Case Studies

Dan Tooill – Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits 

Quenching a thirst for adults across America 

According to a recent survey, nearly 44 percent of the people who planned to watch Super Bowl LVIII would consume spirits, wine or champagne. That is a lot of alcohol being distributed and sold across the country, and for that, imbibers can thank Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits 

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is a distinguished distributor of over 7,000 brands of wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks with operations spanning 44 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. It runs over 40 distribution centers and makes over six million customer deliveries yearly.   

A lot of the company’s operational success can be credited to Daniel Tooill,  the director of facilities. In this expansive role, Tooill oversees the company’s facilities in Florida, orchestrating the management of distribution centers and depot locations, specifically focusing on the Lakeland distribution center’s two-mile-long conveyor belt system. 

Joining Southern Glazer’s in May 2023, Tooill has been instrumental in steering the company towards operational excellence and customer satisfaction.  

“My multifaceted responsibilities include managing building systems, equipment and various projects, positioning me as the top-level authority for the intricate conveyor belt system and facility work at the Lakeland distribution center,” Tooill tells Blueprint magazine in January. “I also oversee facilities at six depots scattered strategically across the state.” 

Efficiency in action 

One of Tooill’s noteworthy achievements since assuming his role is the successful integration of four new downlines into the shipping sorter at the distribution center. Although the project was already underway upon his arrival, Tooill was decisive in ensuring its timely and budget-conscious completion. The improvement of the shipping sorter substantially boosted the company’s shipping capacity from 10,000 to 12,000 cases per hour. This upgrade marked a significant leap in operational efficiency and contributed to heightened productivity and increased customer satisfaction. 

Another critical project by Tooill involved installing 15-20 new racks in the new building at the distribution center. This strategic move is designed to optimize warehouse space, eliminating the need for secondary storage facilities. By expanding its in-house storage capacity, Southern Glazer’s can streamline its shipping process, dispatching products directly from the distribution center, resulting in increased efficiency and substantial cost savings. 

Being proactive 

In addition to these tangible projects, Tooill has demonstrated a keen understanding of the importance of proactive maintenance. Recognizing deficiencies in the cleaning and servicing protocols for the conveyor system, he initiated a systematic preventative maintenance schedule. This approach involved a phased implementation, starting with a small section and gradually extending it to cover the entire system. The result has been a notable reduction in issues, minimized downtime, decreased parts usage, and an overall streamlined process for delivering products to customers. 

Tooill’s commitment to leadership is evident in his role, where he oversees a team of 10 technicians and one manager. Describing his leadership style as leaning towards coaching, Tooill emphasizes the importance of investing in the development of his team. His transformational leadership approach seeks to empower and inspire the team, fostering a culture of ownership, innovation, and continuous improvement. 

“Empowering teams and embracing innovation is my motto because excellence is not just a goal; it’s a journey we navigate together,” Tooill says. 

For 2024, Tooill expects projects to include repairing the flooring on the mezzanine and replacing the current air compressors. Technological advancements are also on the horizon, with the company recently collaborating with Symbotic to enhance operational processes. 

Safety is a paramount concern for Tooill, and he actively engages in initiatives to improve employee safety. This includes teaching technicians how to read blueprints to enhance their understanding of electrical systems in the building. Additionally, he is revamping the lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures and conducting quarterly training to ensure that the team remains current on safety protocols. 

Reflecting on his extensive career, Tooill acknowledges the challenges posed by working in an industry that experiences peak activity during November and December.  

“Navigating the balance between work and family during holidays has been a significant challenge, requiring adept negotiation and effective communication to garner family support,” he explains.  

Academic foundation and industry versatility 

The journey that led Tooill to his current role is marked by a diverse range of experiences. His academic pursuits in applied science and mechanical engineering at Wilmington College and Columbus State Community College laid the foundation for a career that includes serving as an aviation mechanic in the U.S. Navy for over five years. Subsequent roles at Walmart Distribution Center, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Walmart, again in various capacities, showcased his versatility and resilience in the face of industry transitions. 

Beyond the confines of his professional responsibilities, Tooill finds solace in the tranquility of his five acres of land in Plant City, Florida, outside of Tampa, which serves as a retreat from the demands of his fast-paced role. A testament to his commitment to personal well-being is his active engagement in Ironman training, showcasing a disciplined approach to health and fitness. 

Tooill’s affinity for a rural lifestyle is further evident in his role as a caretaker of chickens, adding a touch of rustic charm to his life outside the corporate realm. His love for animals extends to his two Great Danes and a great Pyrenees. 

“Beyond the professional realm, my diverse experiences and academic foundation fuel a passion for a balanced, rural lifestyle, emphasizing well-being and discipline,” Tooill says. 

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vol III 2024


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