Freight Friends: The State of Freight, Warehouse Drones, and Snack Production Logistics
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Join Grace Sharkey and Blythe for the latest installment of Freight Friends, where they unpack the current state of the freight market and its economic drivers. Discover cutting-edge business ideas like using drones to streamline warehouse inventory, leveraging digital twin technology for optimizing manufacturing, and implementing AI-driven phone systems for smoother logistics operations. Plus, don’t miss their exploration of the logistics behind the diverse flavors in the booming snack industry and the hype surrounding themed movie theater popcorn buckets.



    • A lot of brokers have been telling me produce season hasn’t been picking up like it should. Again, I always like to kind of look at those around me whenever I want to kind of make a prediction of what’s happening with the freight market or even more so what’s happening possibly down the line.” – Grace Sharkey
    • “We have a broker that I inherited, and I swear each week, I get another email or call from a different rep. They’re DMs, we are already a customer and he says it’s very annoying.” – Matt (quoted by Blythe)
    • “What I think is really cool is this is a company that uses drones, computer vision from those drones to offer inventory management solutions for warehouses. So again, taking a giant warehouse and being able to send a drone out to read every item, take inventory, take all that data, bring it back to managers and figure out where they only want that they can.” – Grace Sharkey (on Gather AI)
    • “If you’re buying a specialty flavor, Lay’s chips it likely came from a factory that’s two hours away and has been in business for 50 years with a local supply chain.” – Ryan Harlan (quoted by Blythe)
    • “Companies like Nestle think that this model of novelty is the future as they come back things like Ozempic Taking over where people are eating less.” – Blythe Brumleve
    • “Last summer AMC chief Adam Aaron predicted that 25,000 Special Edition Barbie Corvettes would sell out by the end of opening weekend at $35 a pop he was right that means nearly 1 million in revenue or about $875,000.” – (Quote from Hollywood Reporter)



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Show Transcript

See full episode transcriptTranscript is autogenerated by AI

Grace Sharkey: 0:05

one other thing, too, I want to say is uh, this is changing a lot with the newer warehouses, but a lot of the warehouses in our, our space, especially for more remote areas, are old school af and so like.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:20

There's a lot of them are. Kevin Lawton of the New Warehouse podcast estimates that about 90% of all warehouses do not have automation, do not have robotics.

Grace Sharkey: 0:31

Yeah, so this is something where you could, in any type of warehouse situation, be able to deploy instantly and not have to worry about do we have the electricity or wires run through this place to set up our own cameras for computer vision? It's like, no, just like, use this flying drone.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:53

Welcome into another episode of Everything is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. We are proudly presented by SPI Logistics and I am your host, Blythe Brumleve. We've got another episode of Freight Friends for you today, which I'm sure you probably know if you clicked on the title of this show. So Grace Sharkey is back. Grace, how are you doing?

Grace Sharkey: 1:12

You're doing good, excited to be here. I sound crazy right now. I'm a little stuffy, so that's why that's happening. The nutty pack is out and stuffy, so that's why that's happening. Uh, the nutty pack is out and being used, so, uh, that's fun. And uh, you know, that's what happens when it snows in the middle of April here in Michigan, so awful.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:36

Yeah, that's awful. Oh, I could not imagine.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:40

Um, it's beautiful weather down here in Florida and we have to enjoy it while we can before it gets too sweltering, and we don't go outside in July and August, if you, we, we set a new record for this show where we talked for an hour and a half before we actually hit record. Typically we talk for about 30 minutes and then we hit record, but today we we beat the limit by quite a quite a good margin. There's a lot of gossip going on in the freight world and there's a lot of predictions going on in the freight world, so that's a perfect opportunity to intro this first topic that we wanted to discuss. And if you're new here, we typically will cover a couple of big stories, top stories, and then we will get into our favorite freight business side hustle that's going on in the world of logistics, and then we will get into our favorite freight business side hustle that's going on in the world of logistics and then finally we close it out with our source to porch story. Each of us pick a story where it's the logistics of and we drop a bunch of fun facts. So that's the roadmap for today's show.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:38

And that first topic I really want to get into is the state of freight webinar that FreightWaves released with Zach Strickland and Craig Fuller. Of course, they released it this week, so the week of the 24th is when we're recording this. You're probably going to be listening to this a few weeks later, so this information will likely still apply. But there were a lot of sort of revelations after Q1. I think this is the time of the year that most folks thought that a year ago that this would be the timeframe that we would start to see the economic pickup. That hasn't exactly happened yet, and so that state of freight webinar is really sort of a great barometer, at least for me, who is somebody who's not in the news freight news every single day to be able to go back and say I mean, I am covering freight topics but I'm not in the news of the day-to-day sort of the economic outlook and the data that you know Sonar provides and all of that extra insight. So this was this. This usually is really beneficial for me to listen to, and then they also go through some predictions for Q2. So a couple of the big takeaways for me, and then, grace, I'll go to you. But the big carriers are still struggling. Um one thing that I thought that was really interesting from the conversation and I'll link to it in the show notes, in case you haven't checked out this, this show Um, but the private fleet data is not something that's typically shared, uh, with any data provider.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:59

Obviously sonars in the context of what we're using, the example here. But private fleet data you know the Walmarts, the Amazons, you know, even you know some of the shippers who have their own invested in private fleets. A lot of that private fleet data is not necessarily shared with a bunch of different data providers. But the way that Zach said Zach Strickland said in this conversation that you can kind of understand how private fleets are investing just based on truck sales. But that's the extent of how they can kind of figure that out unless the shipper is going to share that specific data. So that was one thing that stood out to me. Brokerages are obviously struggling. Their margins have been just crushed over the last year. No-transcript, watching that state of freight and you're in this every single day. You work for Freight Waves, obviously. So you have all of this additional insight. But what are your thoughts around sort of the state of the freight market for Q1 leading into Q2?

Grace Sharkey: 5:24

Yeah, you know it's interesting because a lot of the stories I was working on near the end of Q1 and the beginning of this month in general, I got a chance to talk to a lot of brokers in particular, and so clearly, especially, it's earnings week this week and it's going to be going on for the next couple weeks, so when this comes out, I'm sure you're still going to have a few that we're we're touching on here at FreightWaves. Uh, that that's what gives us the opportunity to learn a little bit more. You talked about that like lapse of data. So, uh, for instance, like one of my favorite ones to check out for everyone out, there is and this was already out too so you can definitely find some stories on FreightWaves like Jamie Hunt is one of my favorites, because not only do you get intermodal but you also get brokerage as well, the truckload side of things a little bit more of that vision. So, yeah, I'm glad that you brought up that aspect too, because I actually learned this past week as well that a lot of analysts, at least on the stock market, when it comes to intermodal, that's another problem that they have too. A lot of times they get their data on the market based on international intermodal instead of just North American intermodal numbers. And so actually right now international Mexico and other locations outside the US is seeing positive numbers when it comes to intermodal containers and what's over the rail, I guess you could say, whereas we're seeing the opposite of that. So it's interesting some of our Sonar users, those analysts that use Sonar to predict intermodal changes, actually made much better calls than others recently. So I appreciate you kind of bringing up that sentiment of knowing where your data is coming from and understanding the context of that data, because I think that is huge.

Grace Sharkey: 7:13

And so back to kind of the state of things. I agree with everything that kind of came up in this. A lot of people expected, especially the end of March, beginning of April, to start to see things picking up a little bit. I mean we did see some positive movement, especially containers coming from China. I think that a little bit was more so Chinese New Year related, not so much this influx of overall consumer behavior, just overall consumer behavior. So I think I don't want to say it's read wrong, but you have to understand right kind of the context of those numbers as well. A lot of brokers have been telling me produce season hasn't been picking up like it should. Again, I always like to kind of look at those around me Whenever I want to kind of make a prediction of what's happening with the freight market or, even more so, what's happening possibly down the line, and so I actually kind of tend to. This is the stock out as a show that I do and my bounded disc will go check that out because we dive into this.

Grace Sharkey: 8:20

I like to jump into retail sales too, and the retail sales weren't positive. I like to jump into retail sales too, and the retail sales weren't positive, weren't that great for March, especially in categories where a truckload is important right, like we're down in electronics, we're down in furniture, we're down in outdoor garden type of materials, we're down in everything that moves heavily on trucks. Now there's some positives when it comes to kind of a small package type of goods. We all know that's consolidated. A lot of that goes to LTL, a lot of that's moving air freight wise right to these different hubs across the U? S. So I just don't see the positive trends that would lead to to over the road truckload freight and I'm I'm just extremely against seeing that turnaround anytime soon.

Grace Sharkey: 9:06

I the next thing that we a lot of times uh about america is that the american consumer can find ways to spend money. We all know that. But what money are they spending? I mean, the average uh tax return was a hundred dollars up from last year and let's all remember that a majority. A lot of retail surveys show that people were planning on putting their Christmas gifts on credit cards or layaways. We've got so many of these Klarna's and AfterPays and all these different systems that can kind of push out your personal cash flow out a couple of months, and I think that's catching up. People are putting money down back towards that. I think that's where a lot of those tax returns go to. So I don't think we're going to see this huge influx in spending. And on the summertime I mean summertime rolls around we start to see a little bit of it. More so, in in in uh, oil, gasoline, uh experiences probably experiences.

Grace Sharkey: 10:09

Yes, services, hotels, that kind of stuff. You'll see, of course, the influx for like hot dogs and stuff like that, right for like fourth of july and all that stuff. But again, I mean I I don't live in like a privileged area or anything like that. I actually kind of like hide myself away in the hood, to be honest with you, and I look around. I don't see new cars being bought around me. I don't see friends of mine looking to update their homes anytime soon. I see people trying to save anything or, you know, taking care of like these things here and there, or using some of these buy now, pay later plans and finding ways to keep their dollar extending out.

Grace Sharkey: 10:53

Again we're in the middle of an election.

Grace Sharkey: 10:56

I don't know why people get so positive around election seasons, especially one like this where there's so many different ways that this could go.

Grace Sharkey: 11:07

I mean I don't want to put preferences out there, but personally I think it's a toss up for either candidate and in that type of behavior, that type of maybe atmosphere, right, like people are going to hold back and figure out what happens and if there is a turnover of who's in that, in that seat leading the country, I mean, to be honest with you, on top of like if there's a turnover, and also like that individual can or cannot take the seat because they're going to jail or prison, like there's so many different things that are up in the air that I think people are kind of holding back.

Grace Sharkey: 11:46

So I mean I I was in brokerage during the last time that trump took over and there was big talks on tariffs as well and and what they wouldn't act after the new year. So, even if there is like a flip of of who's in the white house, I see that those couple of months near the end of the year that we would hope to see an influx in spending being kind of held in as people figure out what that administration would look like, and not just at, like a personal consumer level, but when it comes to, I mean, raw materials, where we're getting lumber from all that stuff too, all that stuff too. So I mean I'm I'm really at the point where I don't see anything insane happening with this market until, honestly, I'm pushing 2025 at this point, which is like crazy to kind of think about. Really right, because I was just about to say it feels like it just turned into 2024, where it's like actually like two months now.

Grace Sharkey: 12:44

It's gonna be halfway through so actually like a month, it'll be halfway through. So, uh, that's crazy. Christmas in july, I guess, but um, uh, so yeah, I I'm not too optimistic. I think again something that we talk about. Actually, I want to bring up an interesting statistic Truckstop brought up today in our owner-operator summit.

Grace Sharkey: 13:07

What I think could and I hate saying this, it's like the worst part of my job, thomas, and I laugh about this all the time because it's like awful to say what could help the market is if, like, hey, some of you carriers like, start running your businesses poorly more, like if more of you fall out of the market, right, if we see brokers and close their doors, we like we have, I mean that those trends are ending. If we see carriers start to fall out of the market more, that could be something that's not economic. It is economic related but it's not consumer related directly. Uh, that could maybe turn it around a little bit, right, because, clearly, because clearly, if capacity supply leaves the market, then that will change the way that rates are going in particular.

Grace Sharkey: 13:53

But do I just see demand coming out from somewhere? Crazy? No, not so much. Not right now. Now, and I think honestly, until probably the new year, until we figure out which way this election will go. I don't see it that changing anytime soon. And oh, the Trexap thing. I want to say even saying something like carriers right, if they continue to fall out of the market, like we've seen. Kendra brought up that they did a survey where only 9% not to say that they're completely wrong it's very optimistic, but 9% of carriers said that they felt like in the next I want to say it was 12 months're going to be out of business, right? So if the carrier stays as resilient as we're seeing the American consumer, then I'm calling 2025s at this point.

Blythe Brumleve: 14:53

Are you in freight sales with a book of business looking for a new home? Or perhaps you're a freight agent in need of a better partnership? These are the kinds of conversations we're exploring in our podcast interview series called the Freight Agent Trenches, sponsored by SPI Logistics. Now I can tell you all day that SPI is one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, who helps their agents with back office operations, such as admin, finance, it and sales. But I would much rather you hear it directly from SPI's freight agents themselves. Much rather you hear it directly from SBI's freight agents themselves. And what better way to do that than by listening to the experienced freight agents tell their stories behind the how and the why they joined SBI? Hit the freight agent link in our show notes to listen to these conversations or, if you're ready to make the jump, visit spi3plcom. And that's just in relation to that. There was a really great question, because you know, obviously they they have their normal talking points that that Craig and Zach are going to go through, but then at the end they start taking questions, and there was one really good question that said why are elections so detrimental to the freight market? And it was a lot of the same things that you were saying.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:01

I think, from a policy standpoint, you know, not much is going to change if Biden remains in. I think, from a policy standpoint, not much is going to change if Biden remains in office. But from a Trump standpoint, you really have no idea what's going to happen with the tariff situation, especially with respect to China. But China is kind of getting around that by just shipping a lot of these goods over to Mexico. So are we going to see tariffs added to Mexican-based shipments from China, and so it shipping a lot of these goods over to Mexico. So are we going to see tariffs added to, you know, mexican based shipments from China, and so it's a lot of these different factors that we're not. We just don't know yet. But what's also interesting is that retail planners are going through right now. Right now is when they're making their purchasing and planning and product decisions for a holiday season that is going to be dramatically impacted by whoever wins or the sitting party is not kept in office.

Blythe Brumleve: 16:53

I have just anecdotally, there's a podcast that I was listening to. He was a military contractor and he said that if he only chooses to take a job as far as like a military contractor is concerned. If a Republican is in office, because he knows that he's going to get the bull like it's very simple, like bullets, he knows that he's not going to be stifled in that regard, that he's going to have enough bullets to be able to you know, such as American thing to say but he's going to have enough bullets to get the job done. Whereas if he, if there was a Democrat in office, then he would not take those military contracting jobs because he would be putting himself in harm's way because he wouldn't have the necessary supplies to do the job. So I thought that that was really interesting and I would imagine that that's how a lot of people feel about the upcoming election that they're just, they just don't know what's going to happen. And I think that this is kind of my first real election that I don't know what's going to happen.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:50

I don't know if Biden can survive another six months. I don't know that he's necessarily. I probably shouldn't go down this road with my political commentary, but I don't necessarily think that he's all. It's not shocking to say that he's obviously experiencing cognitive difficulties and challenges that are only going to get worse If you've had any family members that have dealt with those kind of issues. You know that they don't get better with age.

Blythe Brumleve: 18:26

Strongest country in the world, that's not all the way there. That is not a good sign. So it could just be a situation where we have the powers that be that are pulling the puppet strings and making the decisions from a corporate standpoint, from just a Congress standpoint. So I think that there's all of those different variables that are at play With I don't, with all that said, I don't know that Biden getting reelected is going to change much unless he dies, um, and that will change a shit ton, um, if Trump gets elected, god, I I have. I just have no idea, and I don't even know that I want to like. I think, honestly, it's. It's interesting too, cause it's like I want to like.

Grace Sharkey: 19:02

I think honestly it's. It's interesting too, cause it's like with the Biden side of it, like I don't think that much would positively change, and I don't mean that as in like he, he can't, but you can't. You can't control the market in that type of way, right? Especially the interest rates aspects, like where the consumer is holding on, and so it's it's difficult to like say what even buying can do. I think the trump side is more concerned on like tariffs, right, and where trade would return a little bit and where our goods would come from, and so then you have all the buyers holding off.

Grace Sharkey: 19:44

Like the last time that we had those issues with the tariffs, I worked in brokerage a lot with like raw materials and like a lot of steel and aluminum manufacturers, and a lot of them would just sit there and like we don't even, we're basically not working for the next three months because we don't know who we could even buy from three months from now. If he takes office and says, hey, we are adding tariffs to to this uh country or manufacturer, like we're gonna have to completely change the way that we're buying, so it's like it's literally up in the air, and so I think that's like what's concerning is like. Not only is it like who will win, that's concerning, but like both of them don't. One could greatly change the buying habits of uh producers here in the united states and and the other one is kind of riding the wave that they've already been stuck on this whole time and there's not much that goes into that too.

Blythe Brumleve: 20:42

There was another aspect of the talk that they covered, and they basically said that if Trump is elected, so they have a plan A where you know, if Biden is elected, then not much changes, but if Trump is elected, then these tariffs will likely come back into play. And so what these you know big retailers and shippers are doing is that they're setting up options for staging in other countries. So they're staging their products that they would need access to, maybe in Canada, other parts of the Central and South America. They could be staging their products there to avoid the Chinese tariffs and then also a potential tariff on tariffs on Mexico. And so there's all of these different people say like, oh, I hate politics, I don't want to pay attention to it, but it just affects so much of your life that you don't really know it that the purchasing decisions are being made specifically based on who was elected to the highest office, and that is just an incredible sort of just ripple effect throughout the entire economy. So it is just an incredible sort of just ripple effect throughout the entire economy. So it is a really fascinating discussion. Now you can't really. We're saying we're going to make Q2 predictions, but we're looking at like Q3 and Q4 and even Q1 of next year, and so it just complicates things from just an overall planning perspective. Zach did say, though, that the shippers' demand planning is showing that they're pretty bullish on demand staying strong.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:09

So, however, consumers of the American variety are paying for these things. Maybe they're just getting into more and more debt. I think that remains to be seen. Well, not remains to be seen. We already know that, like credit card debt has hit record numbers, but I don't know the context of those numbers. Where it's just. Are we hitting records because more and more people than ever have access to a credit card, or is it more and more people are maxing out their credit cards?

Blythe Brumleve: 22:34

I don't know the extent of that data, but I do know that we have hit record amounts of credit card consumer debt. But then also, the government is something crazy. Like 1 trillion a day is what we're paying in interest rates now because we're so in debt, and so that is just. You know that the fiscal responsibility of both parties has just been abysmal. You know Trump and Biden are both big spenders. You know, contrary to popular belief, where people think that, you know if a Republican has an office, that we're going to be a little bit more conservative with the budget. That's just not the case with these two particular candidates, and so it is going to be really interesting to see how the the market adapts to god. I just I'm thinking of like social media too, like it's just going to be such a nightmare over the next few months I will say this actually came out today.

Grace Sharkey: 23:25

Act Research is saying I can actually just read this freight demand is nearing an upturn as growing goods spending a turning inventory cycle, which I will say is a big thing. I think that the inventory aspect will be a big one. I think that's why we're seeing an uptick right and pricing for containers that likely will push an upturn for the next couple of months. But what type of upturn that looks like, I think, remains kind of unseen. Is it going to be something that takes us back? Is this kind of a new normal that we're seeing? Now? We'll see a light uptick. Are we talking returns where the carriers it has as much power, or at least a more equal powering between shippers and carriers, and that I don't think that we're anywhere near. And even in the number of brokers that we see in the market, right, that's starting to dwindle out as well. So, yes, just because we're in the market, right, that's starting to dwindle out as well. So, yeah, just because we're seeing like, maybe something positive in the economy doesn't always mean it's going to come over into the freight side of things in a positive manner, right, it's the one thing I will say, and I think this gets brought up as well in the state of freight is, if you are a logistics provider out there, boy, if you aren't thinking about how you're working to provide cross-border freight options for your customers, like call yourself dead. So I think that's. That's a big one.

Grace Sharkey: 24:56

And when we talk about especially a lot of what I cover and investment in this industry I think that's going to be a hot topic over the next couple of years is not only like how that cargo is crossing the border, I think how it officially is crossing the border. Mexico was supposed to have this, I think past month a whole new system for entering into customs. Now it just got pushed back because the system wasn't 100% ready. But that's going to push a lot of, I think, technology providers to consider how they can help with those processes. You have companies like Solvento who are helping Mexico carriers with their cash flow needs. So I think we're going to see a lot more of that type of investment over the next. So there's areas to make money right in this industry. You just have to be a little bit more strategic about how you're moving with economic changes as well.

Blythe Brumleve: 25:56

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Blythe Brumleve: 26:41

Well said, and I think, as we sort of talk about how you're readjusting your businesses in a down market I'm not saying most companies, but you probably have access to a little bit more free time where you can think about what does your tech stack look like? Are you overspending in that regard? Are there processes that you could be optimizing to do things a little bit better? Where maybe you could use some of these AI tools? Loadpartner, happyrobot I've had interviews both with those companies recently and it feels like the technology is there to start coming onto the scene and start getting rid of these low value tasks.

Blythe Brumleve: 27:23

Another aspect that I think and this is a good way to shift to our next topic is talking about exactly like what shippers want from a marketing and sales perspective. There are so many brokers and carriers that are still relying on the spray and pray method and, just based on the conversations that I have, based on technology evolutions, that is just not the way to do it anymore and there is, you know that, a lot. I've had a lot of conversations with shippers on the podcast, so I'm I'm I'm happy to share some of their like sort of anecdotal advice. Um, but just you know early thoughts about, you know how brokers and carriers are handling their marketing and sales.

Grace Sharkey: 28:06

Yeah, it's said, produce season, I think, is starting to affect some of them. They're not seeing those numbers come over as frequently. So those who are a little positioned more into that category are kind of like, hey, now I will say a lot of like that too, especially here in michigan. Right depends on if it's still snowing, like we can't dig it, if it's still frozen in the ground, we can't dig out a lot of those products. So we'll maybe see some of that, I think. Turnovers it starts to get warmer as well, um, and of course, like melon season, all that stuff is upon us. So we'll see a little bit more than that.

Grace Sharkey: 28:39

But yeah, you, you've, I think we're seeing like more, more of a, like you said, a strategic approach to how you're entering or brokering within the space, whether that's some special aspect that brings carriers together, maybe some type of platform. You are a little bit more specialized in some type of area. But, man, to imagine being like a spot broker right now would be crazy and I think for all those out there like I can't imagine, just afraid, like if you are that type of brokerage right now that doesn't have strong carrier relations, that's just kind of living it off the spot board, like you are competing with so many people over one truck, over one shipment, over a lane and just like cutting your margins so deep that you know we talked about the transport. Kevin hill and I were on the radio and we're talking about the transport topics list that came out. It was very interesting because there's you can see these big brokers who are really starting to offer more of like a. It's like interesting. It's almost like a, I'd say like a managed services approach without having to sign on that dotted line but have better technology stacks. Who are likely now at that point where they can that investment technology. They can kind of pass on that margin to the customer and bring costs down. They can kind of pass on that margin to the customer and bring costs down Like they're grabbing a good share of the overall market Whereas like, if you look closer to like the bottom hundred of the list, a lot of them of course were like falling in revenue where the tops were just like really soaking it in.

Grace Sharkey: 30:20

So I think talk about like M&A or I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing some mergers, acquisitions because of that here soon, if we start to see carriers and brokers starting to acquire each other as well. So it's going to be an interesting time. I think we're going to see. I mean, if you're going to purchase a brokerage right now, I can't think of a better time to to probably go about having that discussion and getting the price that you want as well. So we'll see who ends up taking taking those bites. But it was interesting. I was just like going through that list and notice like, okay, those closer to like the 100 spots Some of them saw less revenue coming in than before, maybe moved a spot or two because of it, but it was very interesting to see some of those top players what they're able to soak up and take over during this time.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:14

Well, they can handle the, I guess, playing in those different battlefields of the spot market, and you know what is that saying? Like the best freight never makes it to the load boards. And so you know, I don't want to be like all sort of doom and gloom on on this show, cause it is um, there are some definite bright spots where people can make that action happen. I think you know. So what I really wanted to hammer home is that using different technology to your advantage is absolutely a benefit, but you have to figure out where it fits into your overall goals as a company. And I know that that just sounds like such a duh moment, but we still have it.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:55

There's a gentleman I'm sure most people know him, matt Dahl who used to work in brokerage. He had a podcast for a little while. He's moved on to the shipper side and he's done so pretty recently, but he started sharing a lot of insight as to what he's dealing with from just brokers cold emailing, cold calling One of them. Let me pull up a couple here because one of them I actually faced this same issue back when I worked at a brokerage because we had a major deal or we had one of our freight brokers. She was working on a major contact with Pepsi and she had contacted them. They had a great relationship. It looked like they were about to start moving freight together. Like they were about to start moving freight together and then all of a sudden there are other brokers in the office that start reaching out to Pepsi too and Pepsi is saying, went back to her and is like if y'all don't know what's going on in your own building, then how am I supposed to trust you with my freight?

Blythe Brumleve: 32:59

And Matt on the shipper side now he says that it's happened to him several times where multiple brokers where he's already doing business with this brokerage and he's getting cold called from other brokers trying to get the freight. And it's just these dumb, stupid mistakes that brokers are making that are costing you business and it's costing you trustworthiness. And he's been dropping a lot of gems, and that was one that really stood out to business and it's costing you trustworthiness and he's been dropping a you know a lot of gems and that was one that really stood out to me because it's still a freaking problem that brokers don't want to use a damn CRM, they don't want to communicate with each other and it drives me up the wall, and I could go on and on about this. But, jesus Christ, use a CRM like communicate with your team.

Grace Sharkey: 33:43

Well, well, and this actually, I think, goes back to a little bit of the incentivizing aspect of of like, how are you, how are you incentivizing your reps like to to go after Frey? I mean, if they're seeing, if it's like, hey, this is open, ready to go, go for it, whoever gets it gets it, then that's awful leadership and clearly it's turning that point. I think a lot of the brokers look at it more so as well. If all of you are going after it, like our chances are higher, that's fucking crazy. I forgot what show I was on. That's crazy. Like to think that you I've seen this happen in real life before and I and I, and I hear, I hear you sales guys out there saying, okay, well, you know, if we, how many, if you shoot that many darts at a board, you know one's bound to to land not in this environment, right?

Blythe Brumleve: 34:41

and I just think it makes you look sloppy yeah, yeah, it's really bad.

Blythe Brumleve: 34:46

And if you're watching the video, I'll sort of read one of his tweets that Matt had In a very related note. Matt says don't lie. Yesterday I sent three quotes to a three-letter broker. He said their systems were down. I said isn't there like seven other ways to quote? And then he said oh, I forgot, you were an ex broker.

Blythe Brumleve: 35:04

Usually we just tell customers our system is down instead of saying my internet is slow at home and so little things like this that it ruins your credibility with the lying and with you know going back and you know trying to steal a customer from one of your coworkers, like that kind of shit drives me up a wall where you could just be somebody with integrity and not lie and just provide good service, communicate with your team and have a reward structure that everybody benefits from, so you don't have this situation where people are competing for peanuts and ultimately you're ruining the trust and credibility of your organization the trust and credibility of your organization. So I'd be willing to bet that for a lot of those brokerages that have seen their revenue fall, I would be willing to bet that they're following a lot of these very similar, very annoying, sometimes shady practices that just you're not going to survive in a market like this, using those same, similar actions.

Grace Sharkey: 36:00

Yeah, and I at one. Do you have the ability to even like find out that this is happening? It's you know how are you using your phone system to make sure that people are doing their jobs correctly in that way? There's as an operations person in my past. There's so many follow up questions. I have to stuff like that too, where it's like you might have built your sales system to behave like that. And again we talk about change management. Imagine trying to break that down and fix that. It's a disaster.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:34

There's another tweet that.

Blythe Brumleve: 36:35

I brought up, which is the one that kind of got me all fired up about this. And Matt says we have a broker that I inherited and I swear each week I get another email or call from a different rep there Check your DMS, we are already a customer and he says it's very annoying. And then there's. You know, the great thing about you know X and you know posting to Twitter and things like that is that you can be a little bit more blunt. You can be a little bit more some would say rude. I don't think that you know stuff like this is rude. I Some would say rude. I don't think that stuff like this is rude. I just think it's facts and I think for a lot of brokerages they've been so stuck in dealing in the same things that they've always done that they refuse to adapt and they refuse to adjust to what shippers are actually telling you that they want.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:20

I interviewed a Rust Belt kid a few weeks ago. He's a shipper. He has a company that he works for called Gator Bar. He talked about how the carriers that he does business with right now and that he uses about a handful of them that three of them stopped in his office and introduce themselves. And he still does business with two of them to this day, because the carrier stopped over, walked into the office and shook his hand and introduced himself and I thought what a novelty that instead of downloading however many contacts from Zoom info and then mass emailing out to everyone, it just those kinds of things, they can be sniffed out a mile away.

Blythe Brumleve: 38:07

And to add on to that, there's also been shipper panels that I have been in the audience of and the shippers are on stage and they're like we know when you're sending us a templated email because the font color and the size is different than a regular, normal email. So Outlook, gmail, all of these different sort of enterprise level email companies, they know that that's a templated email that you're sending from HubSpot, that you're sending from some random tool that you're using and you're just copying and pasting. They can tell by the font color and the font choice that this is a templated email and they immediately will just delete it. And so just do the unscalable. That's what I think that more brokers, carriers, they need to invest in, especially in times like this. Put a face to a name, show up to your chamber of commerce meetings, show up to different networking meetings around town. Do the unscalable. Write a handwritten note. Write a handwritten note.

Grace Sharkey: 39:05

Write a handwritten letter or your small business association meeting. Be creative about it, a thousand percent.

Blythe Brumleve: 39:15

This kind of stuff drives me insane because if you just took an extra 10 minutes and did a little research, that you would be ruining my you know my friend's big deal that she was going to be able to capitalize on, because another you know broker that's in the office that had a couple of big books of business comes in and wants to be a little bit macho about it and take this customer away from another female broker, I might add um take it away from her and then everybody ends up losing the company, the people because you couldn't, you know, just be a good team member, that you couldn't be a good co-worker and you couldn't check the damn crm just so good, trying to think if that like ever happened to me too.

Grace Sharkey: 40:01

When I was in, see, I was in brokerage but quickly like got into management. So it was like difficult to say if that happened, but it would happen between reps here and there, and you know it's. It's interesting because I think even more so, you know, I actually even bring up a point that kind of coincides with that. I imagine. Imagine how that is also happening possibly on like the carrier sales side of things. Right, where you have and I think this is a big reason why companies are trying to automate the carrier selection a little bit more like you find a carrier who can take a load from, uh, let's say, throw towns up there lansing, michigan, michigan, to Detroit, michigan, right, and the company is going to make 50 bucks off that loan, but then you find out that there's another load by a different carrier rep out there that that carrier could also took that one from Lansing, michigan to Toledo. That would have made the company $150, right, like, where's the incentive to find those situations in these times? Right, and think about how often maybe that's happening behind the scenes too at your businesses. Like that's where it's. Again, I think goes back to incentivizing like how are you paying these people for those roles If they're different goals out there? Besides, just like adding a new shipment to to the page, like that, that might change it a little bit.

Grace Sharkey: 41:31

The sales side, I think, is harder to to adjust to that a little bit differently. I mean, clearly, if the rep isn't following the rules in the crm or like the sales rules provided, that could be huge. But you know, again, we're talking about the, the market and where it's going. I mean, hopefully there's brokers out there listening, leaders out there in the space, like we're. Just these are two different areas that you could spend trying to figure out how your operations are hurting or helping you in these spots and when your margins are falling off a cliff, and not just at a regular brokerage, but even Jamie Hunt and a number of other ones that are really, really struggling right now like this. Please take the time to look into those different processes and how you could be hurting yourself internally, because you can't afford to have that happen right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:25

And in my experience working at a couple of different brokerages, when these miscommunications would happen internally, it was typically a situation where the sales guys are commission-based and so the way that they're going to get paid is based off the straight commission and so when you have that incentive structure, it makes them want to steal a customer from their, their coworker that is getting, you know, a salaried role, versus you know, a sales guy that's just getting a commission based role.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:55

And then there's also situations where if you have, say, a really stellar, you know, upper echelon sort of sales guy or girl that is working for your company, first of all thank your lucky stars. But then, second of all, put in, put the infrastructure in place, because, especially with non competes now you can't, you know, have the you know non compete issue is from them moving from one customer to another. These companies are definitely going to have to get better about how they treat employees. That's another caveat. But if you have some of those upper echelon, you know, sales leaders and things like that, put a system in place that an assistant or an administrative professional can go in and help them document the CRM.

Blythe Brumleve: 43:38

If they had you know X amount of meetings that day. Then that administrative professional is going in and updating the CRM with that particular information so that salesman can be or saleswoman can be much more proficient and much more efficient at their job without having to worry about updating the stupid CRM. Because I get it, updating it sucks Like you wish it was a little bit more of an automated process, but frankly it's just not. But these mistakes can cost you in the long run, from a trust perspective, from just a hey, do you even know what's going on inside your own building? How are you going to manage my freight if you don't know what the hell's going on inside your own building? And so, tightening up these things. This is the time to do it Look at what works, look at what doesn't and fix what doesn't. It's not rocket science, but it does take time, and if you do invest that time, then it could save you and possibly earn you more revenue in more ways than one. So that's my soapbox for today is just invest in the unscalable things, because in the world of AI and automations and tech and all, it's going to be the ones that focus on the customer value, the customer relationship, the genuine relationship. Those are going to be the people that win. In an automated world, where I could download an email list off of Zoom Info and send a thousand emails in a day, and Gmail and Outlook they do nothing and look the other way. Gmail and Outlook they do nothing and look the other way. So it's just trying to stand out from the pack. Just invest and think about some of these other ways that are a little bit not scalable.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:13

I have a magazine here, too, that this is another good example of doing things that aren't necessarily scalable. This magazine comes from Hoplite and it's basically a brochure, but it looks like a magazine. It has information that comes from the founders of the company their story. I got this at Manifest and I still keep it on my desk because I'm like this is so smart.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:34

Everybody has brochures, everybody has pamphlets and things like that. They were using this as a business card, and then they also had different marketing promos If you scan this and they'll send you a free Yeti mug, so you don't have to, you know, worry about taking that home in your suitcase or whatever. I just thought that that was a really smart approach to just doing something that isn't necessarily scalable, where you have a conversation with someone and then you pass them this magazine so that they can read it later on and I still have it on my desk, you know, five months later. So little things like that, that, I think, go a long way that not a lot of people are prioritizing or more businesses, I should say, should prioritize.

Grace Sharkey: 46:13

Yeah, completely agree. The relationship one, I think, is a huge one too, and the guy was. As a sales rep was always. My notes were, of course, like what they're shipping, but also like things about those people, because at the end of the day, uh, especially if it's like a company that should be shipping, you know that will turn around at some point. And who are they likely going to give that freight to? Are they going to give it to the guy who just calls and says, oh, no freight today, well, I'll call you back next week. Or the person who remembers it's your birthday and called it was the first person to tell you happy birthday that day, right? So think about the relationship right now, because I think that's going to pay off much dividends right In the future too.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:56

Yeah, great point. And just to put the little cherry on top of that, we've been talking about the market downturn and things like that. But wouldn't you rather, from a business perspective, address a lot of these complexities and bottlenecks now? So then that way, when the market does turn around, you can get on that rocket ship of growth, and I think that that's that's sort of the mindset that I would preach to other companies. You know, just to kind of wrap that up and put a nice little bow on it before we move into much maybe happier segments. All right, next up we are going to be talking about our favorite business ideas or hustles going on in freight right now. I've got a pretty fun one. Do you want to go first, or do you want me to go first?

Grace Sharkey: 47:43

I can go first because it's funny, because I think we're both going to get a little bit AI focused on this conversation based on our notes. So, for all you haters out there who think AI doesn't exist maybe it does, maybe it doesn't You'll find out a little bit here. Might I want to talk about, actually, something I've been writing about a little bit recently. There was a company that a couple weeks ago I talked about a raise that they had a raise $17 million in March. It's a company called Gather AI and what I think is really cool is this is a company that uses drones, computer vision from those drones to offer inventory management solutions for warehouses. So, again, taking a giant warehouse and being able to send a drone out to read every item, take inventory, take all that data, bring it back to managers and figure out not only one that that count is right, right, but also to find space available uh for you know, future, uh shipments or future products in a warehouse as well.

Grace Sharkey: 48:52

And uh, I have I think I have a video that I I sent over to you to uh the first one. Well, actually don't do the second, let's do the second video on there first. Yeah, it shouldn't be too long. It should give you an idea of exactly how this technology works. It's very simple, but it showcases exactly how much I think efficiency this could bring to a regular warehouse. Thank you, thank you, I don't know, so I mean. First of all, I want to say, if I was working in a warehouse, how cool would this tech be to like I and drones are?

Blythe Brumleve: 50:49

taking over like this is. I mean, I've I've been uh reading and watching like some youtube videos. You know, uh, you know we've talked about um, a couple different manufacturers on the show before but drones are single-handedly impacting war, on how war is conducted, where military budgets are being spent, because you have, like Sal Mercogliano he, he, um was on recently and you know, he the host of what's going on with shipping and he mentioned that um with the United States, the way that they spend their money on military expenses that you have these other governments that can have like a $200 drone that can essentially do a lot of damage, and so you have all these big military expenditures that are having to readjust because of drones. And then now you have the extra, I guess, sort of benefit of how drones could be used domestically in a non-conflict environment.

Blythe Brumleve: 51:44

A warehouse is something I never really thought of and that's pretty ingenious that they could be deployed. But it makes a ton of sense, like as I was watching that video and seeing these, if you're just listening to it. It's just a couple of sort of, I guess, normal looking drones, as normal as I've seen, that they just fly around these different rows of the warehouse and they're just gathering information. I guess hit to their name Gather AI, so this is really awesome to watch. You've done a story on this.

Grace Sharkey: 52:13

Yeah, I've talked to them a few times, so they just raised, like I said, $17 million last month. They have huge customers as well, ones you've definitely heard of NFI, dsv, a lot of logistics providers in particular Geodis, specialty Foods, dpi Specialty Foods, wagner Logistics, to name a few and I just think it's an interesting way that, like you said, consider how to use drones. I see more of these big headlines for drone delivery. Right, the problem with drone delivery is there's the FFA or FAA, whatever regulatory issues that you have to deal with, but this you can easily deploy regulatory issues that you have to deal with, but this you can easily deploy uh, it's.

Grace Sharkey: 53:03

I want to actually show the second video too, because you actually get to see people who are working with the drones and it's like fun for people of all ages and it's like such a helpful thing for safety. I mean, if you're listening to this podcast, you didn't see the video, but some of these aisles that these drones are flying through to take numbers are like I'm talking like stories of shelves and like you're saying, like you don't have to get a forklift now, you don't have to worry about climbing up there to like find this missing pallet. Uh, you can actually just deploy these guys and they'll they'll find it perfectly for you. This is it. Well, finding a lost pallet. I think this one is pretty helpful too, and this is coming from people using this every day within their warehouse. Thank you, which I think that's talk about like. I think like an ltl situation, right, like being able to scan what's in there anytime. We all know, like if you have an ltl product and it goes missing, like you might as well start the uh insurance claim now because you're never finding it. But this is like not only if you again are listening and didn't see the video, not only can you go back and look at all of the videos that Gather AI had already captured or gathered. Then you can tell yourself, okay, well, the last time we saw this piece, it was like they said between bays 175 and 185. Then refly the drone through there. Imagine how much time that would take for a human to go through every single one of those shelves within 10 bays. Right, like it'd be impossible. That's why so many I think so many companies just say tell them it's gone, because by the time that you like deploy manual labor to find it, it's like not even worth their time, so we're better off just like writing you a check for your lost freight. Well now it's like no, we know it's somewhere in between these four. Let's send the drone out. The drone will find it and it'll come back in a manner of, I would assume, minutes. The way this thing flies and reads everything, it's like a no-shit Sherlock type of deployment.

Grace Sharkey: 55:58

I think a lot of times people I mean I've even been skeptical of drone deliveries. I'm like why there's so many weather elements you have to deal with Weight restrictions. Weight restrictions right Like this. Why not use them for computer vision, which has been out and been used? I mean the technology that you're seeing or that we are talking about right now? None of this is new, it's just being deployed. We have a flying camera now that can actually do this. And one other thing, too, I want to say is this is changing a lot with the newer warehouses, but a lot of the warehouses in our space, especially for more remote areas, are old school AF.

Blythe Brumleve: 56:39

And so like there's's a lot of them are. Kevin Lawton of the new warehouse podcast, estimates that about 90, 90% of all warehouses do not have automation, do not have robotics.

Grace Sharkey: 56:50

Yeah. So this is something where you could, in any type of warehouse situation, be able to deploy instantly and not have to worry about do we have the electricity or wires run through this place to set up our own cameras for computer vision? It's like, no, just like, use this flying drone. And, like I said too, if you saw the last video, I mean we're talking about someone our age using it and also someone like closer to my mother's age.

Grace Sharkey: 57:17

You could easily use it and, again, it makes the job safer, more fun, like I think a lot of times when you talk about like, oh, go, get a job with amazon, I think people like really can are like oh, wow, I'm just gonna be like fetching boxes all day. It's like you might be playing with drones all day, right, dude. So I like it, I think it's cool. I think it's like when I was talking with them, it's like yeah, yeah, of course, and they're one of gathering eyes, actually one of the bigger companies that's actually providing this technology out there too. So I think safety on time, reducing costs, accuracy.

Blythe Brumleve: 57:55

The investment is so much lower than you know a traditional sort of automation input or robotics investment. Get a few drones and then map it to. You know this specific software which you know. Obviously they have a cost involved too, but it seems like a no brainer.

Grace Sharkey: 58:11

Yeah, and then also I'm just like in my head thinking of, like you know, counting inventory for, you know, hazmat material. Oh true, not having to like send a human in there to like to do any of that. Like the safety. I think safety right Is a big, big part of this too, or even even more so like a refrigerated warehouse scene right when it's like you, or foods of that nature, like you want to. Yeah, you want to avoid any outside risk. Why not just deploy a drone in there to to do cow and get it out of there? It's you have to worry about a human actually opening the wrong box or doing something stupid, right?

Blythe Brumleve: 58:52

when I I was a cashier at costco when I was um like 18 to 20 and we would have inventory inventory night once every six months and it was everyone who worked for Costco. You were working that night and everybody had their assigned section and you had to go in and manually count all of the products that were on the shelves inside of your particular section. And this was all manual work and we had to see that it matched up against the systems. If it didn't match up against the systems, we had to see there's a system wrong. Is the person wrong? It was just a inventory night was just another beast, and so if you could have a system like this, you could just deploy it and you wouldn't have to have sort of an all hands on deck Like everybody do manual counting, cause anytime you do it manually they're going to increase, for errors is just astronomical.

Blythe Brumleve: 59:42

So um, yeah well, thanks for bringing that um because I've heard of this company but I didn't know what they actually. You know, I I would have just assumed they do some kind of like you know ai, you know wrap, something like that. Um, but no, that that's really cool, that's a, that's a good one yeah, wow, yours is good.

Grace Sharkey: 1:00:00

A good one too. You got some good ones. I'm glad that you chose some of these.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:00:04

Earlier, so I'm not going to mention them again, and I was going to go a little bit more in depth with Happy Robot and Code Partner, which is the AI phone calling service which, if you haven't watched, especially our interview with Pablo over at Happy Robot, the calls or the voice plays or the voice calls that they are replicating sound so human. It is unbelievable, to the point where it's not just the fact of the person that you're talking to sounds normal uses, normal vernacular sounds, like you're talking to a real person, but also the background noise. You can hear phones ringing, you can hear shuffling, other people talking. Can't hear them clearly, but it sounds like that AI voice is calling from inside an office. So it's super cool.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:00:54

Definitely, garrett over at Load Partner is doing really, really cool things with just automating sort of the annoying check calls and things like that. But he's, you know, he's very. Both Garrett and Pablo are very invested in, you know, creating legitimate AI businesses that don't. It's not just a wrapper that you're essentially just taking ChatGPT and just throwing your own spin on it Like. These businesses are being developed for the long run. But I'm not going to talk about them because I found another kind of really cool one as I was.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:01:27

If you want to listen to those interviews, I'll link it in the show notes. There's a full discussion on that, but there and preps for the source to porch segment, which you know. A little bit of a spoiler alert, I'm covering snacks.

Grace Sharkey: 1:01:45

Yeah, and that's all of the notes I saw for it too.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:01:46

So it's like I'm hungry and I have no idea what she's about to talk about. Well, you're about to be much more hungry. So there's a ton of innovation that has gone on in the manufacturing process when it comes to snacks. So I'll get into that a little bit later on. But one of the ways that companies are planning their manufacturing and digital twin technology is with a game called Factorio, and it's basically a factory building system. It looks like a little mobile game, yes, but you're building factories and your own supply chain, and this is how some warehouses, some manufacturers, are testing new concepts.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:02:26

New ideas is by using this game. It was developed in, I think, 2000. Hold on, let me let me bring up my notes for it, but it was developed in the spring of 2012. So I'm going to play a little video here for a second and I'm going to do some talking over it, just so, because it's just like a game advertisement, but it's very much is like Sims based level here. Let me make this screen a little bit bigger. Actually, that's not what I wanted to do. There we go Okay, full size, so I'm going to play I wanted to do there we go Okay, full size. So I'm going to play this video and I'll talk over it. But the game is called Factorio. It's a game in which you build and maintain factories. You will be mining resources. Oh Jesus, let me start the video over again. Now we're going to play my first video. Oh, okay, okay, let's start this over all right back tomorrow is a game in which you build.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:03:26

Oh, my god hitting production and fighting enemies. Using your imagination to design your factory, combine simple elements into ingenious structures, apply management skills to keep it working and protect it from the creatures who really don't like you. The game is very stable and optimized for building massive factories. You can create your own maps, write mods in Lua or play with friends via multiplayer. So it's kind of like a Steam game. You can also buy it from their shop on Factoriocom, but the video is just. I mean, it's kind of incredible. There's a lot of moving parts.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:04:05

It looks like a typical sort of I don't know one of those like League of Legends type games that you see major manufacturers, major shippers that are using this game to create a digital twin of their manufacturing facilities in order to see if they can make snacks faster and get them out to people much more quickly. So this is why I did sort of you know, the last minute I called an audible on this one. Audible on this one. Obviously you don't have to deal with, like giant cockroaches or you know, any kind of bugs like, or maybe you do, I guess, depending on the kind of snacks and the kind of sanitary conditions within your facility. But it's just a really cool thought process to know that I could use a game like this and build up my own infrastructure and my own factories in order to test an idea, and I just I think it's super cool. They even have drones in it. Look at there. Obviously not the nice drones, but yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 1:05:08

I'm on their website now and I'm like Because I want to play this game. According to a Reddit user, no other game in the history of gaming Handles the logistics side of management simulators so perfectly. Wow, that's crazy.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:05:23

Even the website looks like it was built in the nineties. Immediately, I want to like build my own factory because of this, but it's just. It's really, really cool the fact that what did they say? Factora was in development in the spring of 2012 to the beginning of 2021. So far, we have 3.5 million people who have bought the game, and that is an insane number. 3.5 million people are out there building factories. So if you're looking for staffing solutions for the warehouses who can't find people to work at their facilities, maybe just purchase this off, zoom Info and find out who's been playing this damn game and then hire them and make them come into your office and make your processes much more efficient.

Grace Sharkey: 1:06:17

It's really cool. I mean, yeah, I'm just like looking through this and it's really cool. I mean, uh, yeah, I'm just like looking through this and it's for a low price of 35 dollars and the soundtrack price seven bucks. Uh, no, it is really cool. I mean it's, it's interesting like it'd be cool to like learn, like who has you know maybe learn from it, like what? What lessons they've learned from it? You know like kind of like the after effect of all of it. But it's interesting like.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:06:49

This was Ryan Harlan, who is the Director of Business Development at E-Tech, so he is he is responsible for helping. You know, other warehouses and manufacturing facilities adopt technology. You know that change management that we've kind of been talking about a lot in this episode. But he, he was the one that was on the odd lots episode, which I'll get to later on, but he was saying that manufacturers and shippers are using this game in order to test their different flavor offerings.

Grace Sharkey: 1:07:21

So when I get to the stacks part, I I'll talk more about it, but I I thought that that was, um, just such a cool thing that that's actually being used as a digital twin no, that is really cool, and uh, yeah, I can't wait to get to that part of it too, because I think grace already can't wait to play it I'm like gonna play it later.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:07:40

I guarantee it looks like, it's like I was gonna say you can buy it on nintendo switch too. So if you have a switch, you can get it for their that platform. Um, but steam is uh, playstation, I believe, and then I'm sure maybe they have some kind of a system where you can actually if I'm on the website right now, I can give you all the answer oh, a PC support as well. So that's cool. So, windows, mac, linux, yeah, so you can either get it on a Nintendo switch, you can play it in steam, or you can play it on your desktop device, which is super cool.

Grace Sharkey: 1:08:14

So yeah, so I need to be out for for Grace and Blythe's factories. That or I'm not willing to send it again.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:22

Gather AI to give us some warehouse robots Right, so crazy Up a notch, then we can. We can sell ad space on our, our factorial supply chains. Then we can have exclusive deals with different carriers.

Grace Sharkey: 1:08:38

That's exactly what I need to do in my free time is to start building fake factories in a made up world. Oh my goodness.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:08:48

It's not made well, technically made up, but you could program it If I, if I'm reading the documentation right, you could program it with your own sort of custom maps. So if you have a plot of land that you were looking at, uh, you know, maybe develop purchasing and you know building a facility on that, you could probably map it into how close I am to the interstate, uh, any rail lines that we can get hooked up with. Girl, listen, the wheels are turning. You should start like building railroads and shit oh my god, that's so funny.

Grace Sharkey: 1:09:17

I need to get the sims back. Oh my god, all right, you burn your warehouse down to the ground.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:09:23

Oh man yeah, that that's what we would need, like other, you know that's my problem with these type of games.

Grace Sharkey: 1:09:30

Is I just turning to? I get like a terrible god complex where I'm like, no, I'm gonna burn this whole place to the freaking ground. So I probably would not be the best person to research in regards to yeah, don't hire Grace as a plant manager.

Grace Sharkey: 1:09:45

That's for sure. Her warehouse has no windows, no ventilation and they're only moving chemicals in and out of that place. It doesn't seem like that. Yeah, no, I probably wouldn't be the best person to watch, just like laughing. I remember having like Roller Coaster Tycoon back in the day and like my favorite thing was that I would have no trash cans, so just like people would be puking all over the streets. It was like huh, psychopath.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:12

Yeah, that's right.

Grace Sharkey: 1:10:13

Yeah, that's what I mean, god. Conflicts would come in so fast that it wouldn't even be fun anymore. We learned not what to do with our warehouse because of your factory.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:24

Yeah, I mean, that is a very good use case. It could also be a situation where maybe they have like the data of everyone who had created something in there of like who not to hire.

Grace Sharkey: 1:10:35

We learned from Grace's warehouse that you can't have too many drones.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:10:38

You probably need different, too many drones. You probably need different types of drones. We could bring in Gather AI to keep track of our inventory, but then we would need to bring in some other kind of drone devices to just protect us from these giant bugs and these little slimy creatures that are also shown in the game, to protect us. Unless Gather AI wants to have another revenue stream, I think that that could be a a good solution that's like.

Grace Sharkey: 1:11:03

It's like who's watching the drones? Then you have to get the drones to watch the drones, I mean then what if they turn on you?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:09

then it's so be. Be nice to the drones, much very similar, very nice to like chat, gpt, and we say please and thank you. Uh, maybe we should have that same mentality when it comes to drones as well. Just say please and thank you, and then, when the apocalypse eventually happens, they'll save us.

Grace Sharkey: 1:11:27

I love that All right. Source to porch. Yes, do you want me to go first or do you want to continue on with your snacks?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:11:39

Well, I guess, yeah, it's very, very's very similar to the topic that I just brought up, because I found out about this company, because I was doing research on. Then I have a Lay's potato chip bag that is red, hot lobster flavor.

Grace Sharkey: 1:12:07

This is very good, by the way.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:12:09

So this is a Lay's chip variety that is available in China, and you can buy different Lay's varieties in different packs depending on the store that you're buying them from. Yes, yes, so it's snack time on the podcast. So this isn't just affecting Lay's, it's affecting Kit Kats, it's affecting almonds, it's affecting, like, popcorn and pretzels. There's sort of a what Odd Lots called it, the golden age of snacks, and I'll go into the Odd Lots episode in just a second. But you might have been wondering well, where did these sort of different flavor varieties, where did they start coming from? Well, it happens when the US-based companies are trying to expand overseas, and so when they're trying to expand overseas, they just kind of assume that the most popular flavors in the U? S would translate to other countries. Not the case at all. So you have to develop tape.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:07

This is very similar to what like, uh, like McDonald's or KFC. Um, they have their couple staple items that are available globally, but they tend to cater the menu overall to the country that they're in. And so, because of this, kit Kat was well, I guess, historically it really started with soda. So the different flavorings of soda, because in the manufacturing line, the soda can just be a situation where you have the regular flavoring and then you add in like a specialty flavoring at the end. So Cherry Coke is a perfect example. You're going to have your regular Coke manufacturing line and then you're going to have a little bit of a process tweak at the end where you have the cherry that's added in to give you Cherry Coke.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:13:49

So Kit Kats have started following suit. Other snack brands have started following suit, and so when they debut in different countries, they have all of these different flavors, which is just incredible to see. Japanese Kit Kats are insane. They have 300 flavors available of Kit Kats. That is absolutely insane. And so reading from Wikipedia here says Nestle attributes the success of flavor varieties to the tradition of Amayage. Did I say that right? Yeah, uh, oh my gosh, oh my, is that?

Grace Sharkey: 1:14:25

oh, my, yeah, I don't know, I have to see the word oh o-m-i-y-a-g-e homage.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:14:32

That's probably. That's probably right, that's I've actually never spelled that word out, so that sounds like a word yeah we're learning here, we're learning together, so I'll start over we're learning together, yeah. Nestle attributes the success what?

Grace Sharkey: 1:14:45

time. Is it right now?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:14:48

All right. Nestle attributes the success of a variety of flavors to the tradition of homage, which is regional specialties that are brought back for family and coworkers from trips away. So meaning that someone goes on a trip out of town, they bring you back some different snacks and it's supposed to be like a sentimental value. The company believes that the limited edition seasonal models create a scarcity and rarity of value for their customers, and the business model was created to solve the problem that the company found in Japanese convenience stores, which frequently rotated items and flavors off of its shelves. By producing smaller runs of flavors, the company was able to control its production costs and was also economically viable in Japan, because there is no initial product fee for listing new products in Japanese convenience stores, which is another aspect that I didn't know. But it makes sense because platforms like eBay, Etsy, Amazon they charge you a listing fee to put a product on their platform.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:15:47

So in Japan they have more than 300 flavors. A Redditor actually said in Japan people often buy Kit Kats to encourage people who are taking exams, interviewing for a job, etc. That's because in Japan or in Japanese, the name sounds vaguely like the phrase kitokatsu, meaning you'll definitely win. Grace used to live in Japan. For folks who may not be aware, so that's why I'm throwing all these words by her, to get the additional verification. And then, lastly, they say that this has created a uniquely huge market for Japan, where seasonal flavors and local specialties are often very important, and these factors combine to make a huge variety of Kit Kats. And they also want to cater to more adult tastes. So I thought that that was super interesting. So Kit Kat, in particular Creamy Kit Kat, is so freaking good. There's like matcha flavors.

Grace Sharkey: 1:16:43

There's all these different I mean 300 flavors there's so matcha flavors, there's all these different, I mean 300 flavors.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:16:47

There's so many different varieties. I'm trying to see if I can bring up a bigger image here. If you're looking at this image, it's an entire aisle of different flavors of Kit Kats and I would tell you the flavors if I knew what they were.

Grace Sharkey: 1:16:59

I think I see a sign for looks like wasabi Yep.

Grace Sharkey: 1:17:03

Wasabi, I think that's a cherry one. In the top right um corner, the like pink ones. Uh, have you ever been to a five below? Yes, sometimes you can find them in five below, oh interesting. Yeah, I just recently learned about five below which, five Below. Which big mistake, huge. I went into one and I was in there for way too long examining everything. I don't know who waited until now to tell me about Five Below. But yeah, there's a huge snack section. Sometimes you can find a lot of these too.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:17:44

Well, very similar to kit kat is also what's going on, um, with lace chips you know, I just showed the bag there but, uh, very similar to their expansion into china, where they have different flavors, such as pickled fish, to the italian red meat. Um, lays makes a wide range of chips for its customers in china, which have also, you know, sort of we've started seeing them in other you you know, online shops where you can buy them. Particularly TikTok is where I have seen, go figure, where I've seen a lot of these different flavor packs and you can just get a variety pack and they ship it to your house. And this, these chips, I mean they're not exactly like the cheapest. You're not going to, you know, if you just want regular, like American barbecue chips, like obviously that is going to be much lower of a price compared to some of these other flavors, like Lay's roasted garlic oyster, spicy crawfish, pickled fish, fried crab. It's, it's a lot, it's, it's a lot of different flavors.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:18:49

It's a lot. It's a lot of different flavors. There's an estimated 200 varieties of Lay's chips that are in East Asia countries, so it's not just China but it's also Korea as well, and they've expanded from the popularity perspective. Then there's also the situation where there's small batch creators, especially locally or I say locally, but stateside that are creating like small batch popcorns and pretzels, freeze dried candy, things like that that I purchased a lot of those as like Christmas gifts and they went over really well because you're able to kind of like share your Christmas gift with other people, and so I thought that that was, you know, sort of a fun thing to do around Christmas time. But in that Odd Lots episode he was talking about the manufacturing perspective and how a lot of this is really due to the tech adoption of these different facilities where they make these different products. Where it says we're almost at a golden age of max capacity for a variety of snacks. So we're not even at max capacity yet. Yet is what Ryan says.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:19:48

Ryan Harlan, director of business development at E-Tech. He says if you're buying a specialty flavor Lays chips it likely came, and this was surprising. It likely came from a factory that's two hours away and has been in business for 50 years with a local supply chain. He believes it started with soda and then trickled into snacks. A lot of the processes stay the same but you're just adding in that flavor as an extra step at the end. But he said also, you know a lot of the R&D, research and development is using the digital twins, like the factory game in order to expedite the process of concept to store.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:20:23

He said that this also helps with identifying issues in the production line. Which production lines especially like 15 years ago for a lot of facilities to this day, they were very much like paper-based, the human capital that was involved with checking the line. Now it's all digital where they can fix mistakes and get products out faster. He said that typically production plans for these facilities are mapped out a month in advance, but with the newer technology a plant manager might walk in and not know the plan for that day until he gets to the office. So I thought that that was super interesting. He doesn't even know what he's producing that day. And they said another one is almonds.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:21:04

Almonds is another snack that is using this very similar process and because of the technology that they adopted, they're also able to clean their lines much more efficiently and much more effectively, where you had to kind of do trial and error to see if, like that spicy barbecue almond is going to leave a residue when you're making your blueberry almonds. So obviously you don't want that. So these digital twin technologies, in addition to a game like the Factorio, which is what we just talked about, but they have different sensors that are being implemented, so you can test to see that the lines are clean, that they don't have any sort of flavor residue, and so you can just get those products out much more quickly. But isn't that crazy that you can just walk in on the day of and then all of a sudden you find out what you're, what you're going to be yeah, you know making that day you know what is interesting too.

Grace Sharkey: 1:21:57

On that residue note too, I was reading the other day like um a lot, for, like the stickier candies, the mystery flavors are the residues between two different batches oh interesting like uh, this, the, the one I think they're talking about was like the, uh, the suckers that you get like the pink and the stuff, right, dum-dums, like.

Grace Sharkey: 1:22:22

A lot of times the mystery flavor ones are just between like cherry, um, finish batching up and finishing up changing into like raspberry and so that like middle ground, where for a couple batches like it tastes like both. That's why you can never like guess, you're like oh, it kind of tastes like these two things. It's just those ones and it's a way of like not having waste.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22:44

That's super smart what a way to, like you know, trick us into ones. And it's a way of, like, not having waste. That's super smart. What a way to, like you know, trick us into thinking that it's like a specialty flavor.

Grace Sharkey: 1:22:51

Yeah, because you're always like oh my God, it tastes like this, or kind of like this. It's like nope, it's just a waste. Thank you for buying.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:22:59

That's actually really relevant to this next point that Ryan have and he calls it the power of gaining 1% where if you can find ways all across your business and all across your facility to gain even 1% of extra productivity, then that has massive amounts of gains on your bottom line, on your revenue. Let's see what else was really noteworthy. Oh, based on the selling analytics, they can also adjust appropriately depending on what kind of flavors have staying powers versus trying new varieties of flavors. There's also co-packers and white label opportunities for chips as well. So if you have a crazy idea for a chip, then you could sort of you know.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:23:49

So if you have a crazy idea, for a chip, then you could sort of hire one of these as a co-packer to make your chip variety for you. Oreo does that, right, you can get good at this Oreo sale. And then I'll end this part of the segment with. He said that companies like Nestle which is this is sort of the fascinating cherry on top is companies like Nestle think that this model of novelty is the future, as they combat things like Ozempic taking over where people are eating less. So these crazy capitalistic corporations that have arguably too much power I would argue that Nestle definitely does but they're looking at a drug like ozempic and the mass adoption of it and they're thinking in their heads like, oh crap, people are going to be eating less, so let's create a way that we can make novelty around a particular snack to get them to keep buying it for sure it's like maybe I won't eat a whole bag of Lay's potato chips regular, but I'll definitely eat a bunch of small bags of the crawfish.

Grace Sharkey: 1:24:49

But I mean, it's true, right. It's like it's that I think that novelty experience, or it's like I'll enjoy it in smaller parts of partials, but I'll probably pay more for it. I made more for the experience and so higher margins.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:25:03

You're making less, or you're making less products but you're making more on that product.

Grace Sharkey: 1:25:08


Blythe Brumleve: 1:25:09

Another aspect of this, the evolution of snacks is sort of the same product but different packaging, and that's popcorn buckets. I don't know if you've been to the movies recently and seen the massive adoption or just, I guess, guess, introduction of popcorn buckets to the movie going experience. Have you heard of this?

Grace Sharkey: 1:25:31

are you talking about like the like specialty ones for special? Yeah, like like the beyonce one that I have?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:25:38

yes, well, you are a product of, uh, movie theater marketing. No, you all know what happened to movie theaters in 2020, where they, you know, obviously had all of their revenue gutted. You know, a lot of theaters did not survive, um, so when people started coming back to the theaters, they had to really start thinking about what are some additional ways that we can make revenue, because not the movie going experience has just evolved so rapidly. The d Dune one is a perfect example. That one got sold out. Yeah, um, I'm sure it did. So it's uh. So when people come to the movies, they're typically coming for a franchise that they're really passionate about, yeah, and so when they're there, they're thinking of these ways that they can upsell them. So it kind of started with the different uh, they can upsell them. So it kind of started with the different themed drinks. Like, some theaters sell alcohol now I think a lot of them actually do but they'll have, like a themed drink based on the big movie that is in theaters right now.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:26:34

I went to the theaters. I think this trend really started within the last two years, because I can vividly remember going to the theater and seeing, like one bucket that you could buy, and it was like you know the Indiana Jones release or like a Spider-Man or something like that, like one really big movie, one of the, the Mario movie, for example. They were selling the you know the, the blocks that you did the power up blocks. That was a brilliant popcorn bucket I actually have flowers sitting in it on my porch right now and so that was just kind of one or two. We go to the movies pretty regularly and the last movie we saw was in December. We didn't go see another movie until whenever.

Grace Sharkey: 1:27:16

Dune came out. Oh, okay, so just recently. So when?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:27:19

Dune came out, so a few months had passed. In that timeframe frame we now have popcorn buckets for damn near every single movie, because amc had to build a separate section of the concession area where they just have these shelves that hold about 12 popcorn buckets. Now it's absolutely I mean it's just insane how much that it's blowing up you can still buy the taylor Swift ones, and mine too. Oh, you can.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:27:45

Oh well that's interesting because they it's. There's actually a lot of production hiccups that happen with the popcorn buckets because you have to secure the licensing deals A lot of times that you so you secure the licensing deal but you don't necessarily secure the the product design itself. So there's like different approval levels that you have to go through and with the movies kind of being, you know, a little bit of a a toss-up, like dune barbie, like these types of movies, mario, you know they're going to be smashing successes. So it makes sense for a theater to order a shit ton of these popcorn buckets, but for some of these other movies, uh, they have no idea what the product, the production can take months at a time. But then you combine that with the fact that a movie only stays in the theater for about two months. So if you have, like an unexpected hit where somebody wants the damn popcorn bucket and they can't get access to it, it makes no sense to order more because the movie is only going to stay in the theaters for a couple of months anyways. And that production lead time you need about, you know, at least a couple of months for the design to be improved and then six months from a production standpoint, from a manufacturing standpoint, delivery, all that stuff.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:29:00

So there's a lot of really just I mean, these popcorn buckets. $25 to $50 is the selling price that they range in. We went to see Indiana Jones, the Indiana Five, and we went on release night and that popcorn bucket was already sold out, and so certain movies that you're, they're kind of just guessing on if this is actually going to be something that you know. Oh well, hold on, let me share that screen again If this is going to be something that's actually going to be worthwhile for the theater to invest in. And so there was this whole breakdown a few months ago. So I figured that this was a really good sort of tie in with the snack movement. And if you're looking on the screen, this dune popcorn bucket, that's the one that, like everybody, just clamored for.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:29:48

And this is a type of popcorn bucket that ends up, you know, on eBay immediately after there's R2-D2, there's Barbie, there's Ghostbusters, and they're all really cool ways to think about like putting popcorn in these different devices. I personally don't put the popcorn in it, I just buy it and keep them separate so you don't have all that like popcorn residue on it. But this is leading to a massive. We also there's a war hammer here. It's really cool. We have one of those too. That was actually a really well made one.

Grace Sharkey: 1:30:17

I'm surprised you don't get the Disney ones.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:30:21

There haven't actually been many Disney ones that that I've seen, not the park one. You know what I'm talking about. The park, oh I have. Yeah, the disney popcorn buckets, yes, um, those. I have been guilty of getting those in the past and then they sit in a corner and I don't do anything with them. So I've told myself I'm not buying popcorn buckets from disney anymore.

Grace Sharkey: 1:30:42

I've now shifted that purchasing habit to um I feel like they stole that, that stole the idea from that right.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:30:49

It's like they're probably, and a couple, uh, a couple notes from the hollywood reporter article, because it said minutes after the first trailer of his superhero pic, uh, deadpool and wolverine dropped during the super bowl, ryan reynolds tweeted about popcorn of all things and he said wait until you see the deadpool popcorn bucket. And no doubt he was responding to the social media frenzy over a new dune in theater sandworm popcorn container that's been rifled and looks it looks like sex toy, um, and even I got a saturday night live skit. But it adds up to dollars. So because let's talk about last summer, amc chief Adam Aaron predicted that 25,000 special edition Barbie Corvettes would sell out by the end of opening weekend at $35 a pop. He was right. That means nearly 1 million in revenue, or about $875,000. So that is just. It's just outstanding that or I don't know, outstanding or outrageous that these different things yeah, both that are now being involved with movie theater experience.

Grace Sharkey: 1:32:02

Merch, merch, baby. I think that will be like our generational thing is like just merch, like we just like buy things that no one really needs, but just like sits, sit somewhere. It looks cool, right, it's like it's the happy meals, you know, we just we gotta have some little toy with it. And I think it's cool, though, like, imagine, I don't see any fun, the civil war they didn't have a popcorn bucket for that one. But I need to go see some more fun movies. I wanted the barbie one and they sold out of that. I had a finagle to get the beyonce ones, aka buy it out of state. So it's uh, uh, the taylor swift one and I think the beyonce one, though I noticed, uh, I don't have an AMC near me, but they're finally shown what was it?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:32:46

what was the Beyonce one?

Grace Sharkey: 1:32:47

uh. So when the movie came out for the concert it was like, uh, it's like a silver. It's like a silver black bucket, just like kind of cool 3D with the horse on it. The Taylor Swift one is kind of the same thing like you've seen, like the. It looks like kind of some of the merch that she had as well it. But the cup is like strong. I mean we talk about that all the time, just so I need another freaking cup in my house. No, I saw I really wanted the Barbie one, especially because, like, honestly, $35? I mean I go to the movies pretty much like every other weekend. To be honest with you, you and the money that you spend on popcorn and stuff anyways, it's like might as well throw that in there.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:33:32

Especially if it's one of these movies that they go quick and you could just flip them over on eBay. I mean, we've definitely thought about doing that. We haven't done it yet because there's, you just keep putting plants in them. It sounds like, well, yeah, well, definitely with the Mario one. Done it yet because there's, you know, plants in them. It sounds like, well, yeah, well, definitely with the mario one. So we, we have a plant in that one and I specifically picked a plant that kind of looked like the fireball.

Grace Sharkey: 1:33:53

Uh, you know the the plant that is the fireball in mario games.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:33:57

So you, you know what I'm talking about. So it's like a cactus um, that's green, and then it has the red top, and so that it looks cool in that bucket that is cool I I don't know what I would do with the rest of them.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:34:07

I know we still have the thor one, but it kind of just sits off to the side as like decoration. Um, that one was really well made. Um, and I'm trying to think of, like well, the indiana jones one just comes to mind, because it was the hat and I really wanted to get that one but it, like I said, it was sold out. Another, another aspect of it and these different movies also have different merch deals depending on the theater that they work with. So AMC might have one type, cinemark might have another type.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:34:35

I've noticed the last time I was at a Cinemark they have the cups, to your point, in addition to the popcorn buckets. So we're probably going to be seeing a lot more of drinks and cups and popcorn buckets for a it's. We're probably going to be seeing a lot more of, you know, drinks and cups and popcorn buckets for a variety of movies. But there is some production issues that that happen with it. Like I said, the reordering of these buckets is damn near impossible because of the lead time that you need and they're having to make these decisions 18 months ahead of a film's release, and so that's a lot of time to be thinking about all of these different sort of marketing efforts that you can make. But if it's getting people to the theaters and it's getting them to spend more money, they're capitalizing on fandom and I think that's pretty smart.

Grace Sharkey: 1:35:19

It is. It's funny to kind of think about the fact that you're working on a movie but also considering the popcorn bucket that goes with it as production goes by. It's awesome. I love that. I need to go see some more happy-go-lucky movies, because all the horror movies I see just aren't coming out with anything special for me.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:35:40

See, I don't even do horror movies because I just immediately cry. So I just don't see them at all From fear I just burst into tears. I don't know, I can't explain it. If you talk about like ghosts or anything like that, or if I talk about you know my experience with ghosts, um, you should start crying like super haunted things. It's just tears, just start. Poor, I don't know where it comes from like are you sad that they're dead?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:36:09

or you're just like no, I just I think I'm just scared tears. Just, I don't watch horror movies. I don't watch any kind of like um slasher films or anything like that, like it or um, I don't know any of like the poltergeist type, poltergeist and it. What year is it? Well, didn't they just come out with another one of those that was kind of based on I don't?

Grace Sharkey: 1:36:34

know, not poltergeist. They do have an it that's going to come out soon. It's like the story of how he became it. Yeah, that should be fun. Yeah, you can tell me how it is the cindy sweeney immaculate if you want to see cindy sweeney as a nun just what every cindy sweeney fan wants is to see her completely covered that's like the missed opportunity when she was in spider-man.

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:01

She was never in a spider-man suit and it's like wait till we get to talk about the deadpool taylor swift movie. Right, that were uh, I think I sent over, did I? I think I sent you that right, deadpool taylor swift? Yeah, uh, there's talks that like, uh, taylor swift will be in the, that uh will be in the next deadpool movie with um, why? Because? And uh, what's her name?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:24

his wife is gonna be like uh, oh, blake, lively, yeah, oh, for god's sakes, that's why they were all at the super bowl and sporting events together. Jesus, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's annoying.

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:36

I swear. I sent you that instagram reel. I'll have to find and resend it to you. We'll talk about it makes I mean it makes sense.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:42

like you know how Taylor does, the marketing makes sense months later. Yeah, I'm trying to remember. That's why that was your friend for a hot second, because she put you in a movie.

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:53

I'm trying to remember who they said she was going to be playing.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:57

I hope they kill her.

Grace Sharkey: 1:37:58

Oh, it's in the Deadpool.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:37:59

Wolverine movie. Well, I mean it is coming out soon. So it makes sense, because both Ryan Reynolds andugh jackman were at a chief's game at some point.

Grace Sharkey: 1:38:08

Maybe it was a super bowl, or maybe it was a dazzler that's what they say that she's gonna end up being this dazzler.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:38:13

She's actually gonna. I thought you know, maybe like a cameo. A cameo is fine, but like an acting role no yeah, no mean she's an actress I don't know.

Grace Sharkey: 1:38:25

Tell me, it's not like Beyonce was nominated for an Oscar or anything. Well, this is you know what. We're back on topic. Back on topic, yeah, shout out to Dead Poets Society, or whatever that album was. Dead Poets Society, or whatever that album was. Dead Poets Society, robert Williams. Yeah, I was like, oh, I think that's a writing movie, orchard, dead Poets Society.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:38:57

All right. What is your source to porch? I see that you.

Grace Sharkey: 1:39:02

You know, I love big things Well, real quick.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:39:06

Oh wait, real quick. So you sent me some timestamps, but I don't have a link.

Grace Sharkey: 1:39:12

I didn't send you the video, Don't worry. Don't worry everyone. I have the video. I'm going to send it to you now. Hold on one second.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:39:23

Thank goodness, oh, send it to me in the chat. So if you guys want to, yeah, I guess a look in the behind the scenes of how this show is.

Grace Sharkey: 1:39:30

It is now in the Google Doc. It is in the Google Doc, oh good, so I'll give you some background on this. Dirty jobs I don't know if you've seen the show before. I love Mike Brown, who doesn't love my crown. He was uh fixed up the mackinac bridge the other day and he said I gotta go keep watching this. And then he took his turn and he went over to nasa. That's it.

Grace Sharkey: 1:39:56

Listen, you all know me, I love big, I love, I love wondering how big things move and that's why I love flatbed fray, I love open deck fray. I like to see, I want to see move that large item from there and I want to see how I got there. And so, uh, micro went to, was at nasa and, uh, he was cleaning up this, this trailer you could call what's actually called a transport crawler, and there's two of them. I believe I think there's been three in history, but there's two of them that nasa has built. So, long story short, how they move the um rocket ships right, the what we send to space spaceships, et cetera, as they move them on the like lift off platforms on a giant, what they call crawler. Now, to give you a little bit of kind of background, well, you know we'll start off with this first clip, so I think the minute 17 mark 56 minutes. It's going to talk to you exactly about how big this thing is and tonnage, weight. It's literally one of the largest moving objects in the world. So go ahead and click that, blythe, we'll watch this first and get into it. So they're huge.

Grace Sharkey: 1:42:04

If you can't, if you aren't watching this, this I mean hopefully a quarter of the eiffel tower, like makes sense to you and they're. They're basically giant platforms and what's really interesting about them, too, is like these things are the reason that micro was is checking them out is because they use so much oil in order to move, because, like, these things can't shut down, so they like over lubricate them to make sure that during their process of rolling which I wanted to figure out, top speeds, they move this top speed 0.83 miles per hour, so to move. I think it's like 4.2 miles from where they put this platform and the spaceship standing up straight if you didn't watch the video onto this crawler to where it needs to go for liftoff. It's 4.2 miles, so it takes somewhere between four to six hours to move this. Again just a couple of miles down the road, the road itself, and they'll get into the layers of it is like mostly made it. They couldn't use concrete because it would get destroyed, so they have to use they they'll talk about in a second, the next video. But, um, they down to like a certain point into the ground. It's all natural stone. It's the only thing that can actually like with tame the, the weight of everything, without being completely destroyed on the way there. Um, it can't run on concrete at all, it can't move, it can't turn more than six degrees at a time. Uh, yeah, it's, it's humongous. And play the second video because it gets into like kind of just like the strength of these things and like how it grinds the ground into like straight up dust. But it's just, it's fascinating to watch and it makes me want to go like just watch these things move, cause it's, it's incredible. And again, there's only two of them and they are both just NASA owns both of them so big. Look how big. Look at that person down there. That's nuts. Thank you, um, um, thank you, um. Okay, this is crazy, isn't that crazy? Now, I think they come out to about 14 million dollars each, which it seems like a lot, but again, they. They've only made two of them. They've been in use since.

Grace Sharkey: 1:46:57

Um, I want to say a couple of like, uh, I want to say maybe like 20 or 30 years ago, before I think they moved piece by piece, but this was a safer way to move them moving forward. So they're being used. They aren't used for any other reason and just to kind of give you the micro job of it all, like I said, they have to be super lubricated because if they were to break down at all during that transit, there would be like literally nothing that could save the day. I mean, what are you going to do? Transfer it onto a different truck so they over lube it and then at the end, someone, a number of three or four people their job, only job is to go through and they have to. I'm talking.

Grace Sharkey: 1:47:45

I want to say it was like 20 buckets of grease. They just go and they scrape off all of this grease. And that's what, like Mike Rowe's job was for the day was getting underneath those crawlers, underneath those I think he said it was like 25 ton, like meal things and actually scooping that out so it could go the next time. And yeah, it's crazy. I mean, go check out videos of it. They're huge and again, the like largest, I said I think they said like type I can't remember the type of word they use like largest drivable something out there. But I just think it's interesting because when I saw that I was like why? Like what are they using it for? But it makes sense, it's, it's the safest way. If you watch the video, they literally move it from that building, which is like talk about the tallest dock in the world, right?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:48:38

like, and then huge building. I mean just the overall facility is is massive. I mean we're talking about that giant building to store the rockets. But then in addition, if I'm looking at this picture correctly, I mean this is just one shot of it, but there's four different buildings on the right-hand side. There's one, two, three, four, five, six buildings on the left-hand side of it, and that's in addition to the rest of the grounds. Have you ever seen a shuttle launch? No, it's incredible.

Grace Sharkey: 1:49:13

Is it cool? And it's really, and this looks like it's in Florida.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:49:14

I'm looking at like the water and a little vegetation around, but it is. If you've never had a chance, I highly highly recommend it. It is just awe-inspiring. It's one of those things where you know as soon as the launch happens, you don't hear anything until like a few seconds later and then the sound waves start hitting you and so it's really cool to see the rocket like halfway up in the air and you're not hearing anything until the sound waves actually get to you, which is awesome, and I thought that you know what we saw was massive, but this whole facility, the infrastructure to support that, is just infinitely more massive.

Grace Sharkey: 1:49:55

Yeah, so crazy. So hey, there are big vehicles out there. Space is cool. Yeah, it is cool. This is on the ground.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:50:04

This isn't even space, yeah, but I also wonder, like as I was watching that, I was like, well is cool. Yeah, it is cool, this is on the ground. This isn't even space. Yeah, this is. But I also wonder, like as I was watching that, I was like, well, how? Because you know how you see the spaceship on top of like airplanes. Yeah, I wonder if.

Grace Sharkey: 1:50:16

But that's on re-entry, I believe well, yeah, I'm like uh, because you you probably have seen the video of the one like going through la, that was like on the way to a museum, like that was like, oh, okay yeah, where this one has like the whole, like uh, uh, lift off that tank, but like the, the rocket part that's actually propelling it up there.

Grace Sharkey: 1:50:40

But it does make you think, like I mean, it's something that I think the guy might get into later in the video, but now with someone like like elon musk, right, who can figure it out, a way to actually have it come back and land like in specific spots, like does that eliminate it? I don't think so, but it like does it? Yeah, how exactly are you moving that back to the facility? Uh, would be interesting to figure out, right?

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51:06

yeah that's super cool. Yeah, good job, good one. Yeah, thanks, micro.

Grace Sharkey: 1:51:11

Yeah, thank you for I think it's interesting like even though just the road part is interesting, right like nine meters, they have to dig nine meters into the ground and just lay all and the micro or the dirty jobs episode, like it's just like natural rock, like kind of like if you're walking on a rock like a rocky beach, um, but yeah, just like, right, like they said, grinds it immediately into you. Just assume like you could build any row, but they're right, like the amount of weight that it's moving.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:51:44

It would just like especially in florida, like sink into the swampland, like what were y'all thinking, building it there exactly hurricanes, and what are y'all thinking? And the other one is in texas, like yeah, exactly.

Grace Sharkey: 1:52:02

So it's like, wow, you could, even I just think that stuff. So I'm like I'm not smart enough to be an engineer. But imagine like you're considering building this and then some guy comes and ruins your day and he's like well, does the road even.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:52:15

You're like the wrong guy, like it always comes back to transportation, exactly. All right. Well, we have been recording for a long time, we've been talking for a long time. My ears are hurting at this moment from the headphones being in for too long, but that about does it for us.

Grace Sharkey: 1:52:40


Blythe Brumleve: 1:52:42

Thank you for listening if you're still listening to a two-hour podcast but they are this long because we have a lot of things to talk about and a lot of cool and interesting and sometimes frustrating things are going on in the world of logistics. So that's why I'm thankful to have this show and to be able to host this series with you Now, grace, as we sort of round this out. Any cool stories you're working on Anything you want me to send people to. Any cool stories you're working on anything you want me to send people to. What do you got going on?

Grace Sharkey: 1:53:11

Well, I will say, I think, one of the biggest things for this industry that's coming up, that you're going to have to go to live, to really truly believe and understand and watch, as we have our future supply chain event coming up in june june 4th to the 5th in atlanta, which, by the way, atlanta, let's go.

Grace Sharkey: 1:53:30

It's gonna be a great time. But for the first time ever, I know, we've historically had issues, you know, between the two greatest data house providers out there, and we got zach strickland we call over here the Sultan of Sonar going off against Ken over at DAT. You never thought you'd see it, but it's happening. Okay, this is might as well. What is UFC? Who is what? Is it? Jake? What's his name? Who are those people? Because this is the biggest showdown ever. We, of course, will have live at the Future of Supply Chain, the greatest debate of all time on the market. Where is it going? When is it coming back? Because you know DAT is always wrong Because their data isn't as good as ours. I'm just saying, I'm just putting it out there. I did, I kind of went to Ohio State University, which sucks too, so we'll with that out there. Boo Buckeyes. So that fact, if you want to see the greatest debate you've ever seen, you're going to want to watch Zach Strickland, who is.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:54:36

I really love that they're doing this.

Grace Sharkey: 1:54:38

Me too. I never thought I'd see the day. I never thought. If you really are about this industry, you are flabbergasted right now. So head over to https://live. freightwaves. com/. Also, at this wonderful event, your girl, grace Sharkey, and also my sidekick of all time, thomas Watson, and I will be leading FreightWaves Now in the morning, at the event, both mornings, in the morning, at the event, both mornings. So we'll have a nice little comedic relief as you walk into the future supply chain as well. We'll be doing the stock out live for the first time in Atlanta too. So I'm excited.

Grace Sharkey: 1:55:17

It's going to be a good time. We've got some really great speakers. Ryan Peterson will be there. If you've seen him at Manifest, the man can put on a show. So we've got a lot of really great things happening. So go check that out. https://live. freightwaves. com/. We also have some wonderful virtual free events coming up too. Check me out on the radio.

Grace Sharkey: 1:55:37

Also, I'm going to be on the road as well. Anyone who's Uber Freight has a carrier event that's coming up in May, about halfway through May. If you're going to that, I'll be there too. Sam Sara's event in June I'll be there as well, doing some man on the street work. Yeah, I'll be traveling to some more exclusive stuff. You guys can come by me exclusively at places. So I'm going to be on the road this summer, so that's going to be fun. But I'm really excited for this not only because I think this debate is going to come by me exclusively at places. So I'm going to be on the road this summer, so that's going to be fun. But I'm really excited for this not only because I think this debate is going to be so sick. I mean, listen, if you know Zach Strickland, like the guy never wants to lose, and so from afar he might seem timid and quiet, but no, not when it comes to data, not when it comes to data, not when it comes to data. So, uh, it's gonna be really exciting.

Grace Sharkey: 1:56:28

Uh, also, if you join the stockout community. So if you head to freewayscom, click on newsletters at the top of the page, uh, click on the stockout, join that you'll get a discount code on your first uh newsletter, which goes up every thursday. Uh, which will, of course, give you a discount for the atlanta event too. So there's a nice little check there. So a couple ways you can have some fun with us. But yeah, I got all that going on, of course, uh, the wonderful radio show we have coming up. Uh, you can check those out on demand if you have a serious app, um, or you listen to the radio as well. And uh, of course, the stock. I'm trying to think what else do I do for a lot of stuff you do a lot of stuff.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:57:10

One thing you're not doing, though you're not coming on. Apparently you're not coming to TMSA Elevate 100 year anniversary. That's right after the FreightWaves Future of Supply Chain event. It's happening June 9th to the 11th, so I had to get that little plug in there as we're talking about conference season. I'm going to, I'm going to give a shout out where it's happening in new Orleans. So we're going to do port tours, we're going to do ghost tours. That's right up your alley. Hopefully I don't cry on it, but yeah.

Grace Sharkey: 1:57:39

Are you going to go to what's her name's house? Who's the crazy like witch lady out there to cry like we're gonna have to actually I'm gonna do some research on this too.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:57:57

You might see me there, you should. You should definitely come. It's for freight marketing sales professionals. Um, we got. Cassandra gaines is going to be coming in and doing a talk there, obviously, on fraud, tons of speaker announcements, all that stuff. If you do register, I'll put a link to register in the comments. But if you register and use my code, then I get credit for it and that that helps pay for my ticket to go to TMSA, because even though I'm a board member, I still have to pay to go. Unless you know, we have a handful of people that buy a ticket from me. Then I get in. I love that.

Grace Sharkey: 1:58:27

We're just out here dealing codes, take our stuff.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:58:30

Listen, it's tough out here in this economy.

Grace Sharkey: 1:58:32

It's tough out here on these streets. We told you we want to get this economy turning around. We need some. Use those codes. People spend that money.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:58:41

I love how, when you get really passionate about something, you grab the mic. Is it Beyonce and discount codes? That's your mic grab moments in this episode. Are you trying to fight DAT? It's all good stuff. It's a summer of fun events coming up, so hopefully we will see you guys in person soon, but if not, be sure to stay subscribed to the podcast, all the good things.

Blythe Brumleve: 1:59:07

Stay up to date on Grace's writings and her appearances on the in hosting the stock out. But until then, this does it for this week's episode or this month's episode of Freight Friends. I guess you know. Check out the link or the links in the show notes for anything that we talked about that you may have just been listening to and you want to actually watch. We will have all of those in the show notes as well, and for more content you can head over to Grace's link in the show notes as well, and also to Everything is Logistics. But yeah, that does it. My ears hurt. I need to take these headphones out of my ears. Yeah, same here. I hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B subscribe to the show, sign up for our newsletter and follow our socials over at everything is logisticscom.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:00:02

And in addition to the podcast, I also wanted to let y'all know about another company I operate and that's digital dispatch, where we help you build a better website.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:00:11

Now, a lot of the times, we hand this task of building a new website or refreshing a current one off to a coworker's child, a neighbor down the street or a stranger around the world, where you probably spend more time explaining the freight industry than it takes to actually build the dang website.

Blythe Brumleve: 2:00:27

Well, that doesn't happen at Digital Dispatch. We've been building online since 2009, but we're also early adopters of AI automation and other website tactics that help your company to be a central place to pull in all of your social media posts, recruit new employees and give potential customers a glimpse into how you operate your business. Our new website builds start as low as $1,500, along with ongoing website management, maintenance and updates starting at $90 a month, plus some bonus, freight marketing and sales content similar to what you hear on the podcast. You can watch a quick explainer video over on digitaldispatchio. Just check out the pricing page once you arrive and you can see how we can build your digital ecosystem on a strong foundation. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this episode. I'll see you all real soon and go Jags you.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.