The Art and Science of Storage and Distribution With Mark Hiddleson of Specialized Storage Solutions


by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Sep 30, 2022

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

Last Updated on September 30, 2022 by rise25

Mark Hiddleson
The Art and Science of Storage and Distribution With Mark Hiddleson of Specialized Storage Solutions 11

Mark Hiddleson is the Owner of Specialized Storage Solutions, a company that provides industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. He has been a storage racking industry professional since 1996 and started Specialized Storage Solutions in 2004 to create something unique and better serve clients.

Mark is also the Host of the Tao of Pizza Podcast, which features top logistics leaders and entrepreneurs. He holds a master’s degree in holistic health education, which has helped him build a successful business model based on holistic principles and trust-based relationships.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Mark Hiddleson shares how he got into the storage business
  • What is case flow racking, and why does it matter to the wine industry?
  • The logistics of wine storage and distribution
  • Mark gives examples of third-party logistics companies for wineries — and shares the benefits of partnering with 3PLs
  • Mark’s advice for people setting up a brand new warehouse from scratch
  • Mark‘s opinion on the future of blockchain in logistics and warehousing  
  • Mark talks about the Tao of Pizza Podcast

In this episode with Mark Hiddleson

Running a wine business goes way beyond perfecting the formula of your drink. Like every other business, logistics, transportation, and storage are vital factors. How do you ensure that you have the right systems in place from raw ingredients to the finished product?

According to Mark Hiddleson, there’s an art and science involved in storage and distribution. You need to plan for the future while still taking care of your business’ daily operations. You will need to look down the road as far as you can without neglecting what’s existing.

In this episode of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, Drew Thomas Hendricks sits down with Mark Hiddleson, the Owner of Specialized Storage Solutions. Mark shares how he got into the warehousing business and discusses logistics in the wine industry. He also talks about partnering with 3PLs and gives solid advice for people who want to set up a brand new warehouse from scratch.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.

Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!

To learn more, visit barrelsahead.com or email us at hello@barrelsahead.com to schedule a strategy call.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  

Welcome to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where we feature top leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry with your host Drew Hendricks. Now let’s get started with the show

Drew Thomas Hendricks  0:20  

Drew Thomas Hendricks here your the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast where I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Last week, I had a great conversation with Amy LaBelle. She runs a winery out in New Hampshire and she also has a TV show, talking about what it’s like to run work in a winery, and the food and all the beverages that are surrounded. If you haven’t checked that out, sure, watch it. Listen to it, and subscribe. Today’s episode sponsored by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead, we work with you to implement a one of a kind marketing strategy. One that highlights your authenticity, tells your story and connects you with their ideal customers. In short, we help wineries and craft beverage producers unlock their story to unleash their revenue, go to barrelsahead.com. today to learn more. Today, we’re talking about the art and science of storage and distribution. And Mark Hiddleson on the show. Mark is the founder of Specialized Storage Solutions, a company founded back in 2004. And they specialize in the facility design racking shelving and conveyor systems. And in addition to serving national powerhouses such as Costco and Home Depot, they work with wineries and logistic companies to develop elegant solutions that are both a blend of brick and mortar and virtual business models. Welcome to the show, Mark.

Mark Hiddleson  1:38  

Thank you for having me, Drew. I’m excited.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  1:40  

Yeah, Mark, thank you so much for being on i This is a topic that I really, really, really wanted to learn more about, especially like, when we kind of talked, talked a few weeks ago, you’re talking about the whole art behind designing these things. So I gotta say, How did how did you get into this storage business?

Mark Hiddleson  1:58  

Yeah, it’s a, it’s a, that’s a great question. And it I got right out of college, I was looking for something I wanted to do, it already had a little bit of background in sales, and I changed my major three times. And so like all I have to do is find the perfect combination between these three majors. So I started out in psychology, I changed to engineering until it got too hard. We had a professor that gave a speech one time, you know, we’d all in high school and have to study at all, I was just getting straight A’s on everything. But engineering got really hard. And there was a status class we studied for hours, and the everyone bombed it. And then we were all working together study groups. And the professor was really mad. He gave this speech. It was one of those life altering speeches. But he said, if you guys want the easy classes, they’re on the other side of the campus, sitting there. I’ve been in school for three or four years, and they’re on the other

Drew Thomas Hendricks  2:57  

side of campus. Now,

Mark Hiddleson  3:01  

because I didn’t really think anything was easier. Nothing sounded easy. But the I did I walked over that day, and I go, What’s he talking about? You know, so I know you have one of the things I liked about your bio is you have a degree in Greek, it’s some kind of Greek philosophy, ancient Greek,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  3:18  

attic, Greek, and philosophy. So yeah, eight semesters of ancient Greek that I thought was gonna be a professor, I thought I was just gonna, was gonna learn all the languages and read all the books in their original language. I got through eight semesters of Greek. And a degree in philosophy never never pursued the graduate degree in that.

Mark Hiddleson  3:37  

I was passionate about that, too. So I had taken a few classes just for general ed, I said, I’m going back over there, I’m gonna see what he’s talking about. So I want to philosophy I wouldn’t want to so the way I decided is I looked at all the classes I’d taken as it okay, what am I closest to, at this point to graduate? And turned out economics was the answer. And because I’d taken all the engineering math ahead of time when I got to econ, you know, people like oh, it’s really it’s so hard, it’s so hard and it’s really it’s just kind of hard to get some of the concepts they’re not intuitively you don’t grasp, but with the math background I had so and then I had worked full time so I kind of was in a dilemma because all the starting salaries coming out of college and I had five years experience as assistant sales manager I had construction backgrounds and engineering because I was working in engineering. So the Sac State back then they used to keep the the Career Center had little three ring binders and I would just go through him and but I was looking for something that was close to what I was making because my next step at my job, which was in the car business was going to be quite a bit of money so I’m I had to take a 50% pay cut. And it just so happened there was an ad for this business. And I’ve gotten a lot of hard time whenever I tell this story, but it was the most I’m like I’m starting with the highest amount of money. It was still pretty good pay cut, but it just it kind of fit all those things. It was, you know, it was sales because it was building a new territory in this business, it was engineering because a lot of this stuff requires engineering, you have to work with engineers. And that’s one of the things I found is I could communicate well with construction engineer, and kind of be the in between. So I went for I was I looked into the industry, and I noticed that most people want to use equipment. And so the company that actually had that add in a three ring binder and ended up going to work for them, because they didn’t do anything new. Everything was brand new. And so I looked in the yellow pages, there was not back in 1997. I love my fingers, do the walk is it, who sells used equipment in this business. And I just called on the phone, I talked to one of the sales guys to kind of find out. I have a thing if you really want to find out about a company or you want to find out what’s going on talk to the salespeople first. They’ll give you, like, give you the lowdown and the guy talk to you. I mean, he’s still I considered one of the best mentors I ever had. He finally retired after like 40 something years in this business. But he just he told me how it was he said, You know, it’s not gonna be easy. But with your skill set, you could probably create something here. And so the rest was kind of history, I introduced myself to the owner, and I worked with him for eight years before I started my own company.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  6:22  

Wow. And that was in the used equipment business. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson  6:25  

used equipment. I mean, we did a combination of new and used, which would you kind of have to, but

Drew Thomas Hendricks  6:33  

what type of equipment.

Mark Hiddleson  6:34  

So it’s racking, and shelving. Most people do the kind you buy that you buy in Costco and it’s not the kind you buy in Costco, it’s the time that Costco stores their stuff on.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  6:45  

Yeah, it’s up to $250 rack that I have in my garage.

Mark Hiddleson  6:49  

I mean, we have those. And I do actually we thought one of our specialties is funny, but anytime somebody asked me and they have a really cool project that they want to do, I’ll make an exception small projects. But uh, you know, anything anything big to small, a lot of our clients have started out putting a few shelves, where this guy soccer city was selling soccer uniforms in Elk Grove, California, it’s a little suburb of Sacramento. And at that time, the soccer thing was just taking off, there were all these new soccer leagues and he was doing, he had a retail store, he was doing the uniforms and doing the uniforms out of his garage. So it’d be Mark, I need more shells, I need more shells. And pretty soon it was a garage, five storage units. And then he finally bought like a shopping center and turned half of that into a warehouse. So it is kind of everything from shelves, like you have in your garage to 30 foot tall racks in the freezer, they’re loaded with a forklift, and multiple sections D.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  7:49  

Now as you’re going from a garage, to multiple storage locations to a warehouse, for logistics, we’re not even just the logistics, but the setup and organization of that the person isn’t thinking when they’re setting up all these little warehouses, or these little storage facilities that they’re going to be in a big warehouse, there’s got to be a whole kind of shift when you’re moving into that. What is that true? Or is that I mean is that that’s the art and science behind the storage thing isn’t it is helping people scale.

Mark Hiddleson  8:18  

It really is in doing it in a way where you can still maintain your own business, because rarely does anyone have the luxury to say, Okay, we’re gonna set up something new for distribution and a half. But you still have those orders coming in every day, you know, every Friday at 330 have a business around. So art is kind of a blend. And that’s why it’s an art. I mean, it’s really more of an art than a science because you have to plan for the future while still taking care of of your business right now. And we do a lot of work with customers that that’s just ongoing. And so we look down the road as far as we can. But but a lot of times looking at their existing space. I mean, I’d say probably 90% of what we do we look at someone’s existing space and go okay, there’s all you’ve done so far, that you just did it to make it work to set up. What can we do to kind of plan for accommodating more, you know, with growth on top of it?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  9:15  

Yeah. What do you see as the biggest mistake people make when you come into the like an existing space where they kind of just made the best decisions that they thought in the trenches? So it’s a couple

Mark Hiddleson  9:25  

it’s really it’s really the aisles will actually the biggest mistake is they have they’re storing stuff they shouldn’t be smoking on their go. What’s that? Because I’m asking you, I like to love to ask a ton of questions. And one of my favorite, one of my favorite clients, I call my best client, the smaller client but V. Sattui Winery in in Napa Valley is kind of one of the bigger ones and Tom Davies, the President and one of my clients refer me come in there and they’re the First direct to consumer winery, I was impressed. I’m like, I’m getting into V. Sattui. So I was licking my chops and like, I want to see what these guys are doing. And I was really, because I had known about it. I didn’t know any of the owners. And that was when I got there. And it’s like, man, they’re just they’re doing everything pretty manual, but they have one guy really knows everything about what’s going on. So the nice thing when you set up shelves, and everything has locations, and everything has its place. I mean, not anybody can come in there, but there’s a little bit of interchangeable, you can go pull an order. And then I saw I was going, what’s this? What’s that? They’re like, Well, those are Christmas decorations? Well, we’re gonna get those up high, you know, just gotta get them once a year, you got to have it, you know, and it’s a beautiful winery. So you know, their Christmas decorations like 5060 tubs. So I think it’s stuff. And that’s a common thing I want to go, you do this as people, okay, we need to make a space for this. We need to make space for that. And they’re like, Well, no, actually, that can go that does not need to be in a space. Yeah. And then I’d say the other thing is there’s different storage mediums, and a lot of people don’t even realize what’s possible. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t really create my website to get traffic or get clients developed as a resource. Because a lot of times I’m talking to somebody and they’re like, Well, I haven’t heard of case flow racking, or I haven’t heard of pushback racking or driving ranking. Well, so you have a second you can have

Drew Thomas Hendricks  11:25  

an either, you got to tell me what that is. You just have to get gotta go to your site.

Mark Hiddleson  11:29  

Yeah, our site is. And then I did Instagram for the same thing wasn’t. And it’s actually it’s war. It’s, we’re attracting clients through that. But I’ve used it as a resource that you can just go to our Instagram account, and we have these little galleries. I wanted to set it I just kept asking people, how can I do little galleries where people flip through and go, Oh, that’s what it is. It’s kind of hard to visualize. But especially in the wine industry, case, flow racking is important or any kind of direct to consumer.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  12:01  

What would that be, I mean, just to describe it to our listeners, like a case flow racking versus imagined, it works

Mark Hiddleson  12:07  

based on gravity. So it’s a rack, instead of having just the static shells with like a, you know, wire deck is what’s most common in the industry, when people use wood shells, they’re actually rollers. And you can either feed them from the front and kind of push it back on the rollers, or feed it from the back and get like a first in first out. But the biggest advantage is you can make the shelves closer together. Because if you have to reach back to get something, you have to have about three foot opening, but if you have everything just rolling to the front, it’s about you know how we’re telling your product is and you get tons of more density. And it’s just it’s everything’s easier the products coming to you versus you have to reach way back on the shelf.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  12:54  

You painted a very clear visualization, I immediately understood with space things such a premium, if you can get gained six more inches on every single shelf, you’ve helped save a ton of money on future storage needs.

Mark Hiddleson  13:08  

And it’s not with those, it’s not just the space, it’s the it’s the travel time it takes you to get the gear to walk that same. It’s the foot traffic of how long have you got less product, and there’s gonna take you longer to pull an order, because instead of having 28 locations and eight foot Bay, they might be spread out over you know, 50 to 100 feet. That’s interesting.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  13:28  

It’s very interesting in the print in the pre show we were talking about like, but very few people really understand the full logistics of when wine storage and distribution. You give us a little semi masterclass on that

Mark Hiddleson  13:45  

it’s a semi and I would love to do we have the rest of the that the rest of

Drew Thomas Hendricks  13:51  

the super set by now.

Mark Hiddleson  13:52  

It’s no it’s a great question. And a lot of my clients are in this business and in beverages has gone through the roof. It’s everything. It’s not just wine, that’s every kind of sports drink, energy drink. And there’s a lot of new companies starting now. And I think the ones that are really able to scale quickly have a partner like some court three PL which is third party logistics. I don’t lie to be careful on when he has too many acronyms that other people are. But you can hire a third party and it was the smartest way to scale. And there’s companies that specialize in all different sizes. No matter what size your business is. Usually there’s somebody who will distribute your product for you. So

Drew Thomas Hendricks  14:38  

an example of a winery 3/3 party logistics, what would be a company that we might identify with?

Mark Hiddleson  14:44  

So the ones we do business and so I mentioned one I have to mention that it is so some of the big ones that give me a lot of referrals. So Valley Wine Warehouse, so you know they still where people’s wine. And then they’ll actually ship it to the tasting room or they’ll ship it direct to their clients. In a lot of bigger wineries, they’re not holding all their inventory, they’ve got it. And then when they need it, they’ll order it, you know, based on forecasting demand, how much traveling the tasting room. So Valley Wine Warehouse is one of the big ones, Western Wine. I have to mention them in their eight or nine facilities like a million points six square feet total. And they just have all these different and they’re not just wine, it’s alcohol companies and everything. So another one Sierra Pacific, they’re in Modesto. So they’re not even in Napa. But there’s, you know, the wine country. Now that goes, it’s all the way. Oh, yeah, it’s the whole state, and M seven. So a lot of these you haven’t heard of, but they’re the they’re the ones that have all the wine.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  15:52  

That’s why there’s the stuff is there for the wineries to store it in the central warehouses to help with the fulfillment and distribution of it allows them to save the space for other stuff.

Mark Hiddleson  16:05  

Yeah, the winery space is a huge value of just the real estate that you want to be having parties, there are tastings or making wine. And so and then the but the other thing is, is these companies that are have a very, very good I mean, that’s what they did, they they do shipping, they don’t make wine or anything else. But they so they have better relationships with supplier for the boxes, the conveyors, they have better systems, their staff is trained for, you know, warehousing, you know, labeling, storage retrieval. And so if you’re in the wine business, you don’t want to have to become an expert that doesn’t really want the abbreviated. So the abbreviated version is find that find an expert. And another one I love is big red wine shipping, because they have a lot of smaller boutique wineries just did a really nice project for them, well, they can get multiple clients through one. One facility, all their orders,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  16:58  

the advantages are tremendous, because they take all that kind of as you’re talking about the brick and mortar, but they also have that virtual, you know, logistics system and the computers that are a little bit more than what a winery might have. Yeah, they

Mark Hiddleson  17:12  

have relationships with UPS and FedEx and all that sort of gets you all the best shipping rates, all the best packaging rates, and combine it in a done for you service. That is it’s really pretty cool. What’s

Drew Thomas Hendricks  17:25  

the CIO, so you’re in charge of helping them storage solutions, it’s going to help these three peels set up the proper warehouse for the proper service running at a maximum efficiency. Over the years, you started in 2004. How has how have you seen this, your solutions evolve over the last, you know, 17 years or so.

Mark Hiddleson  17:43  

So the biggest thing that’s kept us really busy is the it’s called the proliferation of skews. It used to be there was coke and Diet Coke, everything else and you could start cans to the ceiling, it’s really easy to start cans. And then that really first started I noticed that is I did a lot of projects with Pepsi. And they bought Sobey. And so they went from and then even even Pepsi is more than Pepsi Diet Pepsi. Now there’s diet orange, caffeine free slice in every other ski, you know groupers and all these different SK use, but when they bought Sobey it just exploded and they’re gonna we can just stack the stuff on the floor anymore. We need to divide up the shelves so that we can get more in this queue. And then the technology’s changed quite a bit. When I was for I was in the Warehousing Education Research Council for 10 years, I was on the leadership committee here in Northern California. And in the early 2000s, it was Walmart was really driving a lot of the supply chain innovation because they were looking for, they wanted to deliver a low cost solution to their store. So they were kind of pushing all the costs in there were a lot of pushback, because people Heather’s pushing us back into the supply chain, but it was either get better, or we’re going to deal with vendors. And we’ll Yes, so at one time, they had a thing where they they were made it mandatory where everyone had to have RFID chips, which is kind of it’s a little different than barcodes like now you can you can scan a barcode, but the RFID or smart tags where you could track something anywhere in the warehouse, that RFID tag will tell you information about that product when it was made, how it should, when there was just tons of stuff. And while we were had this thing, everybody has to be RFID. So that changed everything. And then there was this other big company that

Drew Thomas Hendricks  19:40  

it’s amazing how they can change the whole industry just by saying this is what we require. I don’t know how you’re going to do it. Go do it. Like forcing an innovation and inventions just because they can is

Mark Hiddleson  19:53  

they did and that’s what people were talking about always went to the national convention with. It’s called WERC it’s still the WERC. I always love to mention them because I really built my career there. It’s an educational it’s just great for the art and science of warehousing just the people you meet the kind of problems people are solving then in those breakout sessions, it was always afterwards. That’s what people were talking about in the hallways was that how are we going to, you know, Walmart, this and Walmart’s out and then there was this other online book retailer that started growing and doing other stuff besides books. The a, in Round Robin glamazon, they they’ve been super innovative in that space. And I think one of the things that drove that is boats have a really low margin. So if you’re shipping books, he can’t make mistakes. You can’t have returns you can you have to get a lot of stuff out the door. So their logistics were already pretty dialed in the best systems I ever said we we tour to Barnes and Noble in in Reno. Their stuff was really asked me how to conveyors. They’re called a tilt tray sorter where the books combined, it’s just like a smooth piece of wood. And it tips at exactly the right time in the book shoots off.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  21:09  

I’ve seen that in the commercials. I got a great mental image of what you’re talking about. Yeah, there’s tennis in that book, right then.

Mark Hiddleson  21:18  

Yeah, yeah. Just go out doesn’t know what to do. So in the big thing, Amazon is just they’ve hired a lot of supply chain talent, you know, and to me, I was in this business. That’s another reason I chose this business. I’ll tell them all myself, again, is that I go this is it’s going to be kind of easy to get to the top. Nobody. My boss said the warehouse isn’t the last frontier. And it was true people would invest money in production, they’ll buy any barley line. They’ll buy conveyor systems for the production, they’ll do all these other projects and tanks and everything. But it comes to where I was like, Well, no, we just we have to have a warehouse. It’s just back there.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  21:54  

warehouse guys are handled.

Mark Hiddleson  21:56  

And so I’d say that’s the biggest the biggest thing is that supply chain was always an afterthought. And now it’s it’s kind of it’s the thing that everybody is talking about,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  22:06  

or it was always like a very manual thought, like, you may have had the inventory control. But it wasn’t really, computers weren’t dictating where the stuff was, it was just the warehouse manager that knew he knew where everything was, or she knew where everything was, but rarely when everyone else know where everything is.

Mark Hiddleson  22:26  

Exactly. And that’s if you want to set up your systems where if that superhuman guide needs to take a vacation or gets a cold, you want to have it set up where anyone can step in and find stuff.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  22:41  

That’s a perennial challenge. And that’s growing well. Back in the day when I worked in the wine store, and we had our big warehouse. Sadly, we had a very manual, very and everything was on an Excel sheet or something. And we knew where it was. But if I wasn’t there, chances are bottles will get lost. We weren’t dealing with cases where individual bottles but you still needed that location, ability.

Mark Hiddleson  23:08  

Yeah. And it’s easy to make mistakes and wine when you’re doing because the looks so similar. Like the reserve bottle looks really similar to the regular. And you don’t want to make that mistake either way. Either way, it’s costing you a lot.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  23:21  

That happened a couple of times, I’ve tested a couple of people down the street knowing they bought their own bottle. So like the so Amazon, so Amazon took a separate route from Walmart, whereas Walmart said, Look, this is what we want. You guys got to do it. If you want to work with us. Amazon has said no, we’re going to build it. And we’re going to develop this technology.

Mark Hiddleson  23:42  

Yeah, yeah. And they and they have that really talented people. And they’ve the best thing I’ve come I’ve heard and they’re also. So we’ve I’ve always done warehouse tours for educational there to get a group of people 30 or 40 hosted tour. And we’ve I’ve never set up an Amazon tour, we had one setup, but they’re they’re a little secretive. But I’ve read articles, one of the genius things they did is that they sent it to a warehouse where they could put any product anywhere. It wasn’t like all the TVs have to go right here. And all the baseball mitts have to go right here. And it’s wherever the best spot and they’re letting the computer decide where this goes. And so they might have everything everywhere. But they can pull everything faster, because they have everything everywhere.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  24:27  

That’s unbelievable. I mean, that’s the way a computer works. I mean a hard disk, they just store chunks of information all over that hard disk. So

Mark Hiddleson  24:36  

I think to me, one of the most simple things that I’ve heard in the last three or four years, people are doing that they’re changing the way they’re thinking that that was genius. Yeah. Because then I’m sure there was a meeting. We’re like, No, we have to keep the DVDs with the DVDs. You know, and you know what if

Drew Thomas Hendricks  24:51  

the computer breaks, that would be a true surprise to me. I guess I mentally kind of got my mind around the fact that it wouldn’t need to be sorted out logically, but mentally I’m also visiting this warehouse where, you know, like you said, all the TVs are in one section. All the Cabernets are here.

Mark Hiddleson  25:07  

Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, uh, you know, they’re, they’re driving innovation now. And. And I think there’s a lot of companies that are doing direct consumer and fulfillment really well. And especially the last couple of years of force people. To get better at it. I was the only way you can get stuff in the people or stores or setting up where people can order online and pick up in the store. I think that’s a really great hybrid solution of, you know, having a direct to consumer experience. We don’t have to stock everything on your shelves. I mean, when you were in that business, did you when you had the wine, you really didn’t sell it unless you had it. Right. When you had your wine, your wine business, we either

Drew Thomas Hendricks  25:49  

had it or we had futures or we had promises for it. So we’re still selling something that we know we know eventually have, we don’t have it now.

Mark Hiddleson  25:59  

You were shipping directly to people’s house not to like a store or?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  26:03  

No, we were all direct to consumer. Yeah. And we may have, we may have sent one or two containers overseas, but we’re not going to talk about that. That was way back in the 90s. But going like so taking going back to visa to a just because we were talking about that and you got in the back. And he’s he knows where everything is and their story that Christmas ornaments down the bottom, they’re not going to need it for another 360 days. Get that out of there. What aside from the fact that a new winery or new or even an old winery needs to talk to a consultant like you yourself that has sage and insight and arts and sciences? What What’s the one piece of advice you can give someone setting up a brand new warehouse from scratch? Don’t just stick a bunch of racks up there?

Mark Hiddleson  26:56  

It’s a great question Drew, I think the first best thing would be to call me that’s why it’s a great question. You know, I would say it’s a tour other facilities, I’ve already said those facility tours because even you know, you we’ve toured like RadioShack used to be a big one that they were kind of one of the more you know, the target warehouse, go to a bigger warehouse, see how the big boys are doing even if you’re thinking about setting up a small operation, because chances are, if you go to see if you can get a tour and you know, if you can find somebody, if you can find somebody who will give you a tour, you’ve learned a lot just by talking to the managers there because they’ll have so many different systems, something’s probably going to apply to what you’re doing. And then really involving your team. That’s another thing I found that a lot of times there’s either there’s hollow cows or the communication, like the problems that are happening on the floor, aren’t making it up the chain, and it’s just a budget or it’s just a number. So I’d say you know, finding it’s the champions for us. It’s funny, that’s usually I find a client I go who’s willing to kind of go to school, because I’ll take a new client and I’ll say, Look, I’m going to teach you everything about and suddenly class gave me heart when we were newer, I didn’t have the time to do it. So I was like, Look, you’re gonna have to do this, you’re gonna I’m gonna show you how to do sketch going, here’s how you do me and I’ll give you some props, but you’re gonna have to go talk to your boss about this talk to your boss about this. So you find that person on your team, sometimes it’s in sales. And things I love about this sometimes is the general manager takes over sometimes it’s the warehouse manager but kind of find that person on your team who has a passion for doing this homework. And then you know, find somebody like me a lot of subplots, how I trained myself, I’d find a good supplier, one of my old mentors used to say look, there’s people who are gifted in this business and there’s people who just do it for a living, go find the ones that are gifted and learn from them and say okay, that’s that’s what I’m going to do and so I think that’s is you kind of find a champion Okay, who’s gonna go in want to do the legwork on this super exciting, like I get really excited about racking. But there’s someone on your team that probably is you know, passionate about the layout where you know, how they want what kind of lift equipment that’s another big thing with us. The racking always has to be interchangeable with whatever lift equipment you have, or do you have to buy new lift equipment and that’s actually that’s a mistake. That happens all the time. People will set up their racks go to put the last pallet away and they realize their forklift doesn’t go all the way to that top shelf.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  29:47  

I would I would have made those executive states if I meant I was thinking if I’m gonna start a winery, I’m going to get warehouse I’m gonna need some racks but the wine on I’m going to get the wine now I need some equipment to and then I’m going to need a computer to figure out to tell me where Although all this stuff is, and I probably just did it completely backwards,

Mark Hiddleson  30:04  

and then another greater answer than even what I said would be get a bid from a three PL, I mean, there’s almost somebody who could repeal anything. Okay? And so if you got a bid, and now I’m just kind of spitballing. Like, that’s what I would do. Now, how much is gonna cost me per case? Because I’ll usually give you a case. You know, I don’t know what it is, if I start spouting off the rates, and my customers start ringing,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  30:27  

are you gonna do the math? And what’s the cost for storage for this case, versus what’s the cost of a three PL handling it, plus all the other added benefits that they have.

Mark Hiddleson  30:36  

And then they’re managing it for me. So then you can focus on making wine, you know, selling wine, and then they just they do all the rest. So I think are really any storage, business, anybody? Whatever you’re selling, and that’s another trend, people have gone from a three PL, we’re paying these guys too much, then they’ll bring it back in house. And then they do that for a few years. And then the numbers like Nope, we were doing better when we had a three PL. So that third party logistics or public warehouse, or you know, those service providers are they’re really great resource for anybody shipping anything?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  31:11  

Sure, it probably doesn’t have to be an all or none, because they’re going to still have some of their local inventories, they still need that hybrid approach, which is all the more reason to talk to a pro like you who can help them do that kind of analysis.

Mark Hiddleson  31:23  

Yeah, it is. In the three people, you know, they’re happy to give you a quote, a lot of them. If you go on their website, there’s just a thing you can fill out, they asked you the highlight questions so that they can really streamline the RFP and give you an idea. I have a friend of mine that he came to one of our events, we were doing a presentation on wine distribution, because it was kind of a fancy system that had a lot of bells and whistles. But he owns a solar company. And he had the solar panels that that they get and they’re either extras of their parts, or they have all this inventory. So they have to keep the stuff is worth a lot of money. But he ended they ended up storing the solar panels with one of my third party logistics customers was there they met and then just he said, Yeah, I can do those panels. So he was thinking about going in renting a warehouse. That’s a separate, but every time you do that, there’s another big bill, there’s another you have to have somebody running up there, unfortunately, you have to. So the three PL is a nice, nice way to

Drew Thomas Hendricks  32:21  

That’s it. That’s a great thing. People need to think more about that. And especially figuring out the cost difference, because it’s automatically assuming reduce fees, reduce fees, why are we paying them? Understanding? Really, what would it cost you to do it yourself?

Mark Hiddleson  32:32  

Yeah. And that’s their core competency. That was the word I couldn’t think of it early. Their core competency is warehousing. So

Drew Thomas Hendricks  32:42  

I’m shifting the meat, we can say real high level on this, but we’re talking about, you know, tracking chain of custody and all that. Where do you see the blockchain fitting in? Going forward?

Mark Hiddleson  32:55  

So I am I’ve studied a little bit about this. And so the main thing they’re saying transparency in the supply chain and security because right now there’s no transparency because there’s no security. And so I mean, Blockchain I guess it’s what what I think of is in different terms. So what are you asking me question how it’s gonna affect the logistics industry or just business overall?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  33:22  

Well, more logistics and warehousing and like, because right now you do have, you know, you know, where everything is. And there’s, there’s, but it’s really set between two different three different systems. So you still have that sort of integrity, but you don’t have this like immutable record of where something’s been.

Mark Hiddleson  33:40  

And then in one that’s important, or the temperature that has been stored,

Drew Thomas Hendricks  33:44  

temperature, that whole, the whole, like I said, an immutable record, I see there’s so many different people trying to develop some sort of solution. But I’m not sure they’re all taking it from a warehousing in from a racking space, like you’re doing it because they’re thinking of more of that chain of custody. But in the end of the day, it’s going to come right down to what you’re doing in your solutions.

Mark Hiddleson  34:07  

Yeah, and I think the blockchain, what I wrote about is right now I’m like, because my thing is like, Well, it seems to me like everybody, it already is a transparent supply chain. And so I’ve been when I’ve researched what I’ve done is that people aren’t certain to sharing their whatever it is, because they don’t want either the data get breached or they don’t want anybody to have access to it. And yeah, I think the other thing that I know is there’s probably huge amount of low hanging fruit in the area of figuring out your your whole company’s, I call it digital consciousness. Like how savvy is your whole company about data and how it’s being housed being store was being stored, what that means to you what you can do with it. And say like sales, like a lot of people who have a digital have a data team Those guys, they’re geniuses they know everything where the data is out store with goes the other, but to your salespeople know that to your customers? And then what’s your customers digital conscious level? Are they above or below you? And so I think there’s some advantages. There’s really some low hanging fruit low level things people can do to just say, hey, is everyone on our team? You know, because I was, we did a small data project, because I just wanted to see, like, how can we use it, even with our company? And there was just a lot of language I didn’t understand. It’s like, wait a minute, I do all this other. I can’t think of any of the work we’re talking about. I don’t know what that is. Explain that to me. What? So I think ownership, your IT department sales, customer service, and then your clients just kind of getting everybody on the same? Not on the same, but just if you’re, you know, if you’re at a five, get up to a four, you know, well, everyone doesn’t have to be a one. But you should try to get your fives out the fours or threes up the twos, you know, everybody can kind of get a little bit more savvy about where the data is, how it’s connected, how they’re using it. And then why that why does it even matter? Like?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  36:07  

So that is I think the key? Why does it even matter? Like? There’s a lot of I mean, the future’s bright on this whole area. But is, is it really solving a problem that you’re having right now? In what solution? Is that replacing? And how is there like you said, is there a lot of other solutions that you need to put in place first, that has nothing to do with, with technological future technologies future 510 years from now?

Mark Hiddleson  36:32  

Yeah, I think the main thing would be given your an MH I did a 2019, which is ancient history, I was 20. Some mother’s a white paper, that I read about this. And there’s actually a digital consciousness survey that you can take if everybody but what’s really gonna happen, you have to find a company who’s gonna even thought about us doing this, but you have to have, you can’t, if you just send a survey everyone, no one’s gonna take you. But if you hire a professional company, to go in and say, No, this is what we’re doing, we’re doing this survey, I think people would find out that there’s a lot of opportunities just because the potential problems will come up. And people go, yeah, we can solve that problem. But if they don’t have the knowledge of what’s available, the people who know that there’s a problem won’t be able to raise their hand and go, Oh, maybe that can solve. blockchain can solve that. And then I also what I really like blockchain for is creating business communities, because there’s a way to track activity, that where you can create like a loyalty program. And that you can track things that you never would have tracked before. And I was one of the reasons I want to hire gay, the company decided to ignore all these referrals I’ve gotten over the years, because that’s how I built my business. Where are they coming? I kind of knew certain people or, you know, how do I find out? You know who these people are, how to what’s the best way to stay in contact them. But if you have a point system, like blockchain can track it. And you can have a thing set up like if you give me a referral, you get 1000 points or whatever.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  38:09  

That’s a great use case. Yeah, I can definitely see the value on that. Yeah,

Mark Hiddleson  38:16  

because nobody would have never kept track of it. But now to me, I think if you can reward and then people are wanting to turn rewards and get points, then I’ll just have to be careful. I just read this book on numbers. And Pepsi Cola did a points thing one time. And they showed this kid there was like a Superbowl commercial. They showed them flying to school and a jet. And if you had like 7 million points or something, you could get the jet. Somebody did the math that they figured out they could buy enough extra points that for like 700 grand they could get the thing but it was a $20 million jet. Yeah, and he actually legally did everything got the points and they went to court and the laws because they said, Well, it’s a spoof, you know, obviously a kid is not going to take a jet to school. But but this book was saying why didn’t they just figure it out? And they raised the number. But nobody ever thought about that before they did it. Yeah.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  39:12  

I hadn’t heard that story. I heard another story about a guy with airline miles. And that they were running a promotion and he got certain number of airline miles. So basically, this guy flies first class every day for free for life. The airline really messed up on that one and his family. I think, I forget that. I forget where I read this story, but I remember how he he gave the points and happened.

Yeah, so actually bought them. I think it was something where he spent like 100 grand or something and now he’s flying for life.

Mark Hiddleson  39:42  

That’s how this was it was it was the same sort of thing where you know, you could never buy that much Pepsi. But there was a clause where it because they wanted the people if they were closed that they could just buy the extra, you know, a leather jacket or hat or backpack Yeah, or jet.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  39:57  

That’s funny. That’s good. I want to shift I want to shift because I hear that you have started a podcast.

Mark Hiddleson  40:05  

I have I have the heat that is that’s one of the most excited. So that’s what’s changed in the industry. So this is the project that I’ve been working on probably for at least a year. And it’s funny, because five years ago, I wasn’t listening to the podcast, I actually went to a we go to the film festival every year in Napa, and there was a documentary on podcasts. So we just kind of had some time and my friends, we were just kind of teasing about it like, Yeah, let’s go watch the podcast, one podcast. And yeah, so it’s 2017. And the first thing they asked before they showed the documentary, they said, How many people here know what a podcast is? And there’s all people you know, it’s mostly like 35 to 55. And there was out of 100 people, or maybe 10, and 20, at the most. And I was just, I was thinking, well, this isn’t really something I’m into. But I was working with a coach. And one of the things he would do, he would send me an episode of something, and I didn’t even roll I mean, they were YouTube videos. And so he would say that you’re specifically interested in this, my best friend sent me. And I was saying, Well, it’s a podcast, I’m not gonna listen to what I basically do if my coach asked me to do it, and I’m working with a life coach and working with a business coach. If they asked me to do it, that’s one of the reasons I’m hiring them is I’m gonna do it. My best friend sent me a link to a podcast. I listened to them. I’m like, Man, this is awesome. This is a conversation. Because you can really get specific if you want to learn something specific. Like I wanted to learn about direct to consumer marketing. So I could know more for my clients. So we’ll watch podcasts on that. wanted to find out about the somebody had a podcast on networking. And I like well, I love networking. So what are people talking about networking? And so just I started listening to them. And it’s like, rather than reading a book, I used to listen. I used to listen to like business tapes. Oh, yeah. And so podcast. It’s just a little bit more tailored. You don’t have to go around with the Carlton sheets. Real Estate. I used to have cassettes in a year at Carlton sheets. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So I have the house where I’m sitting now I bought this house because I listened to the Carlton sheets, tapes and ended up, you know, getting in real estate. But you know, podcasts is great. And even the I love YouTube for some of the stuff. I’m really passionate about Alan Watts. He was a speaker in the 70s 70s. You know, you’ve heard of Alan, well, you’re a philosopher. So, yeah, yeah. So, exactly. So I’m like, wow, I can listen to a lecture that Alan wants to 1974 at Cal. And his stuff is just irrelevant as it was. I mean, he was, he had a thing. He said, Why should we be going to big offices in San Francisco? This was nothing. He died in 74. So I think it was 73 or something like that. He said, Why should we be going to offices in San Francisco? He goes, everyone has a telephone. Everyone has a fax machine? There’s no reason, which means telecommuting. I was like, well, Alan Watts. Nice.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  43:13  

Work on.

Mark Hiddleson  43:14  

So yeah. And then me doing a podcast. I mean, I wouldn’t even thought this was possible. But I have I met John Corcoran actually met John on that. He was one of the second podcasts. He was the networking podcast. And I was Oh, yes. Cool.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  43:30  

He’s the same guys. I work with Jeremy Weisz. You work? They help produce this podcast. They are awesome.

Mark Hiddleson  43:39  

Yeah. So I went to one of their events. I wanted to connect with John, because he was local. And I ended up running a Jeremy first because I was in Chicago. But I just been to their events. And I saw what they were I keep track of what they’re doing. I get their newsletter, when the paper they do an actual paper.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  43:57  

Pretty nice. They actually do a paper newsletter.

Mark Hiddleson  44:01  

I used to read Inc Magazine, or I’ll give them a shot. I mean, I read through that because it’s there’s no ads, right? It’s like 10 things. It’s like these are the things I want to read. So it’s like a streamline. So I love that. And then I saw that they were they were do producing podcasts. And so I just I waited to start the conversation because I love working with those guys because I knew as soon as I started talking about it, he was gonna have so

Drew Thomas Hendricks  44:27  

sneaks up on you when as soon as you commit here on your first turn. What?

Mark Hiddleson  44:31  

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So it’s an I think I’m passionate about watching it. And I think a lot of the the other thing it was a big gift back for me because I have all these people. So you know, there’s 4050 People who have given me all these referrals over the years. They’ve taught me things about their industry, industry, veterans, they’ve mentored me for no gain of their own. So I was single This is a great way for me to connect because I had actually had missed a few clients where they had gone other places. Isn’t it like, oh, you know, I didn’t, I forgot or I didn’t, you know, no. Right even had to host some tours. And I called these people to set up tours, and they, they needed racking. It’s a great way to kind of get people involved, have it be deliver value, create a sense of community, and give back to a lot of the mentors. And people I’ve worked with over the years and really helped me.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  45:25  

So I’m doing it a great motivation. Now, what’s this podcast called?

Mark Hiddleson  45:30  

So it’s called the Tao of Pizza. And that is actually a book that I’m published, it’s either just coming out or it’s been out for a while. Tao of Pizza, there’s a, it’s kind of hard to explain. But the Tao is the kind of an Eastern concept. It’s Zen. You know, the simplest way I could explain it is Zen is a cross between the so there’s really two kinds of Buddhism, there’s the Indian kind, but then it traveled all the way across Asia. And so there’s Japanese versions and Chinese versions. And the Zen was kind of takes dollars. And because it was already there, when Buddhism got to the east. And then the word Tao is just a cool word, it means if you can explain what it means you’re not doing it, right. The first verse of the Delta chain says the great Tao cannot be described. So you always just have this big connection, big picture, that everything’s connected to everything. And that we’re all kind of on a healing journey on a path toward wholeness. And then pizza is kind of a way divided, like everyone thinks everything has to be divided up into a pie, and it can be different aspects of your life. You know, for me, it’s financial, spiritual family, my family is a huge part. So all these, you know, back to the Zig Ziglar life will. And the pizza is kind of a symbol of, of those things. So, and it was kind of fun, I wanted to be something spiritual and something food. So Tao of Pizza project. So that’s how it got started. And I’ve got a blog on the Tao of Pizza that I’ve had. It’s really, it’s only I don’t want anyone to go look, it’s only for my closest friends. Now you can I’m, I’m being a little tongue in cheek with it, but it is, you know, it’s essays that I wanted to include in the book. It’s masters that I’ve trained with along the way, it’s their work, like I have a Qigong masters that I’ve trained with over the years name, Vicky, the way of joy. Qi Gong. So I’ve written some of her, she has some meditations on there. So people, anyone who just asked me about it, and they want to kind of give themselves a free meditation class, I created that resource, anyone who’s interested to go search it out on their own.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  47:43  

Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s Yes, the book is so the book is coming out, or is it already out?

Mark Hiddleson  47:49  

So whenever you it probably just came out, probably just came out from working with Jeremy and John on that, too. Oh, really? Okay. So the podcasts in the book are gonna kind of go together. Oh, that sounds dovetailing nicely. Yeah.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  48:06  

That’s great. And then as far as your show, how have you found me? I know you’ve done a few episodes? How have you found the being on the other side of the chair, or the right side?

Mark Hiddleson  48:15  

I’ll tell you, when I when I sat down to do this. So I’ve recorded five episodes myself, and none of the first ones just about to go up because I had to prove all the other artwork and everything that goes with it. But when I sat down today, I was seeing, you know, this is kind of a relief, like let Drew, Drew do all the hard work. And I just kind of have to show up. So it is it energizes me. You don’t mean to me it’s a fun project. It’s something that it does.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  48:47  

I have to agree it it I leave every podcast. Oftentimes my wife’s working from home, and I’ll be kind of ho hum. Going into it and nervous. And I come out of the podcasts like You’re like a different person. You’re so animated. I like one run into the room and tell all about it. Yeah, it’s I find so much value in it. But like a lot of my agency friends, like it seems like two, three years ago, we all kind of started podcasts and it it is not for everybody. I mean, do you do have to like be I think truly interested in what people are saying and really, like, really get something out of the answers.

Mark Hiddleson  49:22  

Yeah, well, in your business, you’re serving people. You’re serving people in the beverage industry, but you also have a lot of in the supply chain are people who are suppliers to wineries. It’s not just wineries.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  49:34  

Yeah, of course. Alright. Nexus. Yeah.

Mark Hiddleson  49:37  

And you’ve had I’ve watched a few years and one of my favorite the one you did with Michael Houlihan of the Barefoot Spirit. Yeah. Secret Lowe’s a good one.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  49:46  

They are doing some amazing stuff. If you haven’t listened for anybody out there. If you haven’t listened to that Barefoot Spirit, get the audiobook because he’s doing something truly amazing with with this audience theater, so they even had it out Isn’t there on the way to the as neuron, his audio book, reading and and playing the roles, which really brought that book to life?

Mark Hiddleson  50:08  

You had actors bring it to life rather than somebody just reading the book. Yeah, it’s a brilliant project. Yeah.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  50:14  

You know, I really enjoyed that episode. So what can what can your listeners look forward to listening to?

Mark Hiddleson  50:21  

So we’re gonna have people who are career supply chain professionals and people that have built their career. And a lot of them, some of them have gone to college, a lot of them haven’t. And then a lot of people do now Vice President of Operations, they started pulling cases in the 90s as a built a career, so they’re gonna get a good mix of that, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna reach out to some people, I’m gonna stretch and get some guests that people like don’t know, you know, so best selling authors I’ve already had. So one of my coaches is a best selling author. He’s on our blog, Sean Phillips wrote the book strength for life. He’s going to be on my podcast. We’ve just got a great lineup of authors, business people, innovators, people who’ve built a career in supply chain.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  51:08  

Sounds fantastic. And as we’ve learned today, there’s so much to learn. Like, we haven’t even barely built into the philosophy behind it and the motivations, so I can’t wait to listen to that.

Mark Hiddleson  51:18  

Yeah, there will be some great, great ideas that are already just on the ones I have. I was amazed, I knew it would be great conversations, just because of all the conversations I’ve had over the years is learning my profession. You know, I’ve learned from these, these are all the people that I learned from about, you know, not just about the racking side, but about their business side, because what’s their business case? That’s I’ve had to learn their side of the story. So, so far, it’s been a blast.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  51:45  

Yeah. Can’t wait to listen. So is wrapping down the end. And as you’ll see, I have famous for clunky closes. Is there anything that I have not asked you that we would like to talk about?

Mark Hiddleson  51:58  

I think this was great. I really appreciate you having me on being this. It’s a lot of fun. I’m energized. I am gonna have to. It’s a and you did a nice Indian. Nice. So I’m gonna check out some more of your images. I want to watch the one on Joe Wagner. Oh, yeah. Because yeah, I know of him. And

Drew Thomas Hendricks  52:18  

that was a good one. And he brought up something about like, kind of unifying the distribution models and moving east because it’s less warehouse, I mean, cheaper land easier. And you don’t really need to have all your wine in Napa.

Mark Hiddleson  52:31  

Know Exactly. That’s it’s a great, it’s just like the Amazon story where you don’t have to have all the DVDs and the DVDs you can have, you know, distributed where it makes the most sense geographically with cost of freight and fuel. Everything else?

Drew Thomas Hendricks  52:43  

Well, Mark, where can people find out more about the Tao of Pizza and Specialized Storage Solutions?

Mark Hiddleson  52:51  

So the Tao of Pizza is taoofpizzza.com. And specialracks.com? Was the plural specialracks.com is our company website. Oh, perfect.

Drew Thomas Hendricks  53:05  

Yeah, go there. And if you’re a winery and you’re looking to optimize your situation, you got to talk to a pro. Because chances are if you’re putting up the racks, they’re going to be too narrow, too close together, and you’re gonna be doing yourself a disservice.

Mark Hiddleson  53:19  

We’re happy to come out and redo it to

Drew Thomas Hendricks  53:21  

Mark. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Mark Hiddleson  53:26  

That’s my pleasure. Thank you.

Outro  53:34  

Thanks for listening to the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.