Brian Hatfield’s Supply Chain Stylings

Brian Hatfield’s Supply Chain Stylings<br />

NAME: Brian Hatfield

TITLE: Vice president of supply chain

COMPANY: KPSS Inc., Linthicum, Md., since 2006

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: Production supervisor, The Dial Corp.; logistics manager, Sealright/Hutemaki; general manager, Lake River Corp.; regional logistics manager, director of supply chain, Alcoa Corp.

EDUCATION: BS, finance and production management, Illinois State University, 1985; MBA, Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University, 1993; certificate, logistics network management, DePaul University, 1996



Looking to add some fresh style to your life? Brian Hatfield’s your man. As vice president of supply chain at KPSS Inc. in suburban Baltimore, Hatfield oversees the network that brings the company’s hair color and hair care products to salons across North America.

A subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kao Corp., KPSS is a small firm with a broad reach, selling to distributors and salons in about 60 countries. On the distribution side, it’s a high-volume, piece-picking operation. “We ship 4,000 to 6,000 orders globally per day, and our distributors handle about the same volume,” Hatfield says.

Sold under the Goldwell brand, about 80 percent of the company’s product is hair color, with shampoos, conditioners, and styling products making up the rest. KPSS and its distributors sell to salons, where stylists use Goldwell products in-house and sell them to customers. In North America, KPSS manufactures in the Baltimore area, supplying distributors through its larger distribution centers (DCs) and using smaller regional warehouses to ship direct to salons.

Hatfield is responsible for demand and production planning; warehousing and distribution, including kitting; transportation; and procuring printed matter, accessories, and other U.S.-made promotional goods.

When he arrived at KPSS in 2006, Hatfield was charged with improving service to customers, gaining better control over inventory levels, and reducing costs. He spent the first six months increasing fill rates on orders. “We had to build an organization, hire new team members, restructure, and ensure that employees with the right skill levels were in the right positions,” he says.

Next, Hatfield tackled inventory. He gave the forecasting team new tools and adjusted batch sizes with fillers, the third-party companies contracted to package KPSS’s product. He also coordinated with the product development, marketing, and sales departments to better match production with promotions and customer demand.

Finally, Hatfield and his team renegotiated contracts with fillers, carriers, and third-party warehouses to gain better terms. One successful initiative, a “pain-gain” program, gave warehouse operators an incentive to reduce costs.

“As long as they hit the standard key performance indicators— shipping accuracy, on-time, and inventory accuracy, for example— and they reduced costs, they would share in that cost reduction,” Hatfield says. Each year, KPSS adjusts the cost baseline, so the service provider has a new goal to meet.

Hatfield and his team also introduced pick-to-voice technology. After installing systems in the company’s California and Toronto DCs, the U.S. team helped with an implementation in the United Kingdom. In the future, it will send employees to assist in other countries.

“We’re applying what we’ve learned to create a template and an approach, and implementing it in different regional warehouses,” Hatfield says.

Other changes on the horizon include Kao Corp.’s initiative to consolidate operations among subsidiaries to gain synergies in transportation, sourcing, and other areas.

“This year, we’re migrating all internal departments to the same enterprise resource planning system,” Hatfield says. “That’s a huge project.”

The Big Questions

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I hang out with my family, and I’m involved in my three children’s sports activities. I cook, play tennis and golf, and work out.

Ideal dinner companion?

John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. I’d like to gather them all at one table and interview them about their political, economic, and social views.

What’s in your laptop bag?

Inbound Logistics and other trade magazines. I also keep my performance reviews with me, so I can refer to my objectives for the year.

If you didn’t work in supply chain management, what would be your dream job?

Small business owner of a restaurant or construction company.

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