Mike Middleton, CEO of Secure Global Logistics discusses the ins and outs of shipping products all over the globe.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
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So let’s get started, we’re gonna have a good segment, I’m pretty excited about, we’re talking about international logistics, some really great companies and in the studio with me right now, is Mike Middleton, who’s the CEO of Secure Global Logistics. Mike thank you.
Mike Middleton: Thank you Jay.
Jay Curry: For coming on.
Mike Middleton: Nice to be with you today.
Jay Curry: Tell us, what the heck is Secure Global Logistics? You’ve been around a while, so maybe some people have heard it, but tell us what’s …
Mike Middleton: Well we help customers move their products across the globe, whether they’re buying or selling product, something that’s being manufactured someone whether it’s in China or India or Latin America or Russia and it has to get somewhere else and we help those customers move that product, whether it be by air, sea, land, rail, back of a donkey, whatever it takes to get it moved, we do it.
Jay Curry: I suspect you’ve probably done that too.
Mike Middleton: Well you know we’ve thrown things in the back of our car when we’ve had to and taken them for customers, but we do what it takes.
Jay Curry: Now I’m thinking this is not toothbrushes. We’re talking about some pretty heavy stuff.
Mike Middleton: Well being located in Houston, you can only imagine that the majority of our client base is oil and gas related. So what do you imagine when you see oil and gas equipment? Big derricks, big drilling equipment, pipe everything that goes with it, it’s big, nasty, heavy equipment and it’s the kinds of things we really love to move.
Jay Curry: So you have a lot of ways of doing that too, so you can go by ship, by air, give us some options there.
Mike Middleton: Yeah, well if you can imagine, so it comes out of a factory somewhere, so it has to be trucked to a port or an airport or a warehouse facility, then it has to get on an aircraft, or it has to get on an ocean going vessel. When it arrives at the other end, it has to be offloaded onto a truck and taken to final destination. So we do that entire process, so it’s going to involve truck, it’s going to involve air or ocean and it’s going to involve another truck somewhere on the other end. So we manage that entire supply chain process.
Jay Curry: So the customer does not have to worry about it, you’ve got it, you’ve got all the legal regulations from the U.S. all the way to every place in the world, Russia, you know South America, you’ve got it all figured out.
Mike Middleton: Well just imagine trying to know all the regulations for just the U.S. only, that’s a lot, now multiply that by every country in the world. And that’s the kind of expertise that we have to have on staff, in order to effectively handle our clients shipments no matter where they’re starting or where they’re ending. So that’s why clients use us, is because they need a partner who has that kind of expertise to be able to help facilitate their supply chain, wherever it might be.
Jay Curry: So you call yourself a broker, well you’ve got several divisions, but brokering, what’s that all about.
Mike Middleton: Well what it means is essentially is a freight forwarder that we’re not asset owning, I don’t own any of the aircraft that we ship on, I don’t own any of the vessels, I don’t own any of the trucks. We utilize the services of companies that own those assets and we do the management and the coordination, the paperwork, the documentation, the facilitation and the planning to make sure that all of those pieces come together for our client.
Jay Curry: So you make a nightmare easy.
Mike Middleton: Our goal is to make it so that our customer can give us as little information as they possibly can and then they can forget about it, knowing that from that point forward, we manage it all, and all they have to do is open their inbox because we’re going to proactively send them updates by email, letting them know what’s happening with their shipments so that that’s all they have to do is check their email to see what’s happened with their shipment along the way.
Jay Curry: So we’ve talked a lot about Houston, it’s oil, it’s big, big heavy, heavy stuff, but you also deal with non Texas, you could pick up something in Russia and send it to Saudi Arabia or whatever.
Mike Middleton: Absolutely. We just deconstructed a mining site in Peru, up in the mountains of Peru, moved it from the mountains to the port, loaded it on to a chartered vessel and moved it to Indonesia, cleared it through customs and then made delivery of all that equipment to final destination, it never touched Houston. So even though we’re based in Houston, we can handle cargo to or from anywhere in the world.
Jay Curry: Okay. Now you mentioned tear it down, do you actually deal with the rebuild and tear down too?
Mike Middleton: We do, we have rigging companies that specialize in that kind of equipment dismantling. So we might go into a plant, production line, assembly line, completely disassemble all of that equipment, pack it, crate it, put it in ocean containers, ship it and then reverse the process on the other end. Unpack it and reassemble it at the final plant destination on the other end.
Jay Curry: Wow. That’s pretty incredible, I don’t know how you do it? Must use a lot of technology. So you have several divisions because you’re doing a lot of this work, tell me about…
Mike Middleton: Sure so we have an air freight division that specializes in moving product by air and we’re booking that to with Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, United, British Airways, we find the best solution for our customer between the those carriers to meet their needs. We also have an ocean freight division, so whether we’re moving cargo again, anywhere by sea freight, in throughout the world, we match the best vessel that we can to meet that clients needs for transit time, capacity, that sort of thing.
We have a trucking division so that anything that’s moving by surface transportation whether it’s in the U.S., or Europe or China or anywhere in the world, we are able to move goods by truck whether it’s oversized, out of gauge, large equipment that needs permits and route surveys and all of that kind of thing to go with it, we do all of that kind of thing.
We’re also licensed customs brokers here in the United States, so anything which is entering into the commerce of the U.S., needs to pass through U.S. Customs and be cleared. We do that clearance process on behalf of our clients as well.
Jay Curry: That’s kind of a specialty area though.
Mike Middleton: Well it is you know ’cause you’re dealing with classifications of goods and sometimes you’re dealing with duty draw back functions and sometimes you’re dealing with in bond shipments that stay in bond and don’t clear until they come out. There’s a lot of things that are technical about the customs side of things that we manage again on behalf of our clients. We also have an export packing and crating operation so that anything which needs to be packed and prepared for export ahead of time, we crate those goods so that they can be maximized inside a container or moved safely and stored safely once it reaches the other end. So we have all of those aspects of our company.
Jay Curry: And then a specialty kind of area where I think you bring a lot of that together, you’ll take a whole project, this is not just ship from here to there, but it might be, we gotta move a city, you know. Then we have to bring it back.
Mike Middleton: Absolutely. Let’s say a chemical plant’s being built in Saudi Arabia.
Jay Curry: Right.
Mike Middleton: And this is going to be a two or three year process, well we would be involved with the engineering companies on the front end to help them plan the execution of the movement of those materials as they come out of production and are needed for assembly in country. And so we would facilitate the management of that entire project over a multi-year period.
Jay Curry: Now, what’s your competitive advantage ’cause there’s a good number of people that do this, why would somebody call you?
Mike Middleton: Okay, so there’s a few of the really large multi-national companies right? The Coca-Cola’s of the industry, the big boys. And they’re a good solution for the right kind of company. You know if you’re an Exxon, and you know you’re gonna want to go with the big boy right? But if you’re not an Exxon, who do you go to who’s going to give you the same kind of attention and personal service that one of those big players will give to Exxon? That’s why they come to us because we treat all of our customers whether they’re big, small, or in between, as if they’re our number one customer. And we can afford to do that because of the way our business is set up.
Jay Curry: Yeah so there’s not too many Exxon’s right, there’s only so many really huge companies, that leaves the rest of the world for you, and with bringing in the specialty, being focused on providing for that size customer, one stop shop.
Mike Middleton: That’s exactly what it is, a one stop shop for all of their transportation needs, so that they don’t really have to have staff to do these things, and just add additional cost to their operation by having their own experts on staff, they can out source that to us, we do it for them much more economically.
Jay Curry: So you will literally take a phone call, they don’t have to … they just have to tell you what’s gotta go from where to where and the rest of it, you take care of.
Mike Middleton: We need just a few simple details and from there, we’re able to manage the entire process for them.
Jay Curry: And part of the feedback, part of the pay back is that you’re gonna go find the cheapest, best on time place you can get it for them, you’re not gonna just take anything, you’re gonna shop it around.
Mike Middleton: No, we’re not gonna put it on a vessel that’s going to take a year to get there.
Jay Curry: Right.
Mike Middleton: You know, if they say they need it there in 35 days, we’re going to find a 35 day transit for them at the most economical price that we can on the most reliable carrier that we can find to do that.
Jay Curry: Well folks, we’ve been talking to Mike Middleton, CEO of Secure Global Logistics, Mike this is great story, thank you for coming on.
Mike Middleton: Jay, wonderful to be with you. Thank you.
Jay Curry: So if somebody wants to get a hold of you, learn more, what do they do?
Mike Middleton: So my email address is, email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jay Curry: All right folks, we’re gonna have it right there at Texas Business Radio so if you didn’t get it written down, you can go there and get it. We gotta take a break, this is Jay Curry signing off but we’re gonna be back in less than a minute or two, so don’t you go anywhere, we’ll be right back.
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Along with hosting “Texas Business Radio”, Jay is a Professional Certified Coach and Master Chair facilitating four Houston-based Vistage peer groups. In addition to being a best selling non-fiction author, the 2015 release of his award winning novel, Nixon and Dovey: the Legend Returns, adds novelist to his title. Jay holds a BS in Mathematics from Oklahoma State and an MS in Computer Science from Kansas State. You can learn more about Jay HERE.