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.
Listen to the full discussion here:
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.