EP 62 - Joe Lynch - Logistic Services and Why it's Important for your eCommerce Business
|Awesomers Origin - We'll talk to an Awesomer about where they came from, the triumphs and tribulations they have faced and how they are doing today. An Awesomer Origin story is the chance to hear the backstory about the journey our guest took on their road to become awesomer. These stories are incredibly varied and the takeaway is that awesomers come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, creeds, colors and every other variation possible. On your awesomer road you will face adversity. That’s just part of life. The question as always is how YOU choose to deal with it.
|Joe Lynch and his team at The Logistics of Logistics help transportation and logistics companies get more sales by training and coaching their sales teams. The company’s signature program is “21st Century Sales Skills for Transportation Logistics Professionals” and provide sale people the attitudes, skills, and knowledge required to win in today’s competition 3PL market.
Prior to founding The Logistics of Logistics, Joe was the General Manager of a management based 3PL. While running a 3PL, Joe learned the strategies for accelerating sales growth within the 3PL market. Earlier in his career, Joe led a supply chain consultancy, which focused on the automotive sector.
His consulting engagements included: value stream mapping, supply chain optimization, lean product development, module strategy, and quality improvement. Joe started his career as an automotive engineer and eventually rose to program launch manager for vehicles built in Thailand and China. He has a Bachelor of Business administration from Cleary College and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan. Joe’s master's degree was specially designed for business trainers and consultants.
Logistic Services and Why it is Important for your E-commerce Business
The E-commerce logistics industry is the cornerstone of action and every E-commerce company has logistical concerns and needs that have to be addressed efficiently.
On today’s podcast, Steve Simonson introduces to us Joe Lynch, kingpin of logistics. He is also the founder of The Logistics of Logistics, a podcast host, blogger and industry leader. Here are some key points on today’s episode:
His company The Logistics of Logistics and how he helps E-commerce companies.
Expert insights on logistics and transportation.
The importance of supply chain in business.
So stay tuned to today’s episode and find out more about the right logistics solutions for your business.
01:37 (Steve introduces us to today’s guest, Joe Lynch.)
05:44 (Joe talks about The Logistics of Logistics.)
11:19 (Joe talks about his origin story.)
50:03 (Joe’s prediction about the future of logistics.)
56:41 (Joe’s final words of wisdom.)
Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.
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1:37 (Steve introduces us to today’s guest, Joe Lynch.)
Steve: You are listening to episode number 62 of the Awesomers.com podcast. And our tradition is just go to Awesomers.com/62 to find links to any of the relevant details or things that we discussed here in the episode, as well as a full transcript and things like that make your life a little easier. So today my special guest is Joe Lynch and he is a great guy and certainly an absolute kingpin of logistics. A really really experienced guy and we're going to talk a little bit about his origin story and where he came from and how he built this very specialized skill of logistics. Now he owns a company called The Logistics of Logistics which includes a podcast, blog and other service offerings. And The Logistics of Logistics has been around as a blog in a business for over 10 years and a ton of time in this dynamic environment and dynamic space. Plus he's built a following on LinkedIn, a group with over a hundred thousand followers and participants. So it's a very niche specialized area of logistics yet that it's such a massive area as well. So a very interesting range of experience and we're going to dive into that right now. Hello Awesomers, it's me Steve Simonson and here we are again on the Awesomers.com podcast. And today I have a very special guest Joe Lynch. Joe, how are you?
Joe: Very good Steve, thanks for having me on.
Steve: Certainly my pleasure. Logistics is very near and dear to my heart. So I can't wait to dive into some of these things. And I've already given the audience kind of the top-line view of you. I've read your bio in and so forth at the top of the episode here. But I like in your own words maybe you could just share kind of what you do today and where you live and so forth. Just kind of in your own words. Something that audience see who you are.
Joe: Sure, I live in Michigan, I live in Livingston County which is about an hour from Detroit and about 30 minutes Dan Arbor with Maize and Blue. And I own The Logistics of Logistics. And what we do with The Logistics of Logistics has helped companies that sell logistics transportation warehousing, the technologies, we help them sell more. I also find myself doing some consulting here and there, helping transportation logistics companies. Do other things but often working with shippers, helping them manage, select, their 3PL’s.
Steve: Nice, yes. It's a big business at this stage and it has been for some time. But I think more and more people even at this smaller levels are getting exposed to the idea of a 3PL or getting tight with your international logistics, you know ocean freight and what-have-you. Do you see this a big growth kind of a phase over the last few years? Especially related to E-commerce?
Joe: Yes, I see a lot with E-commerce and I see the whole industry being forced to grow up. We have this global supply chain that's demanding more. And I will say this, I'm from automotive and automotive was always one of the big spenders in logistics and transportation. And I did a lot of consulting, a lot of that kind of work. And when I moved into pure logistics and transportation, I was a little surprised. I felt like wow what a backwards place. And over the last 10 years though there's been an explosion of growth, I mean we're seeing a lot of consolidation. Where the big players are buying up the smaller players. Sophistication is just gotten a lot more. I won't mention their names but one of the larger logistics companies I work with publicly traded, they engage like McKinsey. They are top notch. I can't say enough about the best of the best in this business.
Steve: Well, and there is a large and growing difference when it comes to the deployment of technologies or the ability to kind of I suppose react with what's changing, what's dynamic out there in the marketplace while trying to stay competitive, right? It's a pretty crazy world that we live in a time. So it's nice that you are able to bring order from chaos. And tell us about The Logistics of Logistics podcast. Just a little bit before we dive into your background.
5:44 (Joe talks about The Logistics of Logistics.)
Joe: Yes, so I've been a blogger for like ten years and it is a painful business. I love it. It's like going to the gym and having a horribly difficult workout. I'm always happy when it's done and you see while what a sense of accomplishment. Some people might respond to it say that was great but it's painful to actually sit down and write articles. And I do still do it. And then my buddy George Muha another fellow blogger from way back said to me I don't know like a year ago, all I'm blogging now, I don't do that. And I thought I do a lot of webinars, training webinars. So I was like I'll just do some training webinars and then he said you got to start the podcast. So I didn't know I think I've done like eight, I have a few in them in the post-production. So I've really enjoyed it and I will say big difference for me is blogging. It's something I do late night in my office or my home or maybe at a coffee shop, even a pizza place they go to and it's painful and it's solitary the podcast. What's cool about it like this I meet you today. I'm meeting new people and I'm learning about their business. And what I tend to do is I want to talk to innovators, entrepreneurs, the guys were changing the logistics business. So I feel like it's not only is it social but I'm learning a lot. So I've loved it.
Steve: Yes, it is interesting. I like you have blogged over the course of the years. In fact you know probably some of my blogging went back to really the late 90s.
Steve: Although I've taken a happy respite for the last couple years on it. But the reality is generating content, particularly blogs can be very difficult and time-consuming. Although the accomplishment or the feeling again is great but it is different a podcast. Because we get to learn and we get to engage and have conversations that are top of mind there's flow of consciousness, right? So when you say something that is intriguing, I can dive deeper on that and vice versa. So it is interesting and different. I've noticed as I recall that on LinkedIn your company Logistics of Logistics has a hundred thousand LinkedIn followers, is that right?
Joe: It's a group I have, I own The Logistics of Logistics Group and it has a hundred thousand people. And that started just because I had a blog and I wanted to share content. This goes back like ten years where I would say I would post something and I don't know for whatever reason, people would block me from posting in their group. I don't know, I'm thinking, I don't write anything that super salesy. I don't write anything that's I hope it's not that poorly, I think it's good quality and I don't think it's salesy or boring or any of that. And it started driving me crazy. So I said I'm just going to start my own group and I think it just grew because the names a little different. The Logistics of Logistics by the way my good friend and who I work with off, oh she's my executive coach. She's the one who came up with the name and it's just different enough that people catch up what the hell is that.
Steve: It's catchy for sure.
Joe: Yes that's been a great asset to me. And at this point kind of feel like it's a responsibility for me to try and share decent content in there and keep it from being garbage posts.
Steve: Well the good news is that even if you do make a garbage post or salesy or a hard pitch, it's your group. You can't kick yourself out or you're unlikely to. Oh that's good stuff.
Joe: I obviously that about my businesses I said kind of about my pay but I never fire myself, not yet anyway.
Steve: Oh boy when you get there it's very freeing. I fire myself regularly and that jerk I work for is a real pain anyway so I deal with it. Alright, so we're going to dive right after the break, kind of where you came from and learn a little bit more about the context behind your journey. And we're going to do that right after this break.
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Steve: Okay, here we are back again everybody. Steve Simonson joined today by Joe Lynch and I have to do the proverbial check-in. Did I get your name right Joe?
Joe: Yes, it's Joe Lynch.
Steve: Okay, so often I mispronounce guest names. This one I have to say was should be right in my wheelhouse. So I'm glad I got it right. Thank you for that and for the Awesomers out there keeping score, this is a win for me so put that out because it's not often like that. So Joe one of the things that I love about entrepreneurs and learning about Awesomers around the world is just figure out where they came from. So let's start at the very origin of your origin which is when you were born and where? Actually where is really more important.
11:19 (Joe talks about his origin story.)
Joe: Yes, I was born in Dearborn Michigan, right outside Detroit. It's the home afford more company and kind of it's to some extent still is a company town. And I mean for it is a very benevolent owner. So they took such good care of then still dude of Dearborn. Ford land of elements one of the largest land development companies in the world. Great place to grow up. Everybody had to buy, swear I felt like it was an obligation to play hockey and football and baseball and swim. So it was a fantastic place to live.
Steve: That’s amazing. You're probably pretty... it's almost like you're… it's like, hey you're born in Dearborn, you're going to the Auto business. Time is probably the biggest tractor being pulling people in. Is that fair to say?
Joe: Yes for sure. My parents generation, my parents are, my dad and mom both moved to Dearborn as kids and they both, there's like so many of my people at my age of my fifties. Our parents worked in at Ford or General Motors it was very much. And my mom is dad's graduating class from high school. Most of them stayed in Dearborn because that's they weren't to work for Ford. In fact my dad always tells the story when he was a kid. They'd be playing baseball, he says Henry Ford was old then would ride by on his bike. Nobody guards nothing. And say when you boys are going to come work for me? And he say well when we graduate. And he said we didn't give it any thought to it. That some Henry Ford just rode by on his bike and offered us a job.
Steve: Amazing. Boy look at that he was recruiting even in the 20 light years. I love that, that's good stuff. So obviously your parents were working at Ford. How about any siblings?
Joe: I have one sister, she's 18 months younger than me.
Steve: Did she end up in an entrepreneurial type of world or a automotive?
Joe: She worked for a long time in automotive. She married let's see a little later in life at 40. And her and her husband are expats. They lived in China for seven years, he works for Ford. So he had a very good job in China, then they moved to Brazil for three, then New Mexico for three and now they're back there in South Africa for three more years. So they have seen the world and made a lot of cars.
Steve: Wow. What an exciting way to move around and experience the world. Fascinating stuff. How about University? Did you go to university?
Joe: I went one year, I went away to school called Northwood University. It was Northwood Institute back then. It was the only automotive marketing school in the world. And it was based as still is based in Midland Michigan a few hours from Detroit where I grew up. When Dearborn where I grew up, and went there for one year. Then I came home, my dad had started an engineering business. I came home after my first year, I went to work for my dad and then I continued going to school at night. I got my undergrad, my master's at night school. So I will got my undergrad at school called Cleary but I'm still very closely affiliated with. And I got my masters at University of Michigan.
Steve: Nice that sounds exciting. And it was probably a precarious that the first year that you're away, the parents are like, yes my sons at the Institute. They probably undeclared very quickly, oh it's a Technical College or whatever was.
Joe: Yes, it was base it still is based in Midland Michigan which is where Dow Chemical is which they claim to fame is the highest per capita number of PhDs in the world. And I say is it's just that interesting.
Steve: Wow, I'm actually quite surprised by that. That's a quite a number. I had no doubt would have a massive science community and so forth. But in the world of China and India and so forth with doctors or doctorates, fallen and grown like leaves on trees.
Joe: It's a blast. Oh yes.
Steve: That's crazy. Now let's talk about this, after university you talked about kind of your first job with your dad's engineering firm, which sounds kind of entrepreneurial and its own right. Was there ever a time that you worked for somebody else like what was your first proper job?
Joe: Well I worked for my dad for six/seven years and during the time when we were doing automotive engineering design. That was kind of pre CAD systems I'm dating myself. And when my dad would have projects, I'd worked there. When he did now would go down the street and work for one of our competitors. And I did that for seven years, my dad had a heart attack and I'm running the business for a few years. That's when my hair started going gray. No it's all the way gray but that was very entrepreneurial. It was a family business, I was expecting that would be where I worked the rest of my life. I thought I'd take that over. But I did work probably three or four different engineering firms during that six or seven years, for six months here, 6 months there. And so the nature of engineering design and drafting whatever you wanted to call it, was it paid a lot of money. And we worked a million hours and it was project-based so we would move from job shop to job shop that called his job ease and people would quit at the drop of a hat for 50 cents an hour. And we always work 56 hours a week, time and a half for overtime and we made great money. It was boring work, not for me but I did it.
Steve: Wow you probably got pretty good at all of that length of time.
Joe: No, I did not.
Steve: You probably were not getting better…
Joe: I was always well-dressed and a good attitude. I'd make all my hours and it was the industry was a little dirty then. And so people loved having me on their projects because I was the guy you put in the front row cause he looks the part.
Steve: I love it. Yes, that's good stuff. So now tell us about maybe from then to now, any defining moments that stand out in your mind?
Joe: Yes. So after my dad's business closed, I continued going to school working anything engineering, direct designer. And then the CAD systems came along and I was on the CAD systems. And there was a manager of CAD designers and then I became a product engineer. So I started working a lot design release engineer and then I ended up taking a job working with Jeep. Spent a lot of time in China and Thailand in the 90s.
Steve: Wow, early times.
Joe: Yes, it was. Well I know you've spent all some time there yourself, so I know you know better and I ever will. But it was incredible because automotive is a massive space. So when you're working on projects and sometimes you'll hear somebody say, “Oh my dad designed the Camaro.” You know like yes you know what, your dad might have designed a hubcap or bolts. There's so many people on product teams. But then when I found myself in China in my 30s, it was really freeing because it was very entrepreneurial. Again, because we were launching cars, first car ever, first American car launched in Thailand. I was the country manager. It was fascinating stuff and I really loved it, it kind of reminded me, after years of kind of being in my dad's business where it's entrepreneurial. Then you kind of be very corporate. And then I was like woke me up to what I wanted again. So that was some defining moments for sure. I thought this is what I want, I want to have a big role it in big company. Sometimes you can sit in a cubicle and be relegated to something very small and they'll pay. You're very good to do it. He said I spent the last six months in a six inch area of the car.
Joe: And I could pay good money to do it but I always knew I wanted to get back into something more entrepreneurial. And that really woke that up. So that was one of the defining moments. The automotive had its back and forth where we had some are difficult times, those were all defining moments for everybody working in automotive. Because it's painful to go through and I was mostly domestic automakers.
Steve: Yes so tell me... obviously that contrast from being in the cubicle working on this little tiny piece of the car right here. If your product manager, you're just working as you described a six inch piece of the car to being the country manager. And you described it as free in many ways. But man oh man, the level responsibilities must have been extraordinarily different.
Joe: Yes it was... it wasn't and the reason I say it wasn't is because we're launching 2,000 cars in Thailand. You gotta go through all the same processes. But I remember talking to the vice president of Chrysler at the time, was still a friend and saying hey we're launching, him kind of giving me the look like why would I care? I'm watching five hundred thousand units of this truck this year. And I remember I would get invited to these product team reviews. And we would never get to discuss mine, mine was very last on the list. And he'd say all the time, thanks for coming, I'm sorry we didn't get to your stuff again. But it was good because in a way you get a chance to fall down and make your own wakes. You don't have the resources of thousands of people. It was dozens of us. And when we had to wear lots of hats and it was great.
Steve: Oh yes that's...
Joe: But the good news is nobody cared.
Steve: Yes, regardless the level of responsibility nobody actually needed those 2,000 units were around the air at the end of the day.
Joe: Right, right.
Steve: Fascinating stuff. And how about as you kind of continued along that road, did you find particularly maybe at one of the downturns you could tell us about. We've all been or at least not all but many of us experienced the housing downturn of 2008 or the .com downturn 2000. And along the way some automotive cycles in there too. Can you describe one of those and what it was like to be inside the industry?
Joe: Right. Well I was working closely with Chrysler outside of Chrysler. Had long relationship with Ford throughout the 80s and a lot 90s and the 2000s with Chrysler. And when the great meltdown happened when Chrysler went bankrupt, I was doing value stream mapping lean work at Chrysler and enjoying it very much but kind of a lot of us could feel this, the end is coming. And it did come and I found myself unemployed. And I'd really never been unemployed for more than a week or two. I always felt like I got pulled along by guys I'd work with. And when I lost my job then and as so many of us did. I remember thinking this is it, I mean there is nothing happening. I will not go back to automotive for at least six months. And I thought I really did enjoy the value stream mapping. And what I learned about logistics at that time was how important it was becoming prior to that in my career. I was a supply chain guy, an engineer and then a supply chain guy and I just some extent didn't pay close attention to the logistics piece. Then I got an opportunity to work with a small logistics company that needed to go just like me. They had done well but had hit the downturn like everybody else. And I was able to work with the owner and closely. It was small and we did great work. We tripled the size of the company in the five years I was there. I learned a ton. I like to think we made some good things happen. I sold a lot of stuff. And I was back in a small business at that point. And that felt again... to start that wasn't a lot of money which was a shock because... that's one thing I always say the problem with entrepreneurship for somebody who can make good money in corporate, is letting go of the good money. So I really enjoyed that opportunity. We used to have it saying or am I saying anyway that as we were growing and kind of turning that company around, it was like you had to build a rowboat while you were drowning. And I kind of used that same phrase for my own business now. Where it's so often you say I'm just trying to keep a bike. I want to just can stay alive and yet I have to build a boat because otherwise I will continue around. So it was great. That again was a one of those experiences that it's a gut check for sure.
Steve: Well there's a reason why seekers swim is such a famous idiom in the world, right? You just got to make it happen. And a lot of people don't realize I don't know if it's one of these great general types say to win the war you must... it's through logistics, right? You got to have the food in the right place. You gotta have the bullets at the right place. And so this still applies to any business. Logistics really is the ultimate key to getting product from point A to point B. Is that what interested you in it?
Joe: What interested me and as I saw as an opportunity I mentioned I went to school. I went to school, I got my undergrad in business, my Master's is an education geared towards consulting and training. I worked as an engineer for many years and then I worked inside an engineering organization for many years. And as I was kind of looking one of the things that happened over the years, is they said we'd like to everybody who's working on these projects have an engineering degree. Didn't really matter what your experience was at that point. It was we'd like to have an engineering degree. So I felt limited within that and I sought. And then people who go to purchasing I'm like, if I'm not a purchasing guy go to manufacture. I don't like to be in the manufacturing plant. So this was when I bumped into logistics. It was like okay I understand this business. I've been doing, I've been touching it for a long time as a shipper. And then when I made this switch into logistics, I started as a blogging and I was running a little logistics company with the owner. And I learned the business. And that way we'll say it's not a super complex business, I call it simple not easy. It's just like, hey if you want to lose weight just eat fewer calories. Oh great that's very simple but not easy same with logistics. So what interested me was the opportunity.
Steve: Yes I can see that. It's funny because we talked about this principle of simple not easy regularly, right? And many of the topics we discuss whether it's Facebook marketing or maybe building chatBOTS or any of the rest of it. The concepts themselves are not complex it's like simple. Yes I get it do this and hope that happens but the execution is not easy. And logistics seems to me to be all about execution, right? It's really the pieces have to line up at the right points. Is that kind of your view of the world? That logistics is kind of making sure all the pieces fit in together at the right time at the right place?
Joe: Yes there's a lot of that and I will also say this is one of those places in the world where there's no there's no lying about the results. So what I mean by that when I was a draftsman and then as an engineer is you might say, Joe I want those, I want the design complete. I want you to send it to the tooling group on Friday. Well I could send him on Sunday night because I wanted to play with it over the weekend. And no one really know because they weren't going to work on it. There's none of that in this business. You can't say yes picked up Friday morning. I think at some point there's going to be a trail that says no picked up Saturday night. And so what I've enjoyed is it's again it's just more problem-solving. It's getting into I like I'm a big boy in having good kpi's and be able to kind of start measuring where you're at right now. And just make it better every week. And it's funny I started my podcast the same way. I said I'm going to start this without really knowing much I'm going to wing it. And then I promised myself every podcast will get better if you have that as a goal. And anything you're going to succeed.
Steve: That's very smart. I also took the terminology we use, is we build the plane as we fly it, right? Because we're probably crashed into the ground and burn. But we take a similar approach although instead of every episode happen to be better. It's like we'll be better in the future, it's a little more ethereal in our concepts.
Joe: Mine is probably more likely to be like your approach.
Steve: So before we kind of dive a little bit more into logistics and help explain and break it down to folks, was there ever a time that especially, once you're in your own business. That you want to kind of give up but maybe just step back and go find an engineering cubicle and just kind of cut bait and go home?
Joe: Yes, there's definitely was those times. And I think one of the things that I'm just kind of being aware of I could always go back and be a director, VP of some company whether it's in automotive or logistics. And I would say had some of those moments but you know what unfortunately I get divorced so I didn't have a wife to answer to that. That's a good part. My kids when they got out of school, I thought okay. Obligations are down there. So it's just me, so it's one thing to say I'm going to be a little, I'm going to have a little less money that I'm used to when it's your kids. It's different when it's just me because I look and go hey look I'm a simple guy. And so as long as you feed me everyday and I can live indoors, I'll be happy. And so that sometimes the challenge is you don't want to ever deprive your family, depriving yourself. You kind of go out, what do I care. So with that limited those... so I was living cheaper than I you know... so I guess I still had those moments where you go god I’m working too hard for what I get. But I’ve come to realize no matter what you do in life there's headaches, there's problems. You go when you were corporate, you're sitting there dreaming of, I wish I was on my own. I have a lot, I have a nice car, money and all that. And then you work on your own ego. God wouldn't be nice not to have the response but sit in some cubicle and have 10 guys answer to me. God would life be easy. And so it's the grass is a little bit greener maybe on the other side always but I've come to realize there's headaches everywhere. You just want to pick the headaches.
Steve: Well and I think that is a defining characteristic of entrepreneurs in general that we are fundamentally problem solvers. And I may sound like a broken record to the Awesomers out there listening but the reality is in any business... but in particular I think with logistics, we have to solve the problems. They even preemptively solve the problems in the case of logistics and that's where we had our the most value, right? If everything was just smooth as butter anyway we're not really adding that much value. I have to assume that part of the magic of what you bring to the clients that you are consulting with or they're dealing with, is helping them preempt problems that you've already seen and solved and make their life a little easier. Is that fair to say?
Joe: Yes. That's fair to say. I mean I do a lot of sales training. That's the bulk of it. I am doing some advising to shippers still and I would say having come from what I'll call the biggest badass supply chain on earth, automotive. I think a lot of people look at that industry and think it's backwards and just gave away market share to the Japanese and the European transportation, chimera transplants. But really it's a grinder. And so I feel like what I learned there was it's very applicable to what I'm doing now. So I think I like to think that when I'm working with transportation logistics companies, I also bring some of that what I learned in automotive, by also since I was a blogger. And I have a big following, that following one way to look at it as a sales platform. When I first started working with transportation logistics companies on my own through The Logistics of Logistics. A lot of them are saying just I would like what you have, you have the ability to reach tens of thousands of people in any given month and I was like yes says you do that for me. So one of the things I done quite a bit of websites with my partners over it Sunant Interactive for our clients. And it's a grind because again those guys want content just like we talked about. Not easy to create, you have to know something about what you're writing about. So there's two things I like to think I'm bringing my experience that came from being in a few different industries. And then also my experience is somebody who built a following in the space.
Steve: I think that's probably pretty unique in your particular category especially and certainly something not just kudos to you for doing it. Should be admired but also it's something actionable and as apparently replicable. You're able to help other people kind of put that into place as well huh.
Joe: Just to some extent. And I will say my partner at Sunant Interactive, they do websites for everybody and they always say this industry is transportation logistics warehousing. They said they're by far the weakest website. So they come from really far behind. I think in a way they lagged a little bit on sales process too and they're the pick up the phone and make a hundred phone calls a day. And they hire lots of guys more and more. We're seeing some more sophisticated approaches most of them don't do email marketing. Almost none of them will use marketing automation. And so it's still a little bit of a green field for marketing and sales people who want to help like me.
Steve: Isn't it ironic that the world of internet marketing and the E-commerce. This world needs like 3P logistics, it needs to better understand transportation. You flip it around to the other side and all those guys are really good at logistics and transport and shipping and so on, 3P. They need the E-commerce knowledge, right? Somebody always has something to help someone else. So it's a fast man paradox.
Joe: I almost throw this out, there is trucking and warehousing. You think back 25/30 years ago those are kind of the least high-tech businesses you can imagine. Now warehousing, you go into a modern warehouse. It's unbelievable what's going on in there and continue to grow same with trucking. The technology is taking off and there used to not even be 3PL’s. There were freight brokers and now most the freight brokers are becoming 3PL’s. Almost everyone I deal with now has transportation management systems. A lot of them use apps. I mean it's growing in leaps and bounds and sophistication and technology.
Steve: I love some of the advancements that have happened there. We're going to take a quick break, when we come back I want to have you think about the best day in your professional life so far. We're going to talk about tools, we're going to talk about some of those things that logistics companies are using today to make the lives of customers better. We going to do it right after this break.
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Steve: Okay we're back again everybody. Steve Simonson here on the Awesomers.com podcast and I'm joined today by Joe Lynch. Who is an expert in the world of supply chain logistics and so forth, and owns a company called The Logistics of Logistics or at least that's the name of the podcast. Is that also a company name as well?
Joe: Yes The Logistics of Logistics is my podcast and it's also my website. It's my business.
Steve: Nice. And one of the things that I teach before the break is this idea of there everyday that you just looked around, said this is a pretty doggone good day. And you want to take a victory lap, some accomplishment, some achievement that you hit, that you care to share with us?
Joe: Yes. Steve I think you've probably had some of these same moments. I've had a lot of good moments there. So those days I thought boy when I cash a big check or when it's money hits my account, you always think that's going to be like the day you remember forever. But it seems like the days that I like best is when I get feedback that's positive. Maybe I read a blog post or do a webinar or podcast, I've also spent a lot of time since I was unemployed for the first time ever really just during the 2008 downturn. Just where I kind of jumped into logistics. I'm really sensitive to how bad that it feels, not just financially but the whole feeling of god I just spent the last 25-28 years doing a lot of great stuff. A lot of people seem to like me. I've done good work, I've got a good resume and I can't get anyone to even call me back or respond to an email I sent them. So I do spend a little bit of time now helping people in transportation logistics, get jobs, especially veterans. I'm super sensitive to that because it's a difficult transition for some. So it seems like as much as I'd like to see that it be Wow is the day I cashed this huge checker. It's typically feedback I mean, when somebody says hey thanks for helping me get a job or thanks for the introduction to someone, I think we're going to do business, great article, I love this, I'm going to take this to my staff meeting. Those are the days and that's what keeps you going. Cause if you didn't get good feedback on blog posts, you just would stop.
Steve: Yes, that’s the truth. That's the fuel. To me the same thing goes. This podcast for me was started as… I don't know if anybody would care, I'm going to do it anyway. And we're going to make sure that we do a reasonable job at it and get better as we go. But every time we see a review come in where they say something positive and even unexpected, it's like wow I guess this is worthwhile. And so I know the same thing on the blog post, if you get feedback about, yes this really helped me or I was able to see this, those actually our great victory lap days. And I'm glad that you recognized those all amount.
Joe: If I could add something, I've always remember the first time I had a blog post. And my executive coach in was writing me saying, you've got to get your damn blog. He's committed to this and then the guys at Sunant Interactive do my website. And I always have... it's my brother-in-law's company. He's one of the partners and he say, all right you got a blog you gotta write something. And so I remember I wrote my grand first article, was five logistics quotes I liked and they were mostly for military leaders. Just as you point out, it was just kind of cut-paste, cut-paste on. Here's five quotes I like and I posted it and I've thought okay boy I'm just waiting for the other foot to drop. People are going to start complaining, people say this is an original, this sucks, how dare you. I was ahead of my mind that would be the feedback. To this day, I get very very few I mean I don't even remember. It can't be more than ten negative comments about articles or anything. But I had it in my mind this idea that somebody cared enough to write back something negative and that's really not the reality of it. And you said I don't know, you said the same thing I don't know if anyone's going to listen. I'm going to do it anyway. If you like it listen, if you don't, don't bother me.
Steve: Yes, really. You know in this world I have no time for haters anyway. And to me I kind of want to be polarizing to the extent that some people who find us and like us and want to participate in the community and the feedback loop, great. And if you don't that's okay too. Don't list a calories, I wouldn't if I were you. But I really do, I want Awesomers out there listening to pay close attention. There's some action, steps you can take in here. One if you have domain expertise, if you're launching a product or brand or a service whatever the case may be and you're not taking the opportunity to blog, create content to share some of your knowledge. Some of the knowledge that the holders of that content, the holders of the knowledge we take it for granted what we know, right? Well like, this is pedestrian, everybody knows this stuff. It's everyday stuff to us but it's not to everybody else. And other people who don't have that opportunity to have the same experiences or knowledge that we have. They really do value it and they want to see it. And so it really is as you kind of illustrate it, just do it. Just take a step and go. I'm going to do this blog weekly or monthly or daily or whatever you decide. But make the commitment and make it for some period of time as my best advice. I'm going to do this for a year or six months or three months. Just get into a rhythm and then see how you like it as you go. Do you agree with that general commentary?
Joe: Yes. Steve I can just tell one quick story.
Joe: I wanted to do a webinar, I wanted to start engaging people because I thought this is a good way to kind of connect with the world. This goes back probably eight-ten years ago. So it's my first webinar, I'm running this little 3PL and we did very good work. They're very proud of what we were doing and I did the webinar. How to select a 3PL, just third-party logistics provider. And I said thought to myself I'm going to play this straight. I'm going to put together 25 slides and I'm going to do this presentation. And did it via, GoToMeeting or whatever it was. And 28 people signed up and I was like, “Wow. Okay that's good. That's a good start. And I'm starting okay.” I know not only show up they have the webinar, eight show up. And I'm kind of looking at the group and I was like let's see there's six of those guys are either competitors or two or buddies. Okay, so two people I don't know potentially our shippers which should my customer. I thought of whatever. I did the webinar, it's very stressful for me. I don't know why I put too much into it in my head. I got done with it. I got done, I went for a walk around the neighborhood around my office and I thought, “Oh my god, why don't I put myself through this. This is ridiculous.’ I got back to my desk, check my email. It was one of the people in the podcasts it's are they in the webinar had sent me this very passionate note saying. “I hate my 3PL. Here's all the things they've done wrong. I need a new one. Please help me.” And I thought well this is now a sales opportunity but I'm going to still have to play it straight. And ultimately we didn't get that business unfortunately but I posted this on YouTube. But I thought, okay nothing ever came of this but I did have a cool conversation. Few conversations didn't win the business. About two years later I get a phone call from one of the logistics or one of the two supply chain organizations. And they said, “Hey would you come down to Galveston and speak at our Association about how to select a 3PL? We don't know how.” I think it's 80 picks or ISM I don't remember which but they said please come down and speak to our conference. And I say well why are you picking me? They go, we found you on YouTube and I thought, okay. So at the time I just can't check, I couldn't even find it. So I had the opportunity to go to speak this big group down there and what was crazy is Mcdonnell Douglas was in the room. And they came and said this is fantastic, could you help us? I thought, I mean I guess again I didn't but it was traits a point is that just thing just has legs. To this day, every once in a while somebody will reach out to me and say can you help us select a 3PL? And it all comes back to that stressful day where I thought oh my god what have I done to myself. But all positive, all positive.
Steve: Well, we all have the propensity to suffer from impostor syndrome. Like who cares what I have to say. Nobody's going to want to listen and then we also like to put extra pressure on ourselves. Like this better be awesome. And for example I dislike the world of permanent hyperbole that we live in, right? If you go on the Facebook or any of these websites, it's just kind of constant hyperbole. If you want to make a billion dollars by reading this sentence, you know click here and opt in. And it's just click bait and just so spammy and hyperbole everything. And world doesn't really work like that. It's not like click here make a million bucks, click there make a million bucks or click here and save half your time. It just doesn't work in the world of hyperbole. It just works but slow and steady wins a race which is not sexy. It's not as good as the big fancy headlines. But the reality is that's just how life is. And I think your story's highly on point to that little asset that you made. That you generally feel great about at the time, is still continuing to help establish credibility and build your brand. Fascinating stuff.
Joe: Thank you, thank you.
Steve: One of my favorite quotes on that by the way in logistics and military is from Sun Tzu. Where he talked about the line between disorder and order lies in logistics. Have you ever heard of that one?
Joe: Oh yes. If you've typed in logistics quotes you will find me and I didn't put it. You're like hey would you like logistics quote I put it in as famous logistics quotes. So I think I've probably got 30 or 40 logistics quotes from Patton and Tom Peters that Sun Tzu. I love them all. I love the one that Alexander the Great said I'm going to botch this. He said something like... I'm a little blank. But basically it's if we lose my logistics guys, fret the most because they're going to be killed. Basically Alexander the Great would kill his logistics guys after he lost.
Steve: Oh really? Oh okay I just found your site.
Joe: I wrote an article on that off to send it to you because I was thinking that it's not exactly enlightened management.
Steve: No, no. So I just went to Google, I searched logistics quotes your site, not only was it the number one site but it had the Google autosuggest. So like the highlighted stuff. Here's what Alexander great the said according to your quote, my logistician are humorless lot, they know if my campaign fails they're the first ones I will slay.
Joe: I'm going to botch this is pretty good but…
Steve: You're point is right on. I remember people joking around, hey could the beatings will continue until the morale improves, right? Haha that's funny but Alexander took it to a whole new level.
Joe: Right? And one of these I wrote in an article about just that. And I think when my point was always the same is people really always want to blame logistics when sometimes it shipped out late, sometimes there's the storms like we've got this week with Florence. And one of the things I've always said is if you shoot the messenger, he won't tell you the bad news anymore. And that's one of the things that so often companies really pound on logistics guy. So after a while the guy lies or obscures the truth, whatever he does. And I always say dope. I'm going to make it easy for him to tell me the truth every single time.
Steve: I love it. I have a general policy that I want to know the worst news the fastest. Because that's just how business really works in real life. That nobody will be rewarded by putting it off. This idea of procrastination helping you is insane. So let's get out your crystal ball for a minute Joe and let's talk about how you see the future of logistics. You know we live in a world today where just independent truck drivers can hop on an app and just pick and find nearby. And of course that the opposite of that is shivers can just put a load up onto that app and find somebody who's available. And the prices and the timing and everything just seems to be getting better and better. Are you excited about those types of things? What's your prediction in the next five years of how this is going to go?
50:03 (Joe’s prediction about the future of logistics.)
Joe: So I see a whole bunch of things that are called the big trends that are hitting. First is you're going to start to see a lot more sophistication when it comes to marketing, email marketing, content marketing, marketing automation. And then the big guys are already inserting employ that. And I think what that's going to do is, it's going to put pressure on the little guys to step up. Either get bought or figure that out. So more and more companies are looking that way also. There's a lot of guys who kind of in this business are hustlers. I mean that in a very positive sense they grew very successful businesses. We make a hundred phone calls a day and we do a real good job following up. I don't think that's good enough going forward. I think they're going to have to pick some specializations. So if I'm going to be, let's say I'm talking to you Steve. I don't want to be the guy who does everything. I want to be the guy who works in E-commerce. And I have 25 E-commerce companies and here's our best practices. Here's why you should work with us. That's a much more compelling message. Then hey we do everything for everyone and I always say if you do everything for everyone you most likely are nobody to everyone. Because nobody wants that. So I think we're going to see a lot more specialization. I think private equity has already been in the market doing a lot of consolidation. We have more bigger companies, more sophisticated companies now than we did just 10 years ago. That's going to continue and I think what I call match.com for freight. Those type of applications are coming quick. It is easy now to connect a truck to a load. And I don't think that's necessarily, all the answer right now. I do talk to a lot of those guys. A lot of companies are finding it's a little harder than that. But the people who are now doing that are who are spending a lot of money. CH Robinson, JB Hunt the leaders in that space are deep in the technology company and into technology. So I think big changes are coming. And I think the challenge especially for the middle and the bottom of the market is competing with the big guys when it comes to, again marketing and sales. The technology investments required and potentially these specializations and last but not least the consolidation. So big change is coming and I think from a shipper perspective it's just getting more positive every day. There's apps on phones. We're going to be able to track trucks, we're getting to the point where we can set its tracks off inside of trucks. I think we're going to start to see and I work a lot in cold chain. We all want our food on the shelves faster and fresher. I think we're going to start to see some big moves in that also. So very exciting stuff and again the supply chain that rides on the back of logistics is demanding it. I always tell the story at one time you could be a little manufacturer in the Troy Petro area and you could ship to Ford and to Chrysler and GM. Well now that part doesn't come from Detroit necessarily. It might come from Europe and that European company might say, yes we have some US parts in there. And we have some Chinese parts in there. The supply chain that was required demands more and that's what we're all having to deliver. And guys like you and the E-commerce business are very demanding also.
Steve: Oh yes I'd like to say we could be some of the most demanding. Because the consumers are less and less patient, right? We live in the world of Amazon Prime, so now that's like hey if you don't have here in two days you suck.
Joe: That's the same on our side for the business-to-business. Now they say... I hear this once a week in business clients say, Amazon delivered toothpaste to my house in two days. And I will also say this the challenge with that b2c is you're shipping to people who are not professional receivers. So yes big demanding markets and they're growing and then growing in not only scale but also in what they expect.
Steve: I love it. I do think those are predictions are pretty well formed and high reliance on those. I definitely agree that the adoption of technology and the application of various technologies is accelerating and fun. But the niching in particular is so important. I've had experience with all kinds of different supply chains and logistics processes. And you know what worked for an Amazon seller is very different than what would work for as you talked about the cold pack operations or somebody's shipping into Walmart, truck loads and truck loads. It's just… everything is different and the solution should be properly applied to the problem. And I think sometimes people forget that.
Joe: Yes. I'm interviewing tomorrow on my podcast a guy who buys and sells transportation logistics companies. And in the podcast we've kind of played around with the ideas already. And one of the things I suggested is, tell us what somebody should do to get ready to sell. Because you want to start the day, you want to sell them as you want to start years before. What is a good buyer looking for? And he said, “What? Because my big push is always specialization.” And that's one message I have for all my customers that I'm working with is, you as an individual should specialize. And then whatever company you're working for ideally you specialize in something that they do. So you say I work for a company that has a whole bunch of reefer vans then you might want to specialize in supply chain food if you want to be there long term. And be the guy who says look at not only am i a flat-out expert. You want to work with me but also I work with one of the experts in the field. And that's a challenge for the companies also is getting a little... being able to share the spotlight with some guys who might be stars within your business.
Steve: While I quite agree. And just for the audience listening at home, reefer vans in this case referred to refrigeration units versus the other kind of reefer. We have plenty of those kind of vans here too.
Joe: I think we have a lot on for those other vans coming up very soon.
Steve: Big demand happening for sure. Joe Lynch it’s been a great pleasure having you on today. Any final words of wisdom for the audience you may care to leave today?
56:41 (Joe’s final words of wisdom.)
Joe: No Steve, this has been great. I really do appreciate this opportunity. The one thing that I will say I've enjoyed about my podcast and also being on yours. This is the first podcast I've been on besides my own, is I think the opportunity to kind of bring my story to a different audience. I'm not some famous Mark Cuban type. I'm just a guy kind of plotting away trying to make a business work. So it's a cool thing that you could bring it, my story. And I like to think I'm doing the same with my podcast.
Steve: No tell you are. I like what you're doing and this is a classic Awesomer story, right? You have this specialty, it's in high demand, it's highly relevant to today's world and entrepreneurs and E-commerce people in particular but across the board. And that's really what we like to do on Awesomers is we find people who are making a difference or breaking that paradigm of normal. And you're certainly among that. So thank you for joining us again and Awesomers out there listen to wherever you are, I will be right back after this.
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Steve: Joe such a fun guy to hang out with. And I sure do appreciate his level of expertise. The concept a lot of us don't really think about logistics in our everyday environment. But if you do anything with import/export, if you have your own brain, your own private label however you wish to refer to it, your moving product from point A to point B. Every E-commerce company has logistical concerns and has needs and capabilities that are required. And that includes the things that like Joe and I discussed 3p logistics centers, transportation and so on and so forth. And so having an expert come on here and talk to us about it especially using the automotive space which is extraordinarily complex. It's not just the Ford factory shipping the Ford pickup truck to the local dealer. And it's not just getting those parts to the Ford manufacturing plant for assembly. It's every part of that downstream supply chain, right? Every individual piece of component that goes into a truck may have five or ten or even a hundred other sub components. So you're literally talking about thousands probably tens of thousands and possibly even hundreds of thousands of parts for the automotive industry. To put one single card together and just imagine how many moving pieces that is. So a really great background and experience with the engineering and the logistic background that Joe has. And I hope you guys took something away from some of the lessons not just the inspiration that Joe story can lend us, but also the idea that we need to pay close attention to how we are thinking about logistics. How we're considering that our supply chain relies on that backbone of logistics to move the product of point A to point B. And think about it in a more creative way because it is a dynamic and fun exchanging world. And all of those technology pieces can be something to give you an unfair advantage. So I'm thrilled that you joined us today. I'm glad to have you here. This has been episode number 62 of the Awesomers.com podcast series and all you have to do is go to Awesomers.com/62 to find all the show notes and details about today's episode.
Well we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.