At the beginning of his career, Mark McGinley was a businessman in the Northern Irish city of Belfast. Mark graduated from the University of Wales with a BSC in Politics and Economics and went straight into starting businesses. For 16 years he was a drink wholesaler, had a vending machine business, and owned a small chain of restaurants in Belfast.
In 2000, he visited Australia for the Olympics and fell in love with the country. “I decided to sell our business and move our three kids from Belfast to Sydney in 2002,” he reflects. He was planning on setting up his own business again when a friend who worked at CouriersPlease offered him a job in the meantime. “It was going to be temporary, but that was 15 years ago, and I’m still here.”
From a job in Operations to National Sales Manager, National Commercial Manager, and then CEO in 2015, Mark steadily moved up the ranks. Since he started, the business has evolved and turnover has doubled. “We’ve added at least 30% more franchisees,” he says. “We’ve increased our footprint by over 100%, bounded into more territories, and our staff has increased by 50%.”
To Mark, the three essential traits in a leader are authenticity, empathy and talent recognition. “Of course, a good leader will be passionate and hard working, but I still think authenticity and empathy are most important,” he says. “Good leaders surround themselves with the best talent possible. You do your best to put the right people in the right roles and act swiftly if that’s not the case.”
“Good leaders surround themselves with the best talent possible.”
In 2003, the head office had about five people – today, there are approximately 60. “The growth has been phenomenal over the past few years, fuelled by ecommerce and online sales,” Mark explains.
“Not only have we grown, we’ve gone through a transformational journey. Now, all our gross profit is coming from ecommerce and B2C online. It’s an ever-changing business, and there’s been a digital transformation process.”
Mark never imagined that he would find himself as CEO of a logistics company in Australia, but believes entering logistics doesn’t require a traditional skill set. “This industry is changing every day, so it doesn’t matter what you did five to 10 years ago,” he says.
“We’re constantly hiring a new type of person. They don’t necessarily have a logistics background; they often have an ecommerce background. The skills we require have changed in the past decade.”
Over the past few months, the company has also invested millions of dollars into automation and software development and upgrades. “We’re releasing our new CP Go app, which provides real-time, real optimisation that not only makes our franchisees more efficient but also provides consumers with greater choice, flexibility and visibility of their deliveries,” Mark explains.
“This industry is changing every day… the skills we require have changed.”
As a franchise business owned solely by Singapore Post, CouriersPlease must make sure its franchises are sustainable and profitable while delivering a profit to its stakeholders.
Ultimately, customer satisfaction is a priority. Visiting customers is an enjoyable part of the job, says Mark, which helps him gain an understanding of their needs and provide modern solutions.
“We value our customers as partners. I like getting out and meeting them, working with our team and our franchisees. I’m leading the transformation from a legacy courier company to a tech-based ecommerce company.”
Mark says that the state of change in the world of ecommerce has been phenomenal. “I’ve heard it said that change has never been this fast, and it will never be this slow again. There’s a divide in consumer expectations. Millennials and gen Z want choice, greater visibility and certainty in their delivery performance. We need to meet these expectations.”
In the coming months, the company will continue to invest in and roll out new technology, which Mark believes will lead to higher service quality. “The expectations of customers come at a price,” he adds.
“For example, the expectation in the market is free shipping, free re-deliveries and free returns. At CouriersPlease, we do not want to join the race to the bottom. We’re focused on providing premium services, quality and high value for money.”
Mark says that in the future, CouriersPlease wants to continue to develop its sustainable products and services, while using new transportation methods like electric bikes and electric vehicles.
To achieve these goals, the company must develop strategic partnerships. CouriersPlease partners with a company called Hubbed to offer 1,700 pickup and drop-off points throughout Australia, and its partnership with freight company Border Express helps provide more services to the market.
It also collaborates with Transtar Linehaul to move freight from hub to hub in a timely and safe way. Although there is undoubtedly the occasional roadblock while navigating the ever-changing industry, Mark chooses to focus on the things he can control and ignore the things he can’t.
“That’s one way to deal with challenges,” he says. “Also, there’s a lot of tragedy in the world; there’s always someone a lot worse off than you are, so I think it’s wise to put those challenges into perspective.”
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