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Episode 8: Hitting a Home Run with Scalable and Simple Manufacturing

April 21, 2023

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Meet Randall Thompson, President & Founder of Dugout Mugs

"I had no real path that I knew I wanted to go in.” It was what Randall Thompson was thinking when, after playing baseball all his life, the Toronto Blue Jays released him. "I knew I wanted to be creative and I wanted to create things. So I started Dugout Mugs."

The idea was simple: Take the barrel of a baseball bat, hollow it out, and turn it into the "ultimate game day mug." Of course, while the idea was simple, creating the first prototypes took a bit of work. "I didn't know what a wood lathe was. I didn't know anything about woodworking in the beginning. I tried to make one myself, and unsuccessfully," Thompson tells us in our newest podcast episode. Eventually he found the right resources to create the mug he envisioned.

Thompson began the company in 2014, but saw major growth during the pandemic when there was an increase in online purchasing, and people had stimulus checks to spend. Since then, Dugout Mugs has seen hyper-growth in the ecommerce space. So how does a company keep up? Thompson tells us in our new episode of Manufacturing the Future.

In This Episode

Dugout Mugs creates the ultimate game day mug, a unique product that is great for sports fans, and a fun conversation piece. But getting the products into the customers' hands takes effort and efficiency. Listen to our conversation with Randall Thompson to learn more about how to hit a home run with your manufacturing operations.


  • How former professional baseball player Randall Thompson created and grew Dugout Mugs as a way to continue engaging with the game he loves.
  • How COVID's lockdowns had a positive effect on the business — with people at home buying things online, Dugout Mugs' business took off.
  • The challenges of scaling quickly, especially when you "throw money at problems" — and the need to return to those challenges to think through sustainable solutions for the future.
  • How Dugout Mugs streamlines their operations by leveraging Facebook and Instagram ads, Shopify, and ShipStation to run its ecommerce sales.
  • Why Randall is excited about software that can connect apps across an organization, streamline processes, and provide information about the company in real time.
  • Advice for entrepreneurs or those wanting to lead a manufacturing company, and why, if you want to create a product or start a business, you just have to jump right in.
  • Insights into Dugout Mugs' distribution operations, and why they're taking risks to meet people where they are.