While handling the distribution of video game software, consoles, and accessories in Canada and Latin America may sound like a blast, Ben Hatfield, senior director of vendor services of Solutions 2 GO, notes it’s important to balance work and fun.
“We work hard and play hard, but my team knows that they need to be ready the next morning,” Hatfield says. “We have lots of fun, but I know I can trust everyone to get the job done.”
Solutions 2 GO acts as the distribution and administrative arm for many of its brand partners, getting products delivered to retailers and consumers so its partners can focus on their core strengths of sales and marketing.
Hatfield came to the then-one-year-old company in 2005 as a product manager, drawing on his experience as a buyer and product manager for video game distribution company Hip Interactive. He considers himself fortunate to land a position where he could leverage his background and make the most of this opportunity.
Did you know?
Canada has the third largest video game industry in the world after the United States and Japan.
“What sets us apart is our trust in our partnerships with our vendors and our flexibility and creativity,” Hatfield says. “If someone asks at the eleventh hour, ‘Can you guys do this?’ we say, ‘We will find a way to make it work.’ We don’t go back on our word. It’s just the right way to do business.”
Relationships are very important to Hatfield. As a leader, he focuses on support and not dictating the actions of his employees. He urges everyone to prepare for any opportunity and to never miss out on learning from a mistake.
His team of highly skilled individuals are responsible for a major portion of the revenue at Solutions 2 GO and if they make a mistake, it affects everyone across the company spectrum. Knowledge of the position is vital.
“We have a team of seven buyers and there’s lots of cooperation among the team,” he says. “My style is to lead by example and through guidance. I have high expectations and I would much rather show someone how to do something than do it for them, to ensure they have the skills to go forward.”
Over the last year, a great portion of Hatfield’s attention has been Solutions 2 GO’s expansion into Latin America. As the official distribution partner for Sony PlayStation, Solutions 2 GO LATAM Inc. and its affiliates provide video game distribution services across Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Canada’s Got Game
Gamers in Canada—approximately 54% of the population
Average age of Canadian gamer
Full-time equivalent jobs in Canada’s video game industry
Active video game studios in Canada
Annual amount the video game industry adds to Canada’s GDP
Source: Entertainment Software Association of Canada
“My team and I have been heavily involved, making sure the same practices we develop here in Canada are mapped out closely there as well,” Hatfield says. “My role involved getting our ERP systems set up and implemented, training new staff, buying inventory, and any of the countless other things that come up in a startup situation.”
Even though that has dominated the majority of his time, he and his team are still expected to deliver the same quality of service for all of the Canadian business that earned Solutions 2 GO its reputation as an industry leader.
In his work, Hatfield considers his number one challenge as living up to people’s expectations in the ever-changing market.
“Sometimes it is tough making sure that our partners’ expectations and our capabilities are aligned,” he says. “In addition, changing personnel is a real struggle because you are constantly restructuring relationships with clients.”
Over the last decade, Hatfield has become known as a logistics and inventory expert in the industry and the company. That success, he shares, comes down to the team he has underneath him.
“I’m very proud of them. They do things in the way we expect them to be done, and if I didn’t have a good team, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he says. “It’s their commitment to doing a job well and supporting each other that has made the difference.”