Richard White founded software company WiseTech Global in 1994 to help logistics companies manage goods and information across supply chains.
WiseTech Global is an innovative global developer of cloud-based software solutions for the international and domestic logistics industries. Since the company went public in 2016, WiseTech’s shares have soared more than five-fold, due to strong growth in revenue and acquisitions worldwide.
Richard is the company’s chief executive and retains a 53% stake.
The company has over 12,000 logistics organizations using their software across 130 countries, and their flagship product, CargoWise One, provides a comprehensive end-to-end logistics solution and forms an integral link in the global supply chain.
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Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- How Richard went from being a musician, refrigeration engineer and repairing guitars for ACDC and The Angels to founding one of the most successful Australian Companies
- The fundamental problem in Logistics from the industry’s inception – Fragmentation.
- 32 acquisitions over the last three years and all of them came with their founders
- Why Richard doesn’t think any freight forwarders in existence today are truly digitalized or digitized.
- You can click on a computer screen in Wisetech and see any team in the world, any staff member in the world, any work item in the world, and a task in the world.
- “It’s not about being on the Nasdaq or being the London stock exchange or being on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s about being a great company.”
- “I have a healthy disrespect for the status quo. I look at things out into the world and I go, well surely that can’t be right. Surely we can do better than that.”
- “You shouldn’t manage people. You should manage yourself and lead people.“
- “Delivery beats everything. It drives people to stand up, to realize their mission and be proud of what they have accomplished.“
- [0:59] How did you end up in the tech industry? Specifically, how did you end up doing tech for logistics?
- [01:33] Learning the importance of hard-work – How Richard worked from age 12 Friday and Saturday nights washing dishes.
- [5:32] After doing work for Carlos Santana and other celebrity musicians, Richard decides to sell his first music repair shop.
- [8:21] Why Richard decided to start writing a system for freight forwarding and customs and in 1993 founded Wisetech Global.
- [10:46] How did the logistics industry evolve since the ’90s and where does it still need to improve?
- [11:02] Richard talking about the fundamental problem in Logistics from the industry’s inception – Fragmentation.
- [17:00] Talking about the recent acquisitions of Wisetech, their long term strategy on M&A and their integration.
- [20:21] 32 acquisitions over the last three years and all of them came with their founders
- [21:26] Foothold and adjacency strategies – how the company uses acquisitions to build a global integrated network.
- [24:10] Why Richard doesn’t think any freight forwarders in existence today are truly digitalized or digitized.
- [25:49] How do you make sure that the investment you make in R&D is well spent?
- [26:55] What is the Wisetech Way and how does it make the company stand out?
- [27:55] Building their own productivity system: how you can click on a computer screen in Wisetech and see any team in the world, any staff member in the world, any work item in the world, and a task in the world.
- [29:32] Talking about Wisetech’s Credo and why people want to join the organization – caring about people, caring about changing the world one innovation at a time.
- [30:44] What made you go for listing the company on the Australian Stock Exchange? What was the main driver for the decision?
- [32:12] Why Richard thinks the mentality of: “you have to go overseas to be successful” in Australia is wrong
- [33:21] It’s not about being on the Nasdaq or being the London stock exchange or being on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s about being a great company.
- [34:55] I don’t really look at something and go: Oh, that’s interesting! I look at it and go, why is that?
- [35:32] I have a healthy disrespect for the status quo. I look at things out into the world and I go, well surely that can’t be right. Surely we can do better than that.
- [37:39] How do you translate your principles to your employees?
- [38:09] You shouldn’t manage people. You should manage yourself and lead people. Leading by example is a powerful way of demonstrating the right thing to do.
- [39:40] In our company anybody can talk to anybody at any time for any reason.
- [40:16] Thinking long term- slower today, faster forever! – when you build something, build it in such a way, the next time you have to build something similar, it’s much faster to do.
- [41:31] Delivery beats everything. It drives people to stand up, to realize their mission and be proud of what they have accomplished.
- [45:23] We buy with a clear intention. We buy a company and grow its costs. We grow the business and we make it a much more successful business.
- [46:21] Black belt in thinking boot camp for the new organizations being integrated
- [47:07] What is the most challenging part about finding and attracting the right talent? How do you make sure they fit well with WiseTech?
- [49:15] When finding the right people you need to focus on talent and not headcount. Only then will you have exceptional people for your business.
- [49:37] How do you select your leaders and what do you expect from them?
- [50:33] I want people who challenge my ideas. Challenge for me is fun and I do like an intellectual argument.
- [52:35] We hire receptionists that are very smart and give them the opportunity to grow. Now, most of our receptionists are handling administrative roles or a junior management role.
- [53:38] I actually had a very sometimes maybe shocking, maybe humorous experience with a couple of customers who have said to me – I don’t really like training my staff because when I train them, they leave and I reversed it, I said – The problem is that when you don’t train them, they stay.
- [54:37] What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made in terms of hiring?
- [56:28] Most people, not everybody, but most people want to be a great employee. They want to be part of a good team and part of the great company.
- [56:54] What do you think about diversity in the industry? What is a wise way to go about this topic?
- [59:11] What would be your advice to the younger generation?
- [1:01:40] Ultimately smart people, valuable people are people that can learn and grow and improve and help other people learn and grow and improve.
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About the Host:
The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, WEF, Bangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.
Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.
The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.
Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.
We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.
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