EP 274 – Travis Erridge – co-Founder and CEO of TMX Global – How the Metaverse Revolutionizes Supply Chain Innovation

by | May 15, 2023

The Asia Tech Podcast was joined by ⁠Travis Erridge⁠, a co-Founder and CEO at ⁠TMX Global⁠ for a deeply insightful discussion at TMX's Metaverse event at ⁠TDPK⁠ in Bangkok.

Some of the topics that Travis covered:

  • The genesis of TMX and how it morphed into a technology company
  • How businesses can leverage technology to drastically improve supply chain efficiency
  • How technology helps TMX collaborate with its partners
  • Some of the challenges for implementing the metaverse across the supply chain
  • Managing through growth and maintaining core company values and culture

Some other titles we considered for this episode, but ultimately rejected:

 
  1. We Know We’re Growing, but We’re Never Satisfied
  2. Building a Tech-Driven Future
  3. We Have Reached a Technological Tipping Point
  4. Employing the Metaverse to Simplify Complexity
  5. Creating the Supply Chain’s Future

Watch the video produced by Lexicon here.

Read the best-effort transcript

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Michael Waitze 0:00
Hi, this is Michael Waitze. And welcome back to a special edition of the Asia Tech Podcast. We have Travis Erridge. today, a co-founder and CEO of TMX Global. Travis, how are you doing?

Travis Erridge 0:11
Thanks for having me, Michael. I’m going good. It’s been hot in.

Michael Waitze 0:15
Well, it’s a bit warm in here, isn’t it? I mean, it’s 34 degrees outside in Bangkok. So yeah, obscene warm is it is what it is, before we get into the main part of this conversation, can we get a little bit of your background for some context?

Travis Erridge 0:27
Yeah, sure. So I come actually, from a property construction background, actually, and ended up in supply chain randomly. Past 2010. So I was part of the the group of people that got put out on the street through the GFC in 2008. And 2009.

Michael Waitze 0:45
I wonder what that feels like I was in Citigroup at the time.

Travis Erridge 0:49
And yeah, it was it was a fairly significant moment in my life, to be honest, and if anything radicalized me into this, making sure I’ll never put in that situation again. So for me, in 2010, took the opportunity to start my own business with a with a co founder, Milan, who the two of us used to work together, and with the aim of servicing clients, mainly in Australia at the time, and working through the industrial property needs.

Michael Waitze 1:17
Did you have a lot of experience with doing stuff internationally? Or was most of the work you’re doing at the beginning in Australia? In your old job?

Travis Erridge 1:23
Yeah. So in my first job, I did a lot of traveling for work. And I worked with ExxonMobil, actually, and traveled around the region. But no, mainly in Australia in the more formative years. So international wasn’t a thing. Yeah,

Michael Waitze 1:37
I want to spend a little bit of time talking about technology. Because my if I don’t wanna spend a lot of time talking about technology, when you started TM Max, was it part of the overall plan to morph into a tech company? Or is it something that just happened over time naturally?

Travis Erridge 1:51
Look, I don’t think I don’t think we ever had any sort of envision where we were going. We were trying to stay in the moment back in 2010. And really, between 2010 and 2014, we really just grew a core consulting business. But we soon learned and it was about 2014, that we worked out that we had to have a point of difference as a business and just having consulting skill wasn’t going to be enough, right? We grew and, and, and developed diversified our skills in terms of the people that were within the business. And we needed something to draw that together for the benefit of our clients and say we started to invest really, between 2014 and 2016. In technology, intellectual property, ways of doing business, how we could do things. And now as you as we’re about to launch the metaverse in in, in Thailand and Asia, we really started to look at collaboration tools that we could work together with. So you’ve

Michael Waitze 2:49
just hit on two things I really wanted to focus on. Can you define for us what you think the metaverse is, but also how you think it helps in this collaborative space? You know, one of the things we’re going to talk about is no one succeeds alone. Yeah, right. And I really believe that great businesses are client driven businesses, not idea driven businesses, per se. Yeah. So how does how do you define the metaverse? And then how does it help you in the collaboration?

Travis Erridge 3:11
Well, I think the point you just touched on there is exactly the point of the business, which is the client does drive what we do. And we’ve we’ve been lucky enough to have our first ever client still with us. 12 years on our second client still with us really is on Yeah. And so I think and they’ve been able to collaborate work together with us, which enabled us to look at what are the problems we’re trying to solve. And it became very clear that with a heavy data part to our business, so a lot of information in supply chain is driven by data driven by sales data, it’s driven by inventory data, how do we actually collaborate and work together was one of our biggest challenges that we faced. And so there’s two parts to it. One part was the complexity of the work that we were doing, and then trying to bring that into simplicity. So we can actually sell it to leadership and management be

Michael Waitze 4:01
here for a second yet, because we’re gonna talk about this too. This idea that something is really simple as simple on the back end as well. Yeah, it’s upside down. Yeah. To create simplicity on the front end, particularly for your clients. It has to be almost ridiculously complex in the back end, for them to make it simple for them. Yeah,

Travis Erridge 4:17
absolutely. And look, we had data scientists, we had one point we had nuclear physicists within the business, they could tell you the complexity what was going on. But that wasn’t how we won the work or developed the work. We had to get to a board level to a management level, and explain what the benefit of that was and what it actually looked like. Right. And I think ultimately, in 2019 2020, at the end of 1920, we started to really go into the investment of what we needed to do. It was in hypercharged by the fact that COVID hit at the start of 2020 March. And what we used to do was actually we do the scientific piece of work we’d get on plane to client Sit down and show them examples of what we’re talking about. Right? We couldn’t do that for two years. So we went heavily heavily into how do we actually create within the metaverse an opportunity for people to be able to collaborate, think about develop, and actually, in real time, see what they used to see by traveling around the world.

Michael Waitze 5:20
So let’s dig a little bit deeper here. Sure, because this is really important. How do you take this bleeding edge or leading edge technology, right? Like the metaverse and create these really immersive experiences, so that the clients can actually feel what the output is going to be when they’re done? Does that make sense? But also, we talked about simplicity, yeah, also maintaining this ease of use for them, right? So they’re not like, I don’t want to go in there and do that thing. But like, how can I make myself more efficient by using this tech? Yeah, well,

Travis Erridge 5:48
look, I think we’re very lucky. We had a head designer called Tom Yang, who, who’s here with us, in Thailand, who he did a lot of designs for us. And a lot of the challenges that we faced was how do we actually present that someone that doesn’t understand, you know, scaling, being able to think about things? But how do we do it on a simplistic nature, that we use all that really complex data and turn it into visual tools that people can actually see what they’re going to do. So the complexity of what Tom and the team have put together is taking that really complex data and information teeing it into you and I sitting here and talking to each other, but the other that that really was the design part of what we did. But then the second part we talked about in Melbourne is there’s a big shopping center called Judson shopping center. And what I what I sort of asked for the team to think about was, how do we create the chanson shopping center of supply chain? Right, so how, and what I meant by that is, how can we have a single place where everyone can go to where our suppliers where our, our transport visors, where our designs, conceptual designs, you could go into a shopping mall, and touch and feel every one of those. So you can go and touch the automation consultant designer, number one, automation number two. So

Michael Waitze 7:07
what you’re saying is just so I understand, instead of waiting for somebody else to build this yet you went out and built your own. Absolutely, your clients would come in not only virtually in other words, if you one of your clients was in Europe, and one of them was in South America, one of them was in North America, instead of waiting for that you build something in Melbourne are in your hometown. Yeah. And said, don’t worry about it. Come here. I will show you what this looks like physically, but then also digitally. Absolutely. To see it. I want to make the distinction, sorry, between the digital twin. And the metaverse because I think people don’t understand this. A digital twin is twin is a thing in time. Yeah. But the metaverse is just this ongoing living thing. Is that right? Yeah,

Travis Erridge 7:45
absolutely. I mean, digital twins been around for ages. So we’re not inventing digital twin in any way, shape or form. What we’re actually taking is the concept of a point in time piece and actually turning it into a real time collaboration. So and the point of the metaverse and what that allows us to do is we can expand quickly, and actually scenario test inside that space. So in the future, and we’re working heavily on this, how do we start to simulate scenarios? So it is a simulation tool, where we can actually get what what you will see touch and feel in two to three years time, you can actually touch and feel today.

Michael Waitze 8:22
Right? I want to talk about collaboration, because if you believe that collaboration is really important. Everybody has to be involved. Yes. And I want to give you an example from my own life. I’ve got two really good ones. But let’s start with the first one. Yeah, when I was in college, I sorted mail is one of my summer jobs for the US Postal Service. And I literally went into what was then a mail warehouse, and just had all these stands that were organized kind of haphazardly. And in my mind, I had to arrange them by zip code, and literally move them around to make the sorting, essentially the picking and the packing of the mail. Easier. Yes. And the gentleman with whom I were working, these were not these these guys were not as good as I was doing that that type of role. But they also need access to these tools. Yes. So if you really want to collaborate, you have to make it as simple for those guys and gals, as it was for as it just for everybody else. This is for the technologists. How do you do that?

Travis Erridge 9:15
Yeah, well, it’s. Yeah, this is the metaverse itself does allow for that simplicity of touch and feel. Be in there. Yeah, it’s absolutely

Michael Waitze 9:25
I can literally the reason why I brought this up because it’s like, oh, and can we do this thing? Can we move that around? You can show them why it works and why it doesn’t work.

Travis Erridge 9:33
Yeah, absolutely. And look in a one drawings and people understand no one understood the you then went into the 3d and people still didn’t understand, actually immersing yourself in the space. Yeah, but actually then having the database team that built which is actually photographic, real time pictures of what they’re about to touch and feel. You can actually you know, we’ve designed elements within there where you can actually pick boxes out You can put them on conveyors, see what happens, we can start to determine when we’re going to have clashes, we can start to train people into their future facilities. And I think what’s really important to understand is a lot of these complex automated facilities, they can take anywhere between, you know, 24 to 48 months to develop, right, from concept to completion, right. And so, and some of those have been over a billion dollars worth of investment, I mean, for clients, so yeah, how do you convince them that this is the right element? Well,

Michael Waitze 10:33
that’s, that’s what I was gonna ask you. It’s like, if I’m dropping a billion dollars on a building that I’m going to use for the next 20 years, let’s I don’t know how long a distribution center last

Travis Erridge 10:41
20 Yeah, right. It better be right. That’s right. It better be right. And so that inertia for change or making decisions. And look, Australia has led the world with some of these things because of the cost of labor in Australia and the availability of labor, right? So so you’ve had to innovate, you’ve had to change. What we’ve seen since COVID, is the consumers forever change. People are buying things off their phones off their computers, you’ve got infrastructure in within supply chain that’s miles behind where it needs to be. And so the need to innovate and change is never been more apparent in supply chain. But how do you do that? When I’m trying to convince you to spend a billion dollars of your money, exactly something you don’t know if it’s going to work? So the point of the metaverse is I can create a virtual environment, I can create scenarios and I can simulate what’s about to happen.

Michael Waitze 11:33
Can you talk to me a little bit about the experiences you’ve had actually with people that you’re trying to get buy in from? Yeah, I’m super curious about this, right? Because we can sit here and talk about it, we can theorize about it. But at some point, someone’s going to be in the room with you and think I get it. Yeah. What is that? Like? What are those conversations like with other senior people when they have to make that decision?

Travis Erridge 11:53
Look, I think, in the past, we’ve had this inertia for decision making, you know, someone has to physically go and ask for this money to put their neck on the line. And that sort of went up the tree and went around. And then we’d go on these world tours to look at other opportunities and try and collaborate together. What we’re seeing now is people get it immediately, right. So what we would talk about, you could do all the spreadsheets, you wanted all the all the workbooks that you wanted, I can now physically say forget that. Just come into this room, put these goggles on, this is your new facility. This is Option A come next door, here’s option B, and he’s often say, and here are the financials that sit behind those, here are the risks. And here is the timelines to sit there and they can understand it. Do you

Michael Waitze 12:40
remember the I want to get back to kind of the first question we talked about? Do you remember the first time you put on the goggles. And you looked around? Even if it was just like the beta version of the software you’re developing? And you’re like, Okay, this is different. Even I just gotta chill thinking about it. Do you remember that feeling?

Travis Erridge 12:56
Yeah, look, I think when I first joined, take it off again. I think we got this. As I say, Tom Yang came to us and said, Can I have some money and some time, I want to put together something because he he’d done a lot of design work with us, and a lot of business case work. And he really said, How do I make this simpler, and Thompson Innovator of the highest order. And so he sat down and said give me three months, and I’ll put something together, you put the goggles on, have a look at it. And yeah, I do remember the first time I put them on, I was amazed. And when we played around with virtual reality, you know, falling over on the floor thing going on a roller coaster, all those sorts of things. But I was just in, he put a high bay warehouse, which is about a 30 to 40 meter, high crane based warehouse, okay, and put it in scale. And I remember walking in scale,

Michael Waitze 13:45
which means that it felt like it was the exact same size it was in real life. So

Travis Erridge 13:49
you’re sitting there looking at 40 meters, and then you can actually climb through the warehouse at 40 meters to scale. It was amazing. It’d be

Michael Waitze 13:58
super cool. If you could simulate the What’s that? What’s that thing called? Were you on a high level? You look down, you get a little bit nervous? Yeah,

Travis Erridge 14:05
definitely. With that. That’s vertigo feeling. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely. But what was amazing about it was, you know, we didn’t quite understand what we were trying to achieve. At that point. We were saying this is going to be simple. What it actually turned into not only was it a visualization tool, it was also an operational tool for safety, and a speed training, glass detection training. You know, how can we how can we take a client on a journey that normally took two to three years we could do in 10 minutes? Right. And that is the speed that we could go

Michael Waitze 14:39
when I first started learning how to drive right? Yes, in Philadelphia. Yeah. And because my birthday is in the summer, I didn’t turn 16 until July. So all of my driving learning happened in the winter was in the snow. Yeah. And I just thought the first time I went up on the highway, I mean, back then there was no virtual reality, but when I looked back at it, I think it would have been way safer. I wasn’t actually on ice. But I think what you’re suggesting is the same thing from warehousing distribution centers. And all the other stuff that you’re working on is that if you can simulate it in an environment, we can really test stuff, push things to the limit, and then make a decision. Should it be like this or like that. It’s way more effective.

Travis Erridge 15:15
Yeah, look, we had, we bought a business back in 2020, called exact solutions. And our company was called TM insight and putting the two together became TM x, or 10x. Global, and what that that business had about 10 years or 12 years of data that they created, whether it be automation data, freight logistics, data, property data, we combined that with a lot of the data that we had. And what we said was, how can we create a competitive advantage for our clients to be able to draw upon that data, but in real time, collaborate, be able to see it be able to work through Okay, what if I change this? What is the impact that I had? So while submitted versus the thing that people are seeing, the power that sits behind is the databases that we’ve created to actually generate quick real time decision making. So not only a design database, but also information database that allows us to make quick decisions and turn things around quick.

Michael Waitze 16:10
I mean, the design in my mind, and again, tell me where I’m wrong. But the design in my mind is really just the tip of the iceberg. Right? Yeah. Because even before you start using it, what if when you start simulating activities inside of that environment, you can gather that data as well. Yeah, how far is it? How fast are we moving? How high is that? Yeah, how heavy is that? What kind of leverage does it take to move that around all of these things? And then once you do that, and gather all that data, that’s part of the sales into the people got to spend a billion dollars to build a distribution center.

Travis Erridge 16:39
Absolutely. But I think the key part is, it’s a massive competitive advantage. They can actually they can go, what they would normally have to build a significant team, and then spend four years developing, they can do it quickly. And they can do it as a competitive edge. So for us being a client led business means we actually, we actually want to create a competitive edge for our clients. And we want to have the best in class within our business. Do you

Michael Waitze 17:03
ever think about you? Because you’re probably not selling from CEO to CEO? Right? I don’t know if you are, but let’s say you’re not Yeah. Do you ever think about what is the type of information I need to give to the potential client so that they can go up the chain? Yeah, absolutely. Because they need to do impressive things as well. Right.

Travis Erridge 17:21
Yeah, that’s right. And I think, you know, our view has always been how do we collaborate and partner with our clients? Not? How do we become the client? Yeah. And I think, yes, you normally start with an operational lens on it. So maybe a head of supply chain or something. But when we’re doing the business case, we will sit in front of boards and the executive leadership team. And that was the area where we fell down most of the supply chain, people could understand what we’re talking about, because they’re in the weeds and then go to a finance person or any chief executive officer that traditionally came from a retail background and trying to explain this thing that used to sit out the back. Yeah, but how

Michael Waitze 17:58
but how about this, right? You’re in a, you’re in a warehouse there astrologists. There’s wastage, there’s all this stuff, right? And if you can explain to them using data, you can actually visualize that data as well. Absolutely. That you can, you can minimize wastage, because there are plenty of situations right where a big business will say, Okay, we’re having to take on a new client, this client should have 25% margins. If it’s a billion dollar business, we make $250 million. Yeah, whatever it is. And at the end of the year, they’re like, it was 170. Yeah, what happened to the other 80. But if you’re simulating all this stuff, and gathering all this data inside the metaverse, you can actually look in little bits in places along the value chain and find out you fell down here. Yeah, cuz I presume let me just say one more thing. Yeah. I’m presuming that you don’t build and walk away.

Travis Erridge 18:42
No, no. Right. It’s an ongoing tool. Right. So it’s a really good point. Because when we started in that property building side of things, yeah, you know, we worked out that what we were impacting was about 30% of the supply chain costs, right? So when we can save $1.50 on the square meter read rate, it didn’t really have a massive impact on over time. Yeah, yeah. So so when we built the business, the aim was really to go into end and look at all the steps that have to happen from raw material all the way through to the shelf that now has become someone’s house, on the most part. So all those little touch points along that journey, we can now simulate that entire environment, we can understand where that where the pain points are, where the benefits are, what the investment looks like, versus a return. And we can actually now show it to people.

Michael Waitze 19:28
Once you do this, right? Let’s say you go through you, you get buy in from any company, they build a new distribution center or warehouse with you. You’re not done. Not. So is there a services business on top of that, that then says From now on, we will help you gather all this data, accumulate all the data, build a data lake for you, and help you do continuous data? Because this isn’t real time? Yeah. Again, different from a digital twin, right? Which is just like, here’s what you got. But what you’re saying is this thing is alive. It’s constantly producing data and producing information for you to get better. So if you do that services as well,

Travis Erridge 19:58
yeah, so the the The aim of being able to put these tools together like the metaverse means that we can collaborate in a longer term environment that actually says, we’ve done this big transformation. Now we’re going to optimize, right? And optimizing means that business is always changing. The infrastructure is hard to change and slow to change, right? So if I could point forward, and the big change is AI, and predictive now, right, so So you got these big data sets, all these clients have got significant data. So the question is, how can I use that data and predict forward rather than looking backwards. And when we’ve built in the past networks, or what that supply chain should look like, we’ve taken a guess based on growth, we’ve taken a guess on on, we’re guessing anymore, that you can actually then predict what’s going to happen. And I think one of the exciting bits is combining offline and online data for retailers. Now to understand who’s buying their product, when they’re buying it, when you’re going to buy it right means that a lot of retailers are now switching into pushing demand at you, right, they’re actually going to tell you what you’re going to buy before you even know. So you only have to look on your, on your Internet and other things. They’re actually pushing product at you which from a supply chain perspective, we can then predict what’s going to happen. And we can predict when the problem is going to occur, which means we can fix it before it happened before it happens. So I think one of the one of the big parts to this is reactive change is the biggest issue for all clients. And if the if the consumer changes, the ripple effect that it has all the way back to sources significant faster. So if you could predict what’s about to happen, you got a proactive

Michael Waitze 21:37
chance. Yeah, they can ask you this to see if you have proactive change. Yeah, you can simulate growth. Correct, right. So if I’m doing 20 million units, let’s say you got it. I’m just making numbers up, right. But I’m project projecting 40. I can just go right into the software and just go let’s wrap this thing up slowly. Yeah, and see where things break. Yeah. Is that true?

Travis Erridge 22:00
Yeah, it is. And one thing that people don’t really understand is one of the biggest constraints typically is manufacturing. So manufacturing, how do I manufacture that they’re designed to be lean mean and fast, right. And so when people stop buying, or they buy too much, you can’t buffer for that, that change. But if you can predict what’s about to happen, then you can stock build, then you can think about where I have product at the right time. One of the biggest challenges for retailers at the moment was people don’t realize the online boom, that’s happened since COVID. The biggest issue is having inventory in the right location at the right time. So yeah,

Michael Waitze 22:37
cuz everyone says one hour delivery, but it’s only one hour, it’s nearly to zero, right. And

Travis Erridge 22:41
I think one of the biggest issues for retailers is customer experience now. So if you sell something, and then don’t fulfill your promise, you lose that customer, right? So the answer on a supply chain lens is just have product everywhere, right? So we just, you know what that is that’s working capital that’s costing a fortune. So if you start to predict forward, you’re looking at between 10 and 20%, cost of savings on the supply chain. And these are on companies that are 10 Billion US dollar.

Michael Waitze 23:11
And again, that gets us back to the conversation we’re having before where if you’re expecting a 25% margin? Yeah. And you’re only getting an 18% margin. That’s 7%. I mean, frankly, the 1% is huge. Yeah, but that 7% is massive. Yeah, if you can control that.

Travis Erridge 23:25
Yeah. Well, that’s a real life. So using technology for real life problems. And I think, you know, it’s not gimmicky, right? That people look at a Metaverse and go, Wow, that’s excited. Get in there. It’s purple. We’re not actually stopped. When they stop and think about go, well, what could I actually do? You know, and we’ve now got clients that are turning their existing facilities into the metaverse working out how they can optimize all the way through to a brand new facility, which is four years away. So you’re getting that incremental benefit all the way through?

Michael Waitze 23:55
Do you feel like the services side of the business is getting stickier and stickier as you go along? You said before, you don’t want to be the client yet, but you want to be as close to the client as you possibly can. When you when we talk about partnerships and collaboration. When I think about this, I think I don’t want to do something like I don’t want to one nightstand. Yeah, I don’t want to build your building and walk away. And again, I think about the house that I built in Tokyo. Yeah, it was awesome. It would have been so much better if these tools that existed. Yeah, because I had to conceptualize and I’m very bad at this, like, should the bathroom be there? No, it should not. And luckily, we didn’t put it there. But the one thing that didn’t happen was that after the house was built, I mean, everybody just walked

Travis Erridge 24:33
away. Yeah, they come back and check, but you’re really partnering. Yeah. So one of the things that we really changed as part of this, so having tools allows us to partner and collaborate. That’s that’s the key part to it. But it doesn’t take away from the expertise that you need to get things going. And it should never take away from the fact that our job is never done. You know, I think that’s the point. The point is that I’ve built a new facility in the past people have just walked away. And people have not achieved what they said they were going to achieve. Because all the things you’ve talked about that haven’t taken, well haven’t tested and simulated, yeah, sorry. So there’s a whole change management bit to this, which is important. But also, we want that data feedback so that when we do the next one, it’s more accurate, right. So so what our, our view on predicting forward using AI using predict predictive analytics, we want to test that that actually happened and improve our predictive analytics for the future. So

Michael Waitze 25:26
I keep trying to come up with a way to ask this question properly. Yeah, I spent a lot of time thinking about this. Right. But because it’s in real time, where this is very different, and things are getting super different, right? We used to do out we used to do algorithmic trading. Yeah. Right. So I like to make analogies to this because I don’t think what you’re doing is that much different as things are going across the supply chain, you’re monitoring them, you can also back test it, you can future tested, if the market moves in a way that’s different. But you have to always be watching. And you also have to be, what’s the right word? Iterating. In real time. Yeah. So even when you’re building, right, you could say, oh, my, we missed that album. But and we it’s a week, but you missed it. Yeah. Now they missed it. We missed it because we collaborated from the start. How tricky you are sophisticated and complex is that?

Travis Erridge 26:15
Well, it’s a real problem, right? So so we in the past, when we’ve built these facilities, as I say it takes three to four years to build them. Yeah, we’ve taken assumptions. We’re halfway through and a client has actually, I forgot to tell you, I forgot to say we’re buying a business always selling a business or we’re doing something, you know, what does that actually mean? Right? Running a revised model back in the day was like, it took me about three to six months, you guessing the building’s going to have to just take a punt, right. And that’s, that’s a pretty dangerous and expensive process that you’re about to go. But now

Michael Waitze 26:47
you can literally like flip the roof off the building. Just go okay, look, let’s look at this together actually do Yeah. Should we add this thing over here now? Because that whole process is going to change? Right?

Travis Erridge 26:55
Absolutely. So it’s within hours that you’ve got a decision now, you’ve understood what the impact is, what the clashes are, we’re going, but you’ve also been able to say what is possible and what’s not possible, because in the past, you’d default is we can’t do it, you’re gonna have time to do it. Now you can do it. Now, the frustrating bit for a lot of the problem is some of the other elements are developers and suppliers or product, they’re probably not as nimble as some of those things. So to make some of those changes, so the question I’ve got is heavy collaborate one tool together, right? So you got people based in Australia that are providing automation, you got people based in China that are bringing in technology? How do they collaborate in one space? Do

Michael Waitze 27:36
you feel you’re at a technological tipping point, where there’s going to be a secular change in the supply chain industry, where the traditionalists are gonna slowly but surely get replaced by the, I don’t wanna say just technologists, but so that their mindset will change as well. And they’ll just think, where 30% done. But I mean, we could change the rest of the 70% of this to make the entire thing completely different than what we thought.

Travis Erridge 28:00
So since we started in 2010, to where we are today, go ahead, you know, at the start, it was rusted on all the, you know, operational people

Michael Waitze 28:09
out there, right, because that’s what they

Travis Erridge 28:11
knew, like, super what I’ve done these for 20 years, don’t tell me how to do anything. We in the last three, three to four years, if we turn up to a meeting with the rusted on operational people, they say, Where’s the smart data people? Right? Where are they? Right? You know, I’m employing you to be the smarter people in the room. And so the age group, the types of people that we’re bringing into the business, but you still have to combine it with operational experience. So it’s that blend of what’s happening, but it’s definitely shifty, right. So data is playing a huge part that the smart next generation coming through frightening in terms of the how they think about things. And it’s exciting. I’ve never been more excited in while I was

Michael Waitze 28:53
just about to say that. I feel like it’s gotta be the most exciting time to be in this business. Yeah, because everything’s changing and anything is possible. Yeah.

Travis Erridge 29:02
Well, we came from a supply chain that was a thing out the back and no one talked about nobody wasn’t we went into an experience that you had, what we actually saw was this whole COVID bought a light on it, but he had been moving for a period of time. And now you know, I talked about we were in supply chain for a sexy now everyone wants to talk about it. We’ll we’ll have our time in the sun. And then we’ll go back to something else that EECOM you know, consumer change omni channel execution, how I get product. You know what all the consumer wants is I want the product when I want it, how I want it at the right price at the right price, right? And so how do I create that experience for people? You can only do it with a strong, strong and nimble supply chain.

Michael Waitze 29:43
Does Australia benefit from the fact that it’s so far away physically from everything else? So the necessity to build tools that allow for virtual collaboration are just way more necessary they would than they would be even in the US for like just going from New York to Tennessee. It’s just not that far away. You live there?

Travis Erridge 30:00
Yeah, look, I think we were, we were shocked at the start of our experience, we would go overseas and look at networks and ideas and thoughts from the US from Europe and from Asia, right. In the last, in the last couple of years, you know, picked up work in the UK and picked up work in the US, we’ve picked up work in Asia, because of that complexity of supply chain in those big distance, small population, you know, cost of labor. So all the things we’ve had to innovate now for five years hard within that market, maybe longer. The rest of the world now, because of the consumer changes now having to do the same. So where labor was cost effective, you just throw more people at the problem. They’re not available. They’re not as cost effective as they were. And now you’ve got a consumer that wants it anytime the day when they want it. So automation, and digitization is having a huge play in prioritizing when you when you create an order what you do how you fulfill it. So it’s sequencing properly, to be able to get product to you when you want it and how you want it or to be able to communicate with you that that can’t happen. It’s tomorrow,

Michael Waitze 31:06
before I let you go, what does growth look like to you?

Travis Erridge 31:09
It was pretty scary. I’ll say, I’ll say that. So scary in a good way. And then exciting way and good for the team. So eight out of our first 10 people that joined the business and two are still here, within the business. And so back in 2010. Yeah, yeah. So for us, you know, it’s a legacy piece for us. Now, we want to continue to grow and develop this business. We want to continue to really go towards that digital solution component of the basics, we see that as a point of difference, you know, growth for us. We’ve got 30 million people in Australia in New Zealand and produces about 90% of our revenue at the moment, right? So in Southeast Asia is 660 million outside of China and India. 2.52 point 6 billion people with those two, you look at Europe, you look at the US and you go this is like the scalability of this business is significant.

Michael Waitze 32:02
It is significant. And now that it’s a tech business, yeah, that’s even more significant. Yeah. Um,

Travis Erridge 32:07
I think one thing to note, though, is Asia plays a huge part in that what?

Michael Waitze 32:13
Have you seen that? That that map? Yeah, where there’s a little circle on it that says there are more people inside this circle than outside? That’s all right. So that’s what your

Travis Erridge 32:21
goal is. It’s it’s a young tech. Smart. So yeah, that we don’t have in other parts of the world. Now this is going to generate that change for the rest of the world is going to come

Michael Waitze 32:33
from I mean, the median age in Asia, again, outside of China is way lower than it is in the US and North America and in Europe, yet, we haven’t seen a moment talking about Africa where the median age is 15.4. Yeah, and another 1.2 or 1.4 billion people.

Travis Erridge 32:46
Yeah, it’s frightening. And it’s at the same time. I think, you know, for us, it’d be lovely to sit back down and a few years. That’s just what happens. Right? So let’s do it.

Michael Waitze 32:57
Actually, one more thing before I let you go. Yeah. As you grow, how do you maintain culture? You said eight of the first 10 people that you hire to steal their their culture ambassadors? Yes. It’s so hard to maintain that culture as you grow. But it’s also really necessary.

Travis Erridge 33:12
Yeah, looking at and I think we’ve we grew so quickly, post COVID, 360%, the last two years. That was a massive culture problem for us, right? And so having the non negotiable things as a business that client first, right that is that is non negotiable. Always innovate, always be ahead of the curve. Always have good ideas, right? And let’s not have structure get in the way of growth, right. So how do we get it’s a great phrase? Yeah. How do we get people that know that they’re not gonna get in trouble for trying to grow the business, right? And if they put the client at the center, that’s how we’re gonna grow. So culturally, I think get rid of toxicity immediately. We had it and sorry, you’re out. But you have to it’s, you know, it’s the FIFO it’s filled in or off, right. So like, I think that’s the harsh reality, because that’s what our clients want, right? They don’t want bureaucracy, they want policy, get stuff done. They want to get stuff done, and they want us to do it. Right. And so I think, and always be learning, innovating, thinking, and if you think and never look in the mirror and start admiring yourself and I think that’s, that’s a real humble, you know, quality that the business has, you know, we know where we’re growing and we’re a massive point of difference business, right, but we’re never satisfied ever, you know, and I think ultimately, we always want to keep improving. That’s what our clients want.

Michael Waitze 34:34
That’s the best way to end Travis Erridge, a co-Founder and the CEO of TMX Global. Thank you so much for doing that.

Travis Erridge 34:42
Thank you so much for having me.

 

 

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