Schutt Sports Adds Randy Hernandez to Head Operations

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Manufacturing Ops Veteran Focuses on Bringing Schutt "Closer to the Customer"

I get the chance to do a job that I love to do while working in a fast, fun industry. There is an enormous opportunity here and big upside potential for growth.

Fueled by double-digit growth over the past two quarters, Schutt Sports, Inc. ia beefing up the back end of its operations by appointing Randy Hernandez as the company's new Vice President of Operations. Based in the company's Litchfield facility, Hernandez' role will oversee all of the company's manufacturing operations, including the reconditioning facilities in Easton, Pennsylvania and Salem, Illinois.

Herhandez is an accomplished operations leader; with experience developing and implementing cutting edge programs that are demanded by today's highly educated customers.

"Our customers today - and this has been an ongoing trend for quite a while now - are very savvy and very demanding," says Hernandez. "With globalization and instant access to information 24/7, they're very aware of what they want and how they want it. Bottom line - they're demanding a higher degree of product variability without sacrificing the service levels they're accustomed to."

Such demands put greater stress on the operations of a manufacturer such as Schutt Sports, the world's leading maker of football helmets and faceguards. Being able to diversify existing product lines and add new ones, without sacrificing margins and increasing costs is a difficult task. Hernandez' experience in doing just that is what made him the right guy for Schutt in this time of growth.

"Randy has always put together teams that have focused on engaging everyone in the process," says Robert Erb, CEO of Schutt. "He brings all the ideas together, distills them down into the best concept and puts the plan into action. He's a true operations guy - he loves digging around in the corners of the plant, looking for ideas and new things to try."

Hernandez has overseen a wide variety of manufacturing operations, including outboard engines, drive trains and high-end plumbing fixtures. Most recently, Hernandez was Director of Supply Chain Management for Elkay Manufacturing, an $800 million maker of high end plumbing fixtures. Hernandez also held a leadership role for Johnson/Evinrude, a $1 billion marine outboard engine manufacturer where he was responsible for 500 employees and a $250 million COG's operation. Hernandez earned an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. For him, the move to Schutt is as much about fun as it is about profession.

"Let's face it, working for a football helmet company is probably a dream job for most guys," says Hernandez. "I get the chance to do a job that I love to do while working in a fast, fun industry. There is an enormous opportunity here and big upside potential for growth."

Primarily, Hernandez will be tasked with bringing the entire supply chain closer to the customer.

"What I've found is that so-called "operational" initiatives, as they move closer to the customer, go far beyond their original intentions," says Hernandez. "Eventually, the tangible benefits for a company expand beyond efficiency and cost, and begin to move towards customer retention, sales and top-line growth. Ultimately, my job is to create an operation that's agile, flexible and very close to the customer."

For many manufacturing companies, the operations part of the equation is about inventory, processes, labor variances, waste and other low profile, but important activities. At Schutt Sports, Randy Hernandez, the new VP of Operations, is hoping to take all those behind-the-scenes initiatives and drive them beyond their original intentions and deliver very real, very tangible high-end growth for the company.

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Glenn Beckmann
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