Joe Ferris is the director of distribution at a popular sporting goods apparel retailer. Joe has been in the warehousing and distribution business since he was 18. He started as an Order Picker for Raley's Supermarket, using a grocery list and pencil to pour in orders in its Sacramento warehouse. For 24 years, Joe worked his way up to management, from Foreman to Operations Manager. In 2014, he joined Grocery Outlet as its General Manager in charge of the Sacramento Dry Goods Grocery Distribution Center and eventually became Senior General Manager in charge of both the Sacramento and Pennsylvania distribution centers.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
Joe Ferris talks about his entrepreneurial background and the lessons he learned being an Order Picker at Raley’s Supermarket
How Joe rose up through the ranks at Raley’s Supermarket
Mark Hiddleson's experience working with Michael Thomas and Joe at Grocery Outlet
Joe explains how voice picking works and its benefits
Mark and Joe's experience attending The Landmark Forum
Joe talks about his experience participating in a fitness transformation challenge
Joe's favorite books and podcasts
In this episode…
How can you optimize warehouse space? What can you do to maximize limited space to improve efficiency?
To build a reliable supply chain, companies need a well-coordinated system for managing orders and reserves. Having ample floor space is not enough. You need an efficient system for managing storage to avoid wastefulness and ensure a smooth flow of products.
In this episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson interviews Joe Ferris, the director of distribution at a popular sporting goods apparel retailer, about best practices for optimizing warehousing space. Joe explains how voice picking works, shares his experience working at Grocery Outlet, and discusses the lessons he learned from being an Order Picker at Raley’s Supermarkets.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Specialized Storage, Inc. contact phone: 707-732-3892
Mark Hiddleson's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Managing Logistics in the Retail Space With Michael Thomas"
"Nurturing Good Relationships in the Material Handling Industry With Nancy Fateen"
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss
Sponsor for this episode...
This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.
I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true..
We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide.
So basically if you have a warehouse that needs Rack, Shelving, Carts, Conveyors or Mezzanines we help with....design engineering, installations, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations.
Sometimes people don’t even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services.
We take a look holistic at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation.
To learn more, visit specialracks.com or give us a call at (707) 732-3892. One of the best ways to learn more about our products and services is to follow us on instagram. And there’s a link on our website to do that.
I will even give you my personal email address for podcast listeners so email me at email@example.com if you’re ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level.
Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.
Mark Hiddleson 0:16
Mark Hiddleson here, host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing logistics and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce Joe Ferris, this episode is brought to you by specialized storage solutions. Listen, I've been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I don't know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs rack showing towards conveyors or mezzanine, we help with the design, engineering installation, inspections, and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. I mean, Joe, sometimes people don't even realize we can actually help with permit acquisition services. We'll take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem, develop the resources for continually proving your operation. To learn more, visit special racks.com Or give us a call 707-732-3892. And I'll even give you my personal email email address for podcast listeners. So email me Mark firstname.lastname@example.org If you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level. Before introducing today's guest, I want to give a big thank you to Michael Thomas and go check out our interview. Mike is a senior supply chain exec specialize in grocery cold storage, transportation and logistics. And he introduced me to today's guest so today we're joined boy, joined by Joe Ferris. Joe has been in the warehousing and distribution business since he was 18 years old. He started as an order picker for railings using a grocery list and a pencil to pours in their sacramental warehouse. For 24 years, he worked his way up to management foreman, the operations manager and that led in 2014 to a career move to Grocery Outlet as a general manager in charge of the Sacramento dry goods grocery distribution center. And eventually he became senior general manager in charge of both Sacramento and Pennsylvania DCS. Currently he's the director of DC distribution center operations for international sports apparel business. At 40 years old, he completed the Michigan State University supply chain master's program for personal boost in the arm in his professional life. The master's program opened his eyes to the bigger picture of supply chain industry gave him the boost, he was looking for an unparalleled confidence and knowledge of the supply chain industry. Joe, welcome The Tao of Pizza.
Joe Ferris 2:53
Thanks, bro. Appreciate you having me on.
Mark Hiddleson 2:56
Yeah, this is gonna be great. You are one of the first people that I thought of when we started working on this project a couple months ago. So thank you, thank you for making it work. And I know we had to work on our schedules to make this happen. So I appreciate you.
Joe Ferris 3:13
I'm happy to do so
Mark Hiddleson 3:16
the pulling and picking orders on pencil. I love Oregon because I was talking with somebody, I had a meeting with my accountant and I was thinking, you know, I'm always asking the detailed questions he always seems surprised that I know about but I remember I kind of want to screw around in high school instead of taking like the classes I was supposed to take like chemistry and physics. So my senior year, I thought it'd be cool to take bookkeeping because I'm like, hey, I want to start up. So I learned and I forgot this I learned how to do accounting by like writing on Ledger's like everything was on double entry accounting. It's kind of confusing if you don't know what it is. But I was like, Man, I learned that. So how does that I know you've done a lot of projects since then with higher technology. Always picking every How did that learning by pulling you know they call it picking the paper right? Yeah, yeah. How did that oh,
Joe Ferris 4:14
it's, it's, I think some gives me steep little street cred. Right when you were talking to an industry or you know, I've been here long enough that I remember a xerox copy of a piece of paper that the store called our transportation houses. This is what I want and it was literally and back then it was like head lettuce there was no different bags of salad you know, you go grocery store now and there's 40 different bags out there. It was head lettuce, you know, and it was green apples, red apples. You know, it was very basic and it's just to see the evolution. It just helped me understand. You know, the business a little better to know that I remember back in the day when we used to do it this way. And now we are you know talking to a Siri Every day to get these orders and we're able to think change things on the fly. Where before if when I was looking at raising the pros department, you have to know what red chard was and bok choy, and collard greens, you had to know what they were not just the fact you didn't know what they work because they could move every day. And if there was strawberries going out heavy, then you had to know where to go get the strawberries and how many and you know, basic math, you know, you had to know what a tie was. And it was it just, I think it just gives me a little street cred. It was I I've been here long enough. I remember that. How basic things were. And really, it's still the same. Get it out the door, get it right, and get it out the door and don't screw anything up. You know, make sure the customer gets good product. Yeah, and then the
Mark Hiddleson 5:44
so it wasn't only for you, it was a it was a nutrition lesson.
Joe Ferris 5:51
and everything like that. Exactly. It was so fun. So you'd have this stack of paper this big and you have it on a clipboard, you have your pencil line, you're here and you're marking things up. And then you'd go get some broccoli, which all had ice on it, and then you put it on, on the pallet and then ice would fall onto your order. And then you know, it's you know, one horror story after each other it was all these wooden boxes that would fall apart. Cantaloupe were 80 pound boxes, a cantaloupe. So they were these mesh crates that they just that weighed a ton. And you just you just basically lug it around everywhere. And you just tried to put it on the bottom of the pallet, you know, every delight, which is still you know, that's the way you're supposed to do this. We'll start at the Abbey stuff. But quick story about the caliber seven guys cantaloupe 25 cases to a pallet. And I'm brand new rookie and my trainer goes bar go get 20 of them. So I go to the Pixlr I grabbed 20 of them heavy ass boxes, instead of just taking five off and grabbing the rest of it. So that looks like Lesson number one. Well think it out. You know, think through this a little bit. Don't just go. You know go nuts on there. Yeah, don't
Mark Hiddleson 7:01
think a little bit before you get going. Look at the big picture. Yeah, yeah.
Joe Ferris 7:05
Exactly. Love five. That was like my one took you so long. But yeah,
Mark Hiddleson 7:12
you do. Yeah. Yeah. So I was. I want to ask you about voice pick later, but I had okay. I love to ask that how did you decide when you were 18 to get in the business? Like what about your background? Either made sense or didn't make sense that you were going into the grocery business?
Joe Ferris 7:35
Yeah. So my dad owned his own business since I was five years old. He worked at Lily's Cannery and soccer Sacramento, which was right next to the Grocery Outlet distribution center of Belvedere was right there. And they laid out everybody got laid off. Libby's moved out of town, and 77. My grandpa had owned a appliance business on Stockton, or footbridge. Stockton, Boulevard for drugs outside his business in the 50s. And 60s, he worked for brewers. He took what he learned to brewers and opened his own company. So we had this appliance business and my grandmother would, you know, sell brand new appliances or whatever, you know, a lot of us stuff that they would get and service work. So my grandpa opened it back up, my dad went to work for him. Same building everything. And I worked for him. I work for him since I was 12 years old, off and on, you know, I go work. You know, I flipped burgers for a while or I would go to Pep Boys and I worked at the parks counter for a little bit. But I was gonna go back and work for him and take over the business at 18 years old. He goes, No, you're not. He goes, this isn't going to last. Because this is you know, this is you know, Renta center was already starting to come in. And he had a huge store and it was used furniture and you and us appliances. So there was a market for it. But once renovators came in, he could see the writing on the wall. Yeah, you know, it was a parts were getting more expensive. The area wasn't great. He was worried about my mom, it was only meant to the economic you couldn't afford employees other than me because he wouldn't pay me squat. You know? Yeah. When I started working for I was getting like five bucks a day and I was looking at that. Yeah, free lunch.
Mark Hiddleson 9:19
Exactly. Well, that's what I was. I started working when I was young, too. But I didn't start getting paid till I was about 10 taxes until I was 12. Yeah, I was washing dishes at a bakery making like 265 An hour or something and they started back so yeah, yeah, right. And I know that Eric because I went to college at Sacramento. I love no Sacramento and I've worked in South sac Allah will your your district we met in South sac. Yeah, I know that fruit bridge and stocked and I'll have the next time I drive by there.
Joe Ferris 9:58
Yeah, there Trump is really it's a so it's just it's a lot of homeless. Sacramento has a homeless problem. And that's a lot. And it's a lot there. And it's, you know, a lot of liquor stores and a lot of, you know, a rough area. I used to play pool, the pool. I think there's a pool hall or something. Yeah. offers that. Join a queue.
Mark Hiddleson 10:21
Joining queue. Yeah, that's when I was in college. We used to, I can
Joe Ferris 10:25
identify most bar related buildings in Sacramento. So I'm better than Google.
Mark Hiddleson 10:34
Is warehousing and distribution? We've gone from logistics to bars and Sacramento. Exactly. Yeah, that's a great one. Yeah.
Joe Ferris 10:47
So my dad said, No, he said, I don't want you to go with a business, his best friend who had worked with him at lovies. And he was his best man as well. I mean, he was, you know, he helped raise me basically, he was working for release, he'd already been there for quite a few years. And he goes, you want a shot I got. So it was either him or it was either go to release or Tony, Tony and bullies. And westech was also hiring at the time. So it was whoever hired me first, I was going, and I graduated at 17. So I couldn't go to work till 18. Anyway, so I was, you know, working for my dad screwing around, you know, I went to work for Macy's for a little bit, you know, just so I got to release, and it became, it was a small group. I was number 100 on the seniority list. And it was, I couldn't wear how many stores they have, but you memorize every store number as well. And where they were in California. Evening, it was that easy. But we loaded our whole truck, we picked all the orders, and loaded those. So and it just became it was almost like sports, it really became almost competition. Who could do it faster, who could do it better. Everybody signed their name on their ballots. So when they got to the store, you know, you would get feedback. That's Hey, Joe 1000 great this time, you know, really appreciate it. And they're a big store on for pre puff report. Store. 405 I'll never forget it. You can load on the summertime half the trailer with just strawberries and watermelons. And then bananas. I mean, it was just half truths. And then you just pick like all that, you know, the wet produce or potatoes, whatever else. But yeah, it was it was jumping. It was fun. It was pretty tight knit group. I work swing shift. And it was just you know, a lot of other guys are still my friends. It's still to this day. Yeah. And yeah,
Mark Hiddleson 12:36
it was competitive nature and
Joe Ferris 12:39
also camaraderie, too. I mean, it was good morale, and it was helping each other to so if you win, and you had to pick grapes, and it was 96 cases on a pallet, and I needed 40 And you need it for you. We went and did it together. I grabbed your ears with you, and then you grabbed it with mine so that it was always you know, equal to where I wouldn't just grab mine. You're waiting for me to finish so you can get an easy pick. Yeah, you know, there was a lot of it.
Mark Hiddleson 13:04
I didn't realize so it was a really good culture even back then was what 80s in.
Joe Ferris 13:09
It was it was 90 when I got hired there 1990 Yeah,
Mark Hiddleson 13:12
yeah. So and what Um So what made you decide to climb the ladder and kind of what was the biggest contributor of getting there you think
Joe Ferris 13:23
so I became a foreman. So it went from West sac which was a small warehouse where second went up to an autonomous and autonomous it was a big DC it was the first big DC it was rallies Coca Cola had a big plant out there and arco arena, right and a lot of sheep there was the shepherds ran up much in that area, you know, let's just sheep everywhere you turn the corner, there's another shit you couldn't you could almost run them over there. We just got to get to work.
Mark Hiddleson 13:53
And that's when the kings were actually good and they were in the playoffs in the Lakers made fun of us and they did the cowbell. Then they didn't
Joe Ferris 14:01
I went to arco for they have the 64 there for college and they had the first round there and that's when Stottlemyre was playing for Arizona and Jake kid was playing for cow. So CVS is out there and they're there. They're they're in Alabama, you know, they're all across the country. So they're streaming everything and they shoot over they have a helicopter go over our arena and all you see is the sheep everywhere. I'm like now everybody in the country thinks Sacramento is his little cow town. Mm hmm. Right Raider. I mean, in the end, the kings and the Phil Jackson and Aladdin and cowbells. Yeah, they still suck in 90. They weren't very good. It was Reggie Theus. Reggie. theus used to go pheasant hunting out there. No, I remember Reggie Theus. He was Mr. King for a while. Yeah, I remember the name. I remember that. But Reggie Theus Joe Klein Kenny King. I mean, I can name all I was like that was a big deal for me because I used to watch the Warriors was my channel 36 When I was a kid, but like Joe, very careful and young gun Nelson, all those guys, you know, and to have a second to have a team in Sacramento was like so exciting.
Mark Hiddleson 15:10
Yeah, yeah, remember that in they used to have the uniforms that were kind of powder blue and the baby blues? Yeah, baby.
Joe Ferris 15:18
They're popular now. But they weren't there. You know, there was also the Daisy Duke shorts, so nobody's rocking them.
Mark Hiddleson 15:25
My kids love to make fun of me because all the pictures of me playing high school basketball shorts are like, Dad, your underwear. I mean, even the underwear they make nowadays for men are longer than
Joe Ferris 15:35
killing them shorts. Yeah. Vulnerability column shorts for a reason. Yeah. That's and then Oh, yeah. So they moved into autonomous. And then it was just there's opportunity at that point, we got a lot bigger. You know, it was, it was a small group we went for I was number 100. And through the evolution, you know, I got up to like, number 40 or 50 on seniority, and there was 400 people working there, you know, 400 warehouseman, or their warehouse people there. And it was just a lot opportunities came up, you know, additional shifts, they brought into Manhattan system. You know, we went from paper to RFP. Okay. So, you know, they needed people to be able to train and be able to do this and get through it, just to move warehouse and the inventory and everything else, but nowhere else and distribute. Well, it was a warehouse to a distribution center, a real distribution center. That was, I don't want to say state of the art, but it was nice in 1992, you know, to go from a warehouse that leaked, you know, it rained out, you know, you know, where the puddles were going to be to this beautiful facility that we never thought we would fill up by the way, there's no way you're going to fill it was like, probably 500,000 square feet, you will never fill it and it was filled up, you know?
Mark Hiddleson 16:49
Yeah. Yeah. We toured that in the was either the late 90s or early 2000s, with warehousing Education and Research Council, touring it, and it was early 2000s, probably 2001, maybe 2002. And I remember, they were state of the art, but that was one of the reasons we wanted that facility is because to look at their fleet management system with the lift trucks, and there was also some wasn't, and there was something else about their fleet too, because the railways had their own. I don't know if they had his own, but they had their own trucks right for deliveries. They still
Joe Ferris 17:20
do. Yeah, so it's all ran through Ozark. So Ozark is the trucking company rallies. So there's always our trucks. And then there's really strikes. And those are two yellow, and the Ravens are red right now. Yeah, but they all use the same trailers. And then so Ozark is the non union shop. And Rails is the shop. Yeah.
Mark Hiddleson 17:39
And so. And so we met. And again, I mentioned the beginning through through Michael Thomas. And this is one of my favorite stories, because I've been doing business with Mike since 1997. He was my first big client and the thing I loved about Mike, I mean, he's excitable, you know, like, he's excited. Really? Well. I asked him about bloody hell he was doing that was awesome. He didn't look too happy, you know, just frustration. I have to give him you know, a lot of credit because he he was one of those customers that had a few of these he got really excited about racking because he could see, they were he was with Christian solvents in that time was became versicle. And a few other things is different. Now. It's a miracle now. But he was they were bringing on smart final. And they had a room that was a cooler, they converted it to dry. It was something he figured out in the numbers, they could squeeze all these extra power positions into this building. And one of the things I like about ops guys and businesses, they're kind of a little bit sales too, because he kind of sold them, not just operations, you're getting new clients. And and so it was a big new client, he got really excited. And, and we did that. And so he was always looking for opportunities. And so I was working with him, and probably started a fourth 2014 and Grocery Outlet. So for about nine years, we were working with the predecessor, and we got out of system, if we can kind of go in and do whatever we want. And then Thomas would come in and complain. And then Steve would just kind of shrug his shoulders like well, he just he's just completely not been here for years. And then he came on board. He started holding us to a little bit higher standards. And we were we were falling down and I remember I never like to go over anybody's head. Right but at the time, you know, Mike for 17 years we had we had parked $100,000 worth of inventory in your parking lot. Yeah, it wasn't paid for yet. And and you're like I'm like this guy. We're not living up to it. I remember I told you, you're like, You guys suck. You're doing this. You're doing this. I'm like, I know you're right. And I go on what make it worse is your best client. Like the best we can do? Yeah. So Mike asked me about it too. He said, you know we're having some complaints I said Well, they're all legitimate, you know what I mean? Like, there's nothing I go and we're trying to. So you did. He decided to use another contractor for a project. And I was kind of thinking like, you know, he kind of have to do that to see, you know, it's a tough operation that you were there was a tough place to do business. It was a tough environment. So what I told you was, we're not breaking up, we're just seeing other people.
Joe Ferris 20:27
The grass wasn't greener, by the way.
Mark Hiddleson 20:31
Thank goodness, you hired us. I think you hired us in the middle of finish up that project. Because,
Joe Ferris 20:37
yeah, it was the same, it was a lot of the same issues. It was that trying to get people to come in and commit, and you're not there to hold their hand and make sure that they're there to do it when they say they're going to do it. You know, okay, they'll be there on Thursday at eight o'clock in the morning. And it's Thursday at three in the afternoon. And then they want to wander in, because they've already committed to 14 other jobs. And, and their, their leader or their owner or whatever. He's can't say no. I mean, you know, that you're, you know, you can't say no, how are you going to turn somebody down? Yeah, that's what they did. They say, Yeah, I can commit, I'll do it. And then when they show up, they show up. But you better get the hell out of the way, because they gotta get it done. And it was it was, and seeing, and it wasn't, grass wasn't greener. And it really was the pressure I felt because Mike wasn't happy. And I said, well, I need to do something. And sometimes a little shake up, maybe everybody starts to do a little different. And it doesn't mean that it's the end of the world and doesn't, you know, there's personal feelings. It's just business as business sometimes. And that sucks a lot of times.
Mark Hiddleson 21:42
Yeah, yeah. So I appreciate it. And I took it as an opportunity. And I was just thinking, Man, I hope I hope it's as bad as I think it is. But we started doing things, you know, it took us a while. But I think after about, you know, within a year to a year and a half, I had upgraded, we hired a an ops manager to be there. He wasn't there every day, but he would be there to start the jobs and the jobs. A lot of times we don't use our own people for your project, a lot of times we, which we had never done in the past. And then another big thing was engineering, I basically developed an engineering department so that we could get those drawings out because we mean, the drawings would draw it on piece of cardboard, I would say, match the levels across. Well, yes. We went that a lot. So if you're matching this, sometimes they get in the middle, and they would decide to match something else. And that was that when you said match. So we matched it. So
Joe Ferris 22:38
yeah. And we were doing it quite a bit. I mean, how many times over those years, I was there for seven years. How many projects do we do? I mean, it's amazing. Yeah, we went from so when I first got hired there 2014 leadership and about 300,000 cases. And I think Mike talked about this on your podcast, you know, they're averaging 650 in the same space. Same you know, that's that's the storage that we evolved to with the push back racking, floor racking, and just creating this, the center of the house being where you keep your order pickers and the outsides of where you keep your reserves and you flush everything in heavy on the bottom light on top. That way you're not spending a lot of extra time or safety or putting, you know, heavy as heavy as pallets up to the top. You know, it's just it's amazing how that place look when I left compared to when I got there when everything was booked up. The slide rack was everywhere. The orange wrecking was everywhere. I mean, it was it was pretty. It was pretty shocking. Pretty impressive though, too. Does that mean you you know what we teamed up quite a bit of a test. Cody and Jeff were a huge difference maker too. Yeah. And we had Cody's Greg, by the way, if I could just say, Yeah, is the best. I love that kid.
Mark Hiddleson 23:53
Everybody loves Cody, I had a client, they give me a ballpark for the installation on this project so I can compare it to anything else. And he had been working with Cody on a big they've moved, like, by the way, big deal. The move well, when you move you find out where all the dead bodies are buried, right? It's probably going to be about 40,000. You know, that's a rough guess. But it's an extra 10,000 Because Cody's gonna manage. It's nice, ya know, Cody was awesome. And we didn't just we didn't have those eyes and ears on the field and those other days. It's kind of, you know, we evolved, but I mean, that's we're getting better service to all of our clients mean that engineering work that we weren't getting before because we've got better drawings. We've got, you know, access, and that's still a hard thing. Even when you have it on paper. Here's the level 68 inches 50 to 60 and then you build it. I always tell people is like when you move into your house, you don't know where the TV goes until you put the couch in. No. So it's, it's
Joe Ferris 24:55
you'll have no i That's it. You nailed it. That's all thank you You get there and you're like, Oh, crap, or there's opportunities, and then you're trying to do it on the fly. Yeah. But with ours, it was making sure that the reserve that you weren't wasting space in the reserve optimization space optimization was who's where our pallets were fitting in there and there wasn't a lot of gap. Because you want to be because we were shoving a lot. And we know that we had extra, we ended up getting another warehouse, printing space for another warehouse, we'd load things on trailers. You know, it was feast or famine. Yeah. And when it was a feast, you used every nook and cranny you could and that's when Mike would get on my ass about, you know, how come that racks open? Why do we have this? Well, you're wiser X across at ragan. Both Cody will get here and he'll get it fixed. Yeah, you know, he would want to Spider man up and go fix it. And so I'm like, You're not climbing up there. Knock it off.
Mark Hiddleson 25:49
So that's the thing we did is we had dedicated equipment is something that we never had, we were always using your equipment we need to Yeah, because a lot of customers, they don't want to spend the extra whatever is $1,200 a job. You know, it could be working in a forklift, and citizens can add $2,000 to the job. It was you. Right, if we need your stuff, and we're getting there. It's like, why isn't the job getting done? Well, you guys gave me a forklift. And then he took it back. And then our guys don't say anything until it's too late. And we're
Joe Ferris 26:15
exactly they're sitting staring at each other. And everybody stops.
Mark Hiddleson 26:19
So so we got the engineering handled. We got the ops manager handle, we got the equipment. You know, we're a lot of times we just had our I think our lifts are there right now. Like, oh, actually colesevelam going there today is more or less. Yeah, you
Joe Ferris 26:33
do have some racking that you need to work out for whatever. Yeah. So.
Mark Hiddleson 26:41
So yeah, that was an opportunity. And I really appreciate you and the whole time it was always professional. And like I said, we weren't, weren't breaking out. We were only seeing other people. And you called me
Joe Ferris 26:53
back. So I called you back. Yep. Yep. I realized that I needed you back in my life.
Mark Hiddleson 26:58
Yeah. It's been great ever since it has. Yeah. Yeah. So. So I wanted to talk a little bit more to you about the I didn't realize you deal with Manhattan and railways. But that totally makes sense. Okay, big Manhattan is they're kind of one of the ones. There's the big two are big
Joe Ferris 27:18
news. Yeah, they're the big one.
Mark Hiddleson 27:22
Or isn't that who you were using? With voice pick? I mean, sure, a little bit about the voice pick. Because I think that's one of the things. It was really hot a few years ago, when you guys didn't I think people were looking at voice picks. So what are some of the, you know, give us your highlight reel for for how to look at? Voice pay technology?
Joe Ferris 27:40
Yeah, so voice picking is it ties into your WMS. So Manhattan, HighJump at a Grocery Outlet and hit my current job we use I don't we use Vocollect is that a company that we use, and it is hands free, you wear a headset, you have a little portable machine that downloads all your assignments into it or it sounds picks up the as I'm pleased to say doesn't download it, except the assignment from the WMS. Everything is slotted. You know what you have to go from you take the conga line, I call it you know, you're going down to serpentine to pick all your product. And all you're doing is confirming it's not a conversation. It's just like, you know, you can't say you know, you know where I go next, it's just saying you're at slot A, you give a check digit, confirming your slot A gives you a quantity, you confirm your quantity. And then you go to the next slot. And you do the same thing over and over again. It is I've picked a paper like we talked about I did RF picky with a with a handheld, it was a trigger on your finger on your finger. And basically you scan the barcode and then you read it, which tells you how many. So that was you know, and there was it was just kind of cumbersome. Not wrong, but it was it was just different. And the voice picking just opened up all kinds of opportunities when we did it. Because we installed HighJump there, the WMS brought in booklet with it. But the voice picking and we were running tags at Grocery Outlet. So it would print out a tag where he was was a PTMS system and all Manhattan system. And if you and I had similar orders, we could pick them totally different. You could go down one side of the warehouse, I go down the other and we could just be and that was what problem was everybody was freestyling doing their own thing. To where with voice you have to follow that pattern. And you don't know what's next. Unless it's a bulk item. Like if you get I think we had it set up you had 30 cases or more of an item, it would send you there first. So and it had to be a heavier item. So it couldn't if it was 30 cases of cereal, but then you had to go pick wine they wouldn't send you but but
Mark Hiddleson 29:48
if you have the paper you'd have all those options and somebody keeps the system and they go well I'm here I'm gonna get cereal, it's easier and now you got cereal bottom and you've got something heavy.
Joe Ferris 29:57
Exactly. Yeah. And if the training was tougher with using when people have to make executive decisions on the floor, you want less executive decisions on the floor. And more just follow the pattern, we already got the setup for you, and you can be as efficient as you can. So we bring in Vocalic, it runs great, everybody loves it, no more stickers, but nobody got any faster. Okay, because it just was easier. You know, it was just like now. So then the next step was bringing in engineered standards, and bringing it as a bonus program. And really to be able to have people earn more money on their own. Just by being efficient, it was about being faster. It was about coming off a break and let you get back to work about having your assignment done, and not leaving it in the back corner of the aisles, that you got to drive all the way back over there pick up to go grab your last four pieces, really between voice and engineer standards that we went from 60 plus temp employees because we were hired temp to hire 20 something in like six weeks. Wow. And with Tip eight with temps, you know, they tend to get rid of themselves. You know, they're just they're not committed to the job or you know, they're looking for something else or whatever. Yeah. So if it was just we didn't need to replace. No, we didn't lay anybody off. We just say well, we don't need them anymore. We don't need that anymore. And people started earning this bonus and only takes one or two people would make a really good bonus check. And we were paying them weekly. So what you did this week you get paid next week. I mean, it returned between the voice and just Hi, Joe. So Manhattan's the big dog. HighJump was just so good at service. They were just really good at service taking care of us if we had questions we had needs. They were always there and Vocalic was they've supported book like was the Anthony Honeywell was the vendor, but really just linked so well together. It was it was just very good. Mark it was I can't speak highly enough about Vitalik was the name of the company that was the third party that brought him in, they actually are part of HighJump now, which is quarter now, which is the big company out of the EU been again,
Mark Hiddleson 32:09
what's the name?
Joe Ferris 32:10
Mark Hiddleson 32:14
Okay, so HighJump was a smaller, they weren't one of the big dogs, but they're like, well,
Joe Ferris 32:18
Hi, Jeff was a big it was big. It was it was a good size. They had Vitalik, which was a which was the consulting group that would come in and install so they would hire them to come and do the installs. So they they bought out there, they basically took them over, said okay, well, you know, we're gonna buy you bought them. And it was a small consulting group, all great people. And they deserve all and they they became part of that iGEM team. And then HighJump gets bought by Koerber out of Europe, who's, who's huge. They're huge. Okay, so you know, but they, they never lost track of us. When I moved in two jobs because I run IGF here. Their senior team just reached out, just call me Hey, how you doing? What do you need to know? Because they helped install here. I mean, that you can't beat that.
Mark Hiddleson 33:10
Nice. Yeah, I want to sounds like I needed somebody from biotech, The original podcast.
Joe Ferris 33:16
You do. I think I can hook you up with somebody I think are. I mean, they're great people. They really are. You could just sell the work ethic and the customer service. And just good guys. I mean, they're just a lot of fun.
Mark Hiddleson 33:27
Yeah, sounds like it. Yeah, we know what's one of my I kind of know what people are doing. Like, I have to know about stuff like that enough to be dangerous. Right? And what Yeah, and I'm always you know, for
Joe Ferris 33:37
your middle names dangerous.
Mark Hiddleson 33:42
It is. Yeah. So your first aim later? Yeah, yeah, it's, it's shoot, and then aim. And then or fire. Get ready. And then a
Joe Ferris 33:54
Mark Hiddleson 33:55
We started the podcast Vario still aiming right now and we're about to get ready. So, so that's great about the voice pick. And I'm glad I know a lot of people are gonna want to hear about that. And just those companies I've always I have a few friends that own smaller WMS companies. Path guide technologies is one there's another guy named Anthony only when the lumber guys in the wine business, they were looking for something more custom. But I hear for bigger companies, especially at corporate you have multiple locations. You got stuff on the East Coast, better using a bigger company because they can give you that service level.
Joe Ferris 34:33
Yeah, yeah, I think a worldwide service you know, they got 24 hour service, where a smaller COVID might not be able to give that to soar that you know, once the money's out, it's out you know, we're not gonna with with the Vita group, you know, and I know that we're still paying to a certain extent there was nothing for free. But you know, at least that little bit of extra, like if you asked for Brian there, Brian was the one to call you back. Versus a tech that was you know that you now have to explain everything that's going on for them to run a triage. And then to come back two days later and say, yep, we may have found this out,
Mark Hiddleson 35:11
which I think most customer relationship management platform, it is like that. It's like press one, if you need this, press two, if you need this, go all the way down the line. And you get there. And they asked you as if you started out from zero. It's like, yeah, I explained it already. This is what we're doing. So that's ended like that help you with the process engineering as well. Or what did you know, the other engineers standards? Your standards?
Joe Ferris 35:37
That was Jackpine Engineering. So I'll send you that contact information. Yeah. And Jack pines, is somebody you might want to get on your podcast to Charlie over there. I think you might have met Charlie, at one of our Grocery Outlet. He might have been there when you were there. Jason was another one. They were a couple engineers that came in well, Jack, or excuse me, Charlie Holmes, Jack by his dad started that was started. Okay. And Charlie's just a good dude. And he just and he hires good people that they just they know how to talk to everybody from the top to the top tier person to the guy picking orders. Because they have to follow people picking orders. That's part of the job. And so they don't want them to stress out, they don't want them to think that I mean, they're gonna go really fast, so that I can show that I'm not screwing off, or I'm at a dog, because you're going to base the standards on me going slow. So they already sniffed it out. And they already know, these are the games that get played, or this is the impression that people get, they're very good at just talking to people say, Look, man, this is the way it is, you know, all I'm doing is seeing how the process is a flow. You know, you personally, you're just part of this, I'm looking at the flow,
Mark Hiddleson 36:49
right? Flow getting low state in the world.
Joe Ferris 36:53
Yeah, you get a good flow. If you get efficient, you get that that flow to where things look seamless, almost where I see order pickers in there that they never looked like they're trying hard. But they're just cruising and getting it done every time getting above standard and getting good incentive checks, because they're just not there's no wasted motion. I mean, you're an athlete, you and your workout, you know that you don't want all this wasted effort. All you're doing is wearing yourself out. Instead of going in there and just making these nice, smooth, concise moves to where I'm not over exerting but I'm still getting things done.
Mark Hiddleson 37:30
Yeah, and the thing is with the bathroom breaks, and I met a guy, Gary Fisher, I'm gonna if you've heard of him, like Mike, Michael Thomas knows him that he had a similar program. And he said, You go look at the brakes. And you look at you know, somebody took a break all after all the breaks, it's 15 minute break. But then for 10, it's 10 minutes or seven minutes or whatever. It's like, you pick the next one. How can you add that up? Over or even meetings, you have a meeting, have a tailgate meeting, safety meeting? Well, everybody goes to silver to meet and then there's this wall of like, takes you eight minutes to get back on track. Exactly. And Gary's thing. It was a program that where do you kept track of all that and then send it checks. I spoke with Gary at this conference, and one of the people that were using the system, we said, we think we're getting all these better. Production in when it rains, everybody should get wet. And that was the bonus checks, right? Yeah. Yeah. Everybody should get and people were stoked about and that brings back to kind of that competitive. Yeah, how the only thing that you were talking about at rallies when you first customers like, Hey, I'm hustling, I'm in flow. Well, glowing. Again, it's adding to my paycheck. So I love that concept.
Joe Ferris 38:43
It works better with voice too, by the way, just to go back to voice it works so much better with voice. It is because there isn't. There isn't wasted movement with with voice, you're just talking. Yeah.
Mark Hiddleson 38:57
Right. So whatever you're using your hands for. Yeah,
Joe Ferris 38:59
so this you're using a gun or you're using a trigger whatever it you are, it's just in your way a little bit. It's not it's it's made so that it stays on your way. But it is certainly said, if you're picking heavy boxes of beef. Trust me a little scanner is not what you want. Or if you're carrying a gun. How are you supposed to you're gonna put the gun down somewhere. So that's when they get lost. That's when they get damaged. You know, that's one thing somebody hit the button by accident. I don't know how I'm gonna pick now. You know, all that hands free voice is just plus. It's in our world with Siri and echo and everything. You're talking to computers all the time. Anyway.
Mark Hiddleson 39:39
It is the voice recognition software. It's just fantastic. Yeah. For some reason, I can't voice text or I have this thing where my voicemail box is always full listening, but sometimes my voicemail box reads it reads it out to you and sometimes I'll read them because it's so funny because it is yeah, but it doesn't say what they want to
Joe Ferris 39:59
know. So I get I get messages from Sac City Unified. And when you read it every time it's the school district here, it says, Hey, sex a unified six. I saw the boys mom her friend poses because you just really makes my day when I get a voicemail from them. It just makes my day because they're calling me sexy. Yeah. Yeah, that doesn't I don't know what I mean. And when I'm driving and trying to talk, or you know, text, voice text, it never comes out. Right? Yeah, I just send it. Let them know where I'm sending it to you can figure it out. I think you don't you know, I didn't mean to say Ghana in the middle of that.
Mark Hiddleson 40:46
You got to take the joke in exactly. Yeah. So there was another huge and I kind of want to bring this up is a call me one time it was on like a Tuesday night. And you invited me to The Landmark Forum. And I'm always so I've told you before, and I told you the story, but I got enrolled in the possibility of The Landmark Forum when I was like
Joe Ferris 41:14
10 years old.
Mark Hiddleson 41:18
From the movie, Semi-Tough, and I wasn't what I was watching on TV. So it was probably gonna came out in 77. So it's like 8081. And I remember asking my dad like, what is this this professional football player and he's got to go to the seminar. And my favorite part is because Burt Reynolds rigs up a catheter. And because they wouldn't let you go to the bathroom, that was the
Joe Ferris 41:40
thing. Yeah, you're locked in there for days. Right.
Mark Hiddleson 41:43
Locked in? Yeah, that's good is great. I mean, I think I'm gonna put it in the show.
Joe Ferris 41:50
I think you should I just look is Bert Convy is the host of that. Is that who was Bert called? It's Bert coffee. Yep. He was in. So he was in a bunch of Burt Reynolds movies. He was a Semi-Tough he was in Cannonball Run out of those. All those movies see the big 70s 80s? Guy?
Mark Hiddleson 42:06
Yeah. And I remember asked him a pair. I'm like, What is this about? Because at the time, I wanted to be a professional athlete, right? Like, I'm 10 I love him. I'm like, I'm bigger kid or ever. They all go broke. And I'm thinking man, and I said, Well, what why do they? Why would they have him go to this? And my dad goes? Well, you know, sometimes was my stepdad actually, is that people have now screwed up families or something. And he goes, and they have, he goes, like, go to get, you know, and I looked around my like, I'm like, Okay, so I'm gonna need to go to this. And even had I was in the mastermind thing, right before he even invited me that they were bringing up the landmark form because it is like one of the most powerful transformation. I mean, one of the most powerful programs that I've ever been involved with, I mean, I was blown away, but I heard people talking about it. And they were saying, you know, it was other people in the group. I was in like a group of business owners. They call it a mastermind, but it's basically like group coaching. And a lot of the people had been to it. So I looked it up online, and it's based, it's kind of like an invitation. It's not an invitation only. You could go and sign it. But the way it kind of works is it's like invitation. So I'm like, Well, somebody's somebody's got invited to this thing. And
Joe Ferris 43:21
yeah, I thought of you when I went through it. I thought of you because of our conversations. You know, we have some deep conversations, and I thought him somebody's gonna, Mark's gonna like this. This is something that's right up his alley. It
Mark Hiddleson 43:33
was I'm always looking for opportunities. I mean, you took me to the internet. And it's funny. So I went to the introduction with you. And I was like, I'm signing up, like, yeah, somebody's finally nearby. And he told me it was at seven, it was like at seven or 730. So I told my wife, I'm doing this thing in Sacramento at seven. She was like, What time was over? I go, I'm probably over like 830. And remember this
Joe Ferris 43:57
goes on on you.
Mark Hiddleson 43:5
Yeah. Well, that's my shoot, and then aim and get ready because I didn't even read what you sent me the thing it said, so. What's actually kind of better because if it was seven to 10, maybe I wouldn't have gone but I told you the man on the go. I told my wife a 30. It's like nine. I go. I'm definitely signing up for this. But you gotta sneak me out of here, man.<