It’s a landmark month for #TeamGreen here at ShipMonk! It is with the utmost pleasure that we announce Josh McCarter as the new Chief Executive Officer of ShipMonk! Josh succeeds Jan Bednar, who will maintain an active, ongoing product focus with the organization as Founder and Executive Advisor.
Josh, a California native, brings an extensive range of distinguished technology expertise and a proven record of enterprise leadership to bolster ShipMonk’s position as a global leader within the ecommerce logistics and fulfillment industry. Josh joins us from Mindbody, where he served as President and CEO, and raised over $500M to further Mindbody’s mission of helping people lead healthier and happier lives through wellness. Previously, Josh co-founded Booker Software, which he built into one of the largest B2B SaaS providers in the wellness industry and sold to Mindbody in 2018. In 2021, Mindbody went on to acquire wellness unicorn ClassPass. Prior to Booker and Mindbody, Josh was a partner and president of Arbitech, an independent, global distributor of technology products that achieved $1B of sales under his leadership. Josh currently serves as a board member for Mindbody and for Compass, a Fortune 500 company that is the largest technology enabled real estate brokerage firm in the US.
But that’s not all there is to our esteemed new CEO! Behind Josh’s remarkable business achievements lies a captivating personal side. Josh and his wife recently celebrated 24 years of marriage, and they are the proud parents of two daughters, currently attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and the University of Miami. He’s had the privilege to visit over 50 countries, speaks fluent Spanish from his time working in Latin America, and is an avid Harley Davidson and motorsports enthusiast.
We sat down with Josh at ShipMonk HQ to discuss the future of ShipMonk, how to best help our clients reach their ideal ecommerce landscape, and for his thoughts on whether or not Budd is pulling his weight as “Head Monk of Fulfillment Services”.
What was it about ShipMonk that drew you into the opportunity to lead the organization as its new CEO?
As I was considering my next move after Mindbody, it was important for me to find a business with a mission and values that resonate with me, that has a solid leadership team and passionate employees, great investors, and drives innovation in its market. ShipMonk checks all of these boxes and more.
As I got to know the business better, I saw that it’s deeply focused on driving value to our clients and being a true partner, not just a vendor. This is evident in the excitement our team has for enabling our clients to take advantage of our technology and services, helping them “Stress Less and Grow More”.
As the industry evolves with new technology and demands for omnichannel fulfillment, having the opportunity to lead an organization that has revolutionized fulfillment for fast-growing ecommerce brands is a perfect fit for me.
Spafinder. Booker. ClassPass. MindBody. You’ve certainly run the gauntlet of leading SaaS based businesses towards the promised land. What drew you into the world of technology-based logistics? How will you leverage those experiences to drive growth and innovation at ShipMonk?
I’ve always been engaged with businesses that leverage technology to disrupt an industry, whether that was being at the first automotive ecommerce company, Autobytel, or co-founding Booker, which brought one of the first SaaS models to wellness businesses around the world. In between, I was a partner in a tech hardware distribution business, Arbitech, that earned recognition as the fastest-growing business in the US in Entrepreneur Magazine. We achieved that growth by infusing technology into a traditional business model and re-engineering the service from the customer backward, much in the same way that ShipMonk has done with its OMS and WMS technology for ecommerce brands.
Scaling SaaS businesses gave me experience with technology development and how to build a high performing product and engineering organization. While ShipMonk has a great tech platform now, we’re just scratching the surface of the opportunity to provide more technology products and services to our clients. As ecommerce continues to evolve and new technologies like AI/ML revolutionize technological capabilities, I intend to position ShipMonk as one of the most innovative providers in the market.
You’re the CEO, but you’ve described yourself as an entrepreneur at heart. Ultimately, ShipMonk serves a client base of world-class entrepreneurs. How will your experiences help them collaborate with ShipMonk to grow their businesses?
As an entrepreneur myself, I know what it’s like to go from assembling a desk, installing a computer network, then jumping on a customer call or being in the warehouse and packing an order. This experience helps me empathize and relate to our clients, which span small startups to high-growth businesses with hundreds of millions in revenue.
To help these businesses “Stress Less and Grow More,” my focus will be delivering on our part of the deal by accurately maintaining their inventory and ensuring their orders go out on time to the right location. In tandem, I will be working with our new Client Success leadership team to enhance our support systems and processes, in an effort to provide better communication and faster resolution. We will also be looking at ways to leverage new technology and omnichannel fulfillment services, including our duty-free import capabilities from Mexico, to help our customers drive sales and reduce expenses.
Ecommerce brands have had to maintain a focused resilience this year, in an ever-changing market. While the broader ecommerce trend is still growth positive, many are still adjusting to the “return to the mean” growth in the post-covid world. So adaptability is a central piece to their success. What advice can you offer towards “holding the line” this year to ensure success this year and beyond?
The last few years have been anything but normal and this has required ecommerce brands to adapt at a pace never seen before. Whether that was scaling up to meet the demands of consumers trapped at home during Covid, dealing with supply chain issues, or now finding themselves in a much softer consumer market, change is the only thing that has been consistent.
As we have progressed in 2023, most ecommerce brands are not growing at their prior rates and some are even seeing decreased sales. Despite their best efforts, the macroeconomic conditions we find ourselves in will likely provide headwinds for the next few quarters. I’ve been inspired by many of the customers I have spoken with who are using this time to dig deep into their businesses and find new opportunities. Some of this relates to their team or systems, finding new suppliers, or expanding into new product lines. It shows me that the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and kicking in our customer base and that, in these down times, you see the best come out of the best entrepreneurs.
The good news is that I believe we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and many experts say we should be through the worst of inflation, interest rates, and the general impact on the economy in the next 6-12 months. So, it’s important for everyone to use this time to position themselves for the next uptick in business and find the silver lining in our current environment.
Maintaining strong relationships with our clients has always been a part of the #teamgreen DNA. How do you plan to foster and strengthen these relationships, ensuring our clients receive best-in-class service and support?
Engaging with customers has always been a critical part of my role as CEO and is one of the ways I learn the most about our business and industry (the other way is by engaging with our front-line team members). While having conversations with our largest clients about our growth together is always exciting, I equally value speaking with customers about what isn’t going right and how we can improve our services. Over time, some of the best customer relationships I have built started with a call about something that wasn’t working right, so I have learned to find the opportunity in these conversations.
As part of my onboarding, I will go through our Client Success training and call shadowing with our CS team so I can hear the type of issues customers encounter and how we’re responding. I’ll also work with our new CS leadership to assess the tools and processes we have in place to ensure they are engineered using a customer-centric approach. The good news is that I know our team is already customer oriented, so that’s a great foundation to start with.
What has surprised you the most about your first few weeks at ShipMonk?
I have been most surprised (and impressed) by the dedication of our team members to serving our clients and looking at ways to improve our services. I spent my first few weeks visiting our operations in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Mexico. At each location, the team was excited to highlight new clients that recently launched, or different approaches they were taking with specific customers to improve our services. Even at our top-performing fulfillment centers, they were discussing new projects focused on incremental improvement. In some that meant using different processes for picking, utilizing new automation systems, or reconfiguring our sorting systems. It was clear they care about how their roles contribute to the success of our clients and to ShipMonk.
I left these tours feeling even more excited about our ability to improve our service quality while also becoming more efficient in our operations. If our best-performing facilities are already identifying incremental improvements, think about the benefits we will have across the entire network with every facility reaching our current “best in class” baseline and then improving from there!
ShipMonk, like many of our clients, has a geographically diverse employee team. Can you share any insights into your style of leadership and how you cultivate a collaborative environment across vast team distances? Any guiding principles that help keep the focus central to the mission, across the world?
Historically, I have said that my leadership style is “servant leadership”, but more recently I learned of a new term called “empowerment leadership” that better describes my approach. Effectively, this entails setting a vision and strategy for the company, reinforcing our values, establishing our priorities and goals (OKRs), communicating this effectively so every team member understands their role in achieving these, empowering them with decision-making and accountability, and then clearing the path so they can be successful. I have found that this approach leads to enhanced employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and generally builds a high performance culture.
Of course, when you’re dealing with numerous locations around the world, it’s important to use all of the communication tools available to us, like video, email, Slack, etc. to keep everyone connected and updated. I am a big believer in town halls, frequent product or department updates, highlighting wins from every corner of the business, celebrating anniversaries and customer milestones, and anything that helps bond our team around our mission. That said, nothing can take the place of being with your team in person, so in my first months at ShipMonk, I plan to get to as many of our locations as possible to meet with local teams.
What’s the #1 thing you’d like our clients to know about you as you start your role as ShipMonk’s CEO?
It’s an exciting time at ShipMonk and in the ecommerce industry overall. Customer expectations are changing and this requires everyone in the ecommerce value chain to adapt in order to survive and thrive. ShipMonk has been at the forefront of enabling ecommerce brands to scale and focus on their core products and driving consumer sales without making massive investments in fulfillment. A key part of doing that has been our investment in proprietary technology and building a world-class fulfillment operation.
My background, which blends ecommerce, fulfillment, and SaaS in startup and public companies is a perfect fit and will enable me to bring processes and systems I have effectively implemented in other high-growth businesses to ShipMonk. Ultimately, this will ensure we’re offering the best products and services to our customers, while fostering a work environment and culture that engages our employees. The best is yet to come…