John Paul Mitchell Systems embarks on an enterprise digital transformation

RSM helps drive a target operating model and digital enablement across the organization

Jun 25, 2024

Key takeaways

To address marketplace shifts, John Paul Mitchell Systems needed to refresh their enterprise strategy.

RSM worked with John Paul Mitchell Systems to define a future-state operating model and digital transformation road map.

Initiatives included product life-cycle management, costing, profitability and demand planning, forecasting, purchasing and warehouse operations.

ERP services Supply chain & operations Beauty
Management consulting Consumer goods Microsoft Business applications

Staying on top of the latest trends and buying preferences is the hallmark of successful consumer businesses. John Paul Mitchell Systems, the largest privately held hair care company in the world, has been doing that with innovative, sustainable beauty products and services for over 40 years.

So when the company’s leadership saw changes in the marketplace, they wanted to adapt, effectively and quickly.

“We started to notice that our salon chain of business was shrinking,” says Jason Yates, the company’s president. “It wasn't shrinking the consumer demand—the consumer was just looking for products in other ways. So it was good for us, but we had to adapt to it.”

According to Yates, they saw this shift in 2020 and knew the trend would continue to evolve, but they also realized that the organization’s operational and systems infrastructure platforms were not robust enough to support the changes needed for the future.

John Paul Mitchell Systems turned to their longtime service and solutions provider, RSM, for help. Previously, RSM had engaged with the company for over 15 years, providing tax advisory along with other business services. This latest need involved an enterprise strategy refresh, operating model design and improvements, and the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 enterprise resource planning software to replace outdated systems.

A solution to meet specific needs

John Paul Mitchell Systems had to address existing management and process inefficiencies caused by gaps in workforce knowledge and skills. Working with the company, RSM provided the following:

  • Greater warehouse efficiency, improving supply chain visibility 
  • Better planning and forecasting accuracy, reducing inventory on hand and improving margins and supplier relations
  • A future-state target operating model design and prioritized business intelligence recommendations
  • A formalized process for data attribution, allowing for rationalization decisions regarding product portfolio

A foundation of cultural connection and collaboration

RSM went to work quickly, building on cultural similarities to evaluate business challenges with a people-first perspective​.

“I think what's great about John Paul Mitchell Systems is that the people within the organization, you can tell how much they care,” says Jake Winquist, a director of strategy and management consulting at RSM. “They care deeply about the brand, the product, their customers. And I think that really aligned well with RSM’s culture of people first, too.”

This critical cultural alignment allowed RSM to understand the company’s opportunities and challenges and guide executive leadership on prioritizing projects and operational excellence to drive organizational strategy. Likewise, developing a road map of enhancements shareable across multiple departments at John Paul Mitchell Systems allowed the RSM team to collaborate with key stakeholders and communicate clearly and effectively, which helped get everyone on board to support new initiatives and solution adoption.

Creating a platform to enable future growth

Success for John Paul Mitchell Systems meant RSM and executive leadership had to work together toward a common goal: enabling growth through operational excellence, enhanced system capabilities and overall process improvement.

“I think, also, RSM's approach was one of listening and asking good questions before they jumped to conclusions and solutions, and making [our] people feel part of the process of getting to that solution,” says Yates.

RSM team members worked with client-identified benchmarks for success, recognizing that the key to solution adoption was for everyone to understand the shifts and trade-offs of the proposed future state. Change management was a core focus, and included making resources available to support the client’s current and ongoing initiatives, and providing the necessary training and support to ensure solution adoption.

Where I see the biggest opportunity for John Paul Mitchell Systems is internationally, particularly in the European market. So having the abilities that we have now I think will help us be able to grow those markets more and be able to get data from those markets and ‘action’ it much quicker than we were before.
Jason Yates, president, John Paul Mitchell Systems

The challenges the client faced are common in today’s evolving consumer environment. Most brands should continue to assess their e-commerce strategy and ask what role data analytics will play in future growth and profitability.

John Paul Mitchell Systems certainly continues to do that, and RSM is poised to help them as they continue their growth journey.

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