#39: Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

#39: Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

#39: Richard White CEO of WiseTech Global and CargoWise

Listen to the full discussion here:

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.

Connect with the Guest:

Richard White: Linkedin | Twitter

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.“

Show notes:

  • [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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