By Lucas Hussey WG’16
It takes creativity, ambition, guts, and a talented team to break into an industry that has been dominated by Gilette for over a century. That’s exactly the challenge Harry’s, a men’s grooming product start-up co-founded by Jeff Raider WG’10, is tackling by offering customers a convenient, low-cost, high-quality shave.1 I had the opportunity to work at Harry’s for the summer with the Operations team, and as my internship soon comes to a close, I can say the experience has been tremendous.
My project at Harry’s was to create the company’s global supplier database and strategic sourcing model. In its earliest days, the company utilized third-party support to locate suppliers for its various products. This arrangement is beneficial when resources are scarce, but with the company rapidly growing, the Operations team now wants greater ownership and transparency with its sourcing decisions.
Getting my head around the entire company’s global supply chain was challenging at first, but as I started to figure out the moving parts, I could see where my work would fit in and support the team. The challenge was to take an often inconsistent, informal practice of selecting new suppliers and develop a standard, data-driven process. My goal was to build a model and evaluation tools that would enable Harry’s to efficiently but still rigorously go from the entire world of potential candidates to a short list of qualified, cost-competitive suppliers. There are huge cost savings to be realized if you can competitively source products, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to lead the build from scratch of what will be a key operational tool for the company going forward.
As I write this wrap-up, I am happy to report that the project went very well. The key components around new supplier identification and cost comparison are built and tested with the Operations team. I have also developed supplier financial analytics (putting to use some of my first year FNCE and ACCT classes) and a detailed supplier Request for Proposal template. The Operations team at Harry’s has been receptive of the work and gracious with their feedback. The project has also required collaboration with several other groups across the company (Product Development, Finance), which has not only been good practice with presenting ideas and incorporating feedback from varying audiences, but also a great chance to learn more about different sides of the business.
In the closing days I will have a couple more opportunities to share my work with broader Harry’s stakeholders, but my biggest focus will be transferring ownership of the model to the full-time team, so they are confident using it after I have returned to Wharton.
Overall, Harry’s has been an exciting, talented company that is impressively open and trusting of its employees. I’ve had the chance to sit in on several strategic discussions, and it is energizing to see how Harry’s size (~80 employees) is big enough to have focused and specialized personnel but also sufficiently small to still act fast as a company. It is wild to think how fast the internship has gone by, and it is a testament to how much fun the time has been (summer in NYC also has not hurt). It has opened my eyes to the entrepreneurial world and gone a long way in helping me figure out my post-Wharton career aspirations.
Bio: Lucas Hussey is a WG’16 from Seattle, WA. He graduated from Dartmouth College with a major in Engineering. He worked at a strategy consulting firm in San Francisco before coming to Wharton, where he is majoring in Information Strategy and Economics while exploring career opportunities in technology and supply chains.