ShipMonk gives an edge to ecommerce brands across the globe. It’s not an opinion; it’s a fact. With 11 state-of-the-art fulfillment centers across the globe and counting, custom technology created to simplify and streamline the 3PL process, and more logistics and tech. awards than you can shake a stick at, we are at the forefront of fulfillment innovation.
But how exactly do we harness the power of vertical integration to foster growth for our ecommerce clients? And how has Jan Bednar, renowned logistics disruptor and CEO/founder of ShipMonk driven the industry forward?
McKinsey & Company recently conducted an interview with Jan to delve into the details. Check out the full article here for a thorough understanding of our 3PL’s beginning, its approach to fulfillment and the evolving ecommerce industry, and our innovation-rooted methods for problem solving and helping brands reach their potential. Continue below for a preview of those topics, as well as others Jan covers in the interview.
ShipMonk’s Ecommerce Origins
Historically, the world of fulfillment has been designed around warehouse management systems [WMS] that are universal tools any warehouse can use, whether they’re selling furniture or small jewelry. It’s a very standard product that is configurable to be used by a lot of companies. But when we came into the market in 2014, we did a lot of research around what the right tool would be for us. And what we realized was that none of them were a good fit for what we needed, especially to achieve ecommerce growth. We started by serving small businesses, and there was really no WMS that could service them appropriately. So we started building . . .
In terms of customer service management, one of our big beliefs is proactivity. A lot of customer support is reactive i.e. I ship you a package; you don’t get it; you send me an upset email and say, “I never got my package, what’s going on?” At ShipMonk, we try to flip that script to prevent frustration by using data science to monitor patterns and building forecasting tools to manage pain points in advance and ensure brands deliver the best experience to their customers.
Overall, the last two years have been extremely challenging from a forecasting perspective. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, forecasting has become even more challenging. I don’t think anybody gets it exactly right, but we develop the best software to try to get as close as possible.
For us, forecasting is not just about buying inventory but also about planning labor, hiring in advance, and making sure that our infrastructure is ready for what’s coming. That’s been very challenging. But our accuracy has gotten much better. Over the last nine months, we’ve been almost within a 10% variance every single month on forecasts, in aggregate. And that allows us to prepare so much better for peak moments.
Now as we move into 2023, it is only the beginning. We’re getting our feet wet in international markets. We’ve successfully expanded to Texas, Mexico, and Canada. We’re opening any day now in the UK and eventually in mainland Europe. It’s always been a dream of mine to have international locations, so finally seeing it up and running has been rewarding.
In general we have very high growth aspirations. The macrotrends of the current economy are playing against us a bit, but I think we’re very fortunate to be able to offset that by bringing on a lot of new ecommerce clients. We continue to have really strong growth year over year, focusing on three key areas:
1.) Moving up the Market
3.) Global Growth
A lot of components go into achieving these goals. People are the biggest driver of growth and of success or failure. Every time ShipMonk grows, we have to retool and reinvent ourselves as a company, and we need to make sure that the people we bring in have that mindset of growth—they want to learn, want to be curious, and are passionate about the business.
We’re lucky at ShipMonk to have so many strong team members. Their talent has allowed us to support ecommerce brands as they go from $500,000 in revenue to a couple hundred million. And the bonus of supporting brands as they do this is that they need different things during different phases of their businesses, so we evolve with them to provide the valuable data and resources to keep adapting . . .