Beginning his career as a trainee accountant, Richard Thame, CEO of Fastway Couriers Australia, didn't take long to realise that accounting was not the industry for him. He moved into more marketing-based roles, learned franchising at McDonalds, branding at Greater Union, and online technology through Thrifty Car Rental and Sabre Pacific. Richard joined Fastway Couriers in 2008 and recognised the unique advantage the company had in being a franchised, low-cost provider in a growing market.
"The GFC knocked the traditional transport industry and the freight industry around, but I felt that franchisees as business-owners were able to be a lot more nimble, able to think on their feet, be a lot more reactive to change, and, as a result, prosper during tough times. While the big freight companies were really struggling during that time, Fastway actually did well, and that was simply because people were sending more parcels than pallets. As a result, people were also starting to look at their freight. We were able to get on the radar for the first time with companies that normally would have dealt with TNT or StarTrack or Australia Post, and quickly became recognised as a viable low-cost alternative. At the time, Fastway had a great network, but I didn't feel that the brand was as well recognised as it could be."
Richard ran the company's largest regional franchise out of Homebush, which has 200 couriers operating around Sydney. "Compared to a lot of people in these types of roles, I have actually been on the shop floor, I have run one of the depots, I have run one of the franchises myself; so it does give me a unique perspective. As I now sit in this role overseeing the entire business in Australia, I can say that I understand what it's like to be a franchisee, I understand whats it's like to deal with the day-to-day challenges at the coalface; and I think that is a really important experience in this kind of industry, because it is a very hands-on business."