Australia, Companies, Features, Logistics, Supply Chain

Shiperoo style

Glenn Keast is a trusted advisor to Shiperoo. Image: Glenn Keast.

Figuring out the nuts and bolts of Shiperoo, a leading-edge 3PL disruptor through the lens of retail industry veteran and Shiperoo’s trusted advisor, Glenn Keast.

Shiperoo, the new brain child of supply chain techpreneurs Nishan Wijemanne and Rizan Mawzoon, recently paved way for a new era in third party logistics services by launching a tech-first retail fulfilment and returns management service redefining the traditional 3PL approach experienced by retailers. With a generous injection of more than AUD $30m in strategically located high-tech fulfilment centres built with dynamic first-generation robotic automation solutions and advanced returns management software, the founders have added another crucial layer to their growth strategy – a robust advisory team.

MHD sat down with Glenn Keast, Shiperoo’s trusted advisor and retail operations legend to learn about how Shiperoo is switching up the gear.

Glenn, what led you to take on advisory commitments at Shiperoo?

I have known Nish and Riz for more than 15 years, a connection that has built significant trust which is a pivotal element for me. Over the years they have proven that trustworthy relationships are built on the basis of exemplary solutions and an equally exemplary team, along with an inherent ability to back yourself with the results. Being able to trust someone that has got great intent is very critical for me.

Anyone in the industry who knows these two individuals well also knows about their uncanny ability to not take themselves too seriously, and that they have a bit of fun and they are never fazed during times of strong challenges. Their purpose of being and drive to achieve success for retailers was articulated very clearly to me right from the start when they conceptualised Shiperoo and I knew they were on to something good for our industry.

I also loved that Shiperoo’s innovative solution design would solve two critical retail challenges – fast, efficient, dynamic fulfilment and returns management, both with high visibility. Many 3PLs have knocked on my door over the years and I have not yet seen service that aids retailers to operate as efficient omni warehouse the way Shiperoo has proposed. The COVID pandemic as well as the advancement of eCommerce over the last 10-15 years has driven strong requirement around returns and e-fulfilment, and these are two challenges that have left retailers with too little to choose from when it comes to picking a 3PL or do it yourself. Both options come with more cons than pros due to the underwhelming nature of how 3PL service offerings are designed and how risky DIY can be. For returns in particular, there has been limited service offering for an end-to-end returns management provider, leaving little retailers to procure multiple service providers when what they actually need is an all-encompassing service.

How has your experience at Cotton On Group managing growth and operations helped with your advisory commitments at Shiperoo?

I think one of the attractions at Shiperoo were their goals and aspirations for growth, which was also what originally attracted me to Cotton On, which has grown exponentially during my times as COO. At Shiperoo, I can feel the adrenaline in their approach. The Shiperoo team does a tremendous job of understanding and researching individual retailers and the market dynamics through their robust relationships which helps them design next-level service offerings. It will be exciting to watch the Shiperoo team as they set out to become one of the fastest growing fulfilment and returns management providers in the market.

Based on your extensive exposure to technology in the retail industry, what input have you had in Shiperoo’s tech decisions?

The advent of omni warehousing has been on the rise over the past decade, and COVID pandemic has made it a necessity rather than a need for retailers. There are too many retailers and 3PL providers who are not quite knowledgeable in use of modern tech to facilitate omni warehousing. Since I was acutely aware of this limitation amongst retailers, the advanced technology that Shiperoo team had conceptualised instantly piqued my interest. The reliability to drive dynamic outcomes as well as facilitate growth for retailers is a perfect fit for just about any type of retailer. Retailers that partner with Shiperoo for their fulfilment and returns management will now be able evolve and make better decisions across their entire business from better in-store and online operations, favourable return policy and same-day shipping, through to revaluating product choices thanks  to the visibility offered by Shiperoo. Deciding whether to work with a 3PL or manage fulfilment themselves is easy as Shiperoo facilitates and offers both scenarios in the form a creative, never-seen-before service. There is now truly an opportunity for retailers to invest in a fulfilment player with the right tech and supply chain experience rather than just box shifting and getting products from A to B.

What are your aspirations and hopes for the retailers when it comes to a positive fulfilment experience?

Retailers should not have to worry about fulfilment if it is done well. Too often if supply chains fail, teams and suppliers try and change things without a holistic outcome. To me the Shiperoo service offerings across the board will allow retailers to just operate and sell product, with the confidence that fulfilment will just happen. Ultimately my biggest aspiration for fellow retailers is to work with a service provider that is committed to go above and beyond, and one that designs a solution for them rather than just invite all retailers into facilities that are simply a generic template for retail fulfilment. 

It is easy to recommend tech when you have been in the frontline of tech and tech creators. I have been fortunate enough to watch Shiperoo’s tech get designed and unfold in what they call their “dream facilities”. To me, this solution exposes retailers to a better way of doing things and helps retailers transition or transform their fulfilment strategy whilst mitigating risks associated with moving. It allows retailers to act now and get on with growth rather than solve things that they are not internally geared up to solve themselves. I am not here to be a brochure for Shiperoo. Instead, I am here to advocate what is best for retailers after having been an integral part of why the Shiperoo service has been designed the way it is.

Over the years, Nish and Riz talked about seamlessly connecting the consumer-facing end of retail with the supply chain end. How do they incorporate this connection at Shiperoo?

Firstly, ‘operational visibility’ and ‘access to information’ are paramount for retailers. Having too many systems procured to have access to various types of analytics that are not necessarily connected to the supply chain end can cause more damage and hamper growth by encouraging skewed business decisions.

Secondly, the timeliness of returns can help retailers drive a much higher value for product that has been returned. Currently the ‘returns’ area has experienced a rather underwhelming level of atention when it comes to the financial impact of returns. 

The Shiperoo service offers actionable reporting as a core offering. It has been designed to solve visibility challenges for all levels of retail teams including merchandising, product as well as operational teams to bring about a connected experience and make holistic decisions.

Why do you think that there has been a lack of players who have tackled the visibility and returns challenge head on under one 3PL provision?

A lot comes back to the ever changing world of retail. It is not a surprise that the consumer has been driving behaviours in the retail industry with their complex expectations on how they choose to get their products e.g. in store, or go online, or reserve them to collect in store and how they return them. So, the last thing that the retailers are often trying to solve is their supply chain, and that is the catch-up component that has been overlooked for many years. Eventually everybody will get there and there will be new challenges to solve along the way. However, Shiperoo’s take on resolving this overlooked component is in the form of an overall experience consisting of high-speed fulfilment, a complete returns management solution, reporting and visibility, with the goal of improving the landscape of 3PL service. To me this is a huge step forward.

What challenges do retailers face in the areas if fulfilment, returns, aged inventory and excess stock?

Returns can come from everywhere and they take a lot of time to get back to the retailer. The timeliness to get returns back from store or customer, the timeliness to process the credit and process it back to a shelf to be able to be picked from again is a true challenge that ties back to a retailer’s operational systems and efficiencies. Whilst there are numerous players offering what is termed as ‘returns processing’, there is far more to returns than just processing. It ultimately ties back to having a robust supply chain so the product’s value can be recovered and not lost to time, resources and processing mechanisms. With a full returns management experience at Shiperoo, all of a sudden we are talking about retailers being able to get their returns’ value out of the sunken cost basket and also add value to a customer’s returns experience where they are able to see their credit faster and build further retail brand loyalty.

Shiperoo is soon going to take their returns management service to the next level by adding a consumer-facing returns facility for retailers to offer their customers. This advancement is currently in the “stay tuned” lane and I am excited about it being launched soon.

Q How do you feel about the responsibility you have within the retail community?

I have had opportunities over the years to be involved in many advisory roles. My journey as COO at Cotton On Group has offered me significant opportunity and experience in managing and being part of  “growth and expansion”, which is a primary motivating factor for me when it comes to aligning my energies. So naturally, having an opportunity to be a trusted advisor and teach some of my repertoire to the Shiperoo team is exciting, as I know it is geared for significant growth. 

The other part of me strives to encourage emerging leaders, change makers and entrepreneurs in whichever way I can. Ultimately a great idea and a successful business have one thing in common and that is ‘good people’. I see my strong advisory alignment with the founders of Shiperoo as a pathway to ensuring that good people will ultimately create a good business and lift up the standards of service providers in our business community.

For more information on Shiperoo, click here

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