Oiling The Wheels Of Rapid Growth At dōTERRA

Estelle Lagorce

dōTERRA means “gift of the Earth,” and the therapeutic-grade essential oils the company produces and sells are certainly seen as a gift by its clients. The company currently has over three million customers and distributors. That number is growing rapidly and, with a 68% reorder rate, they’re obviously happy with the goods they receive, and with the service, as well. A unique business model – a direct-selling approach – allows individual distributors called “wellness advocates” to work with customers.

Founded in 2008, dōTERRA’s story has been one of spectacular growth. In 2014 the company was continuing to grow in double digits month over month, with dozens of new international markets opening. In addition to essential oils, the company also offers nutritional, spa, and healthy-living products.

Supporting growth with scalable, high-performing systems

With that sort of growth, it’s not surprising that, by 2014, dōTERRA had outstripped the capabilities of the business application it originally started with.

According to Todd Thompson, CIO, “We began to suffer from slow performance and system outages, so the impetus to move to a scale-up enterprise solution was strong.” The company needed to improve functionality for its core business functions, increase system scalability and global footprint, and reduce third-party dependency for day-to-day operations.

dōTERRA began to look for software to improve its core business functions of finance, operations, HR, order management, Web enrollment and e-commerce, and customer relationship management.

In addition, the management team wanted to enhance analytics for strategic decision-making and improved business performance.

A four-phase approach

After a rigorous selection process, dōTERRA selected enterprise resource management (ERP) software and Deloitte as the implementation partner.

According to Todd, “Something clicked with the Deloitte team from the start. It was easier to connect interpersonally to develop a team-oriented partnership with open dialog and debate.”

The team opted for a multi-wave project spanning four years of phased rollouts.

“Our goal was to run sophisticated while still feeling like a small company as we grow,” Todd said. “We did not want to get into an ERP environment where we felt forced into a landscape much too complex for our needs. We wanted to keep it quick, simple, and agile – given our age, size, growth, and business.”

dōTERRA is now well on its journey to a new applications environment. In April 2016 a new system was implemented for managing the company’s static Web site content, which extends to more than 5,000 pages of information about the company and its products and services.

A month later the second wave rolled out back-office finance and controlling, logistics and operations, and HR functionality in the U.S. The third wave, due to go live in summer 2017, will see a new solution for e-commerce and member enrollment in the U.S. The final wave will be rolling all these solutions out worldwide, scheduled for the middle of 2018.

Mature and sophisticated finance processes for a dynamic business

More robust finance processes have improved budgeting, cost, and cash management, as well as financial reporting.

While the additional capabilities introduced so far were well-needed and gladly accepted, they also created a challenge for business stakeholders at times, and certainly involved some uplift in skills. With more sophistication available now, dōTERRA needs to significantly enhance the maturity of its business processes as it scales and grows. The software has facilitated that. “For instance, we price products with more granularity than we used to now that we have cost elements in the original masters,” Todd remarked, adding that business users are now enjoying the simplicity of their personalized screens.

Now that dōTERRA has access to more data, one thing in the plans is to use more advanced analytics. “Our vision is for every knowledge worker in the company to have a dashboard-level view for drilling down into area of main concern,” Todd explained.

There is no doubt that the project has been successful and, according to Todd, one of the key reasons is the emphasis dōTERRA placed on solving a business problem rather than a technology problem. And the work doesn’t stop now.

“It’s not a one-and-done situation and then walk away situation,” he said. “We can continue to work with the system and implement functionality to have it reflect our dynamic business for years to come – as we double and triple in size and grow around the world into new markets and segments.”

If you enjoy learning from dōTERRA and want to explore more insights from other CFOs on the benefits of the latest technologies, download the infographic and read the report, Making the Business Case: Real CFOs Discuss the Benefits of SAP S/4HANA Finance.

About Estelle Lagorce

Estelle Lagorce is Senior Director, Global Partner Marketing, at SAP. She leads the global planning, successful implementation and business impact of integrated marketing programs with top global Strategic Partner across priority regions and countries (demand generation, thought leadership).