by the CSR. More complex issues are answered within 24–48 hours.

“We are constantly searching for ways to wow our customers,” says Landen Fredrick, Vice President of Global Operations. “Whether it is initiatives to decrease hold times or to improve the overall experience each Associate has with our representatives, we are always in a state of constant improvement. Overall our goal is for the customer service we provide to be a distinction that sets us apart.”

Scentsy has a company owned and operated Customer Care Center on its Meridian campus. The Customer Support Group tracks speed in answering and first-call resolution. The call wait time is 30 seconds to 1 minute, and the goal is that all solutions are provided within 24 hours.

Excellence is one of USANA’s four core company values and is emphasized through customer service’s weekly trainings, mentoring sessions, one-on-ones and call monitoring feedback. Excellence is tracked through a Compliment vs. Complaint scorecard with the goal to maintain at least 10 times more specific compliments than complaints, which the company has been able to achieve year after year. This year USANA’s customer service department has recorded 20 times more compliments than complaints.

“While we love the compliments, complaints are also welcomed so USANA can continue to grow and strengthen its services,” says Chief Communications Officer Dan Macuga.

Honoring the Consultant

“Operations can’t grow a business, but it can kill it,” notes Nerium International’s Richey. “The most important way to make sure we’re driving operations to the best of our ability is to get out from behind email and the other things that can distract us, and get together face-to-face, focusing on the thing that needs to be done.”

At Scentsy, there is rarely a refinement, process improvement or quality initiative brought to the executive team that does not get approved if it clearly would impact the consultant in a positive manner.

He notes that Nerium is set up as two organizational groups that collaborate regularly. “The biggest thing is open communication,” he emphasizes. “No boundaries. Being collaborative. It doesn’t matter who gets credit. As long as we’re taking care of our Brand Partners and customers, we’re getting the job done.”

At Scentsy, there is rarely a refinement, process improvement or quality initiative brought to the executive team that does not get approved if it clearly would impact the consultant in a positive manner. The company is always looking out for its consultants, finding ways to help them succeed.

“Showing our consultants that we are doing everything we can in operations to ensure their success is probably the most important aspect of this business,” says Compton. “Over-delivering on their expectations is the investment we make to ensure that we can meet the service standard of our consultants. They are the lifeblood of this organization.”