When Carmit Glik finished her service at the Israeli Air Force at the end of the 2000s, she joined the recently-opened Maersk office as a temp worker. But what she had planned to be a quick sojourn at the Maersk company blossomed into a life-long career.
“I thought I would work there for three months and then travel the world for half a year. However, the industry drew me in, and I haven’t stopped ever since,” says Glik, the Chief Executive Officer of Ship4wd, a digital solution empowering small and medium businesses (SMBs) to do efficient and convenient logistics.
She has seen shipping evolve during the two decades she has spent in the industry. “It has changed, and to some aspects, it hasn’t. On the one hand, the same import and export processes occur when moving cargo. The way business has been done didn’t change much—the logic remained the same,” Glik told California Business Journal.
On the other hand, in the last decade, the startup community has been booming. “As tech companies spring to life, they bring business-to-customer thinking into the business-to-business vertical,” she adds.
Tech companies are not only changing how businesses think about but also how to improve logistics. As technology solutions seep into the sector, processes become more convenient and efficient. Today, technology empowers customers to easily interact with shipping companies on the supply chain, and through visualizations, they can always know exactly where their cargo is. This environment helps people better understand logistics, a convenience the market lacked two decades ago when Glik started.
“Undoubtedly, technology’s impact on our business manifests in improved customer experience. Today, customers can log into a platform and immediately look for shipping service prices and related fees. This has brought transparency into the business, which is a far cry from two decades ago when I started,” Glik says. Technology has also made dealing with red tape more convenient. Today, the industry is shifting toward no physical papers or stamps. This helps customers digitally view their documents, approve them, and follow all operational milestones online.
Disruption to Fill a Gap
Yes, there is still a gap in the market, which the Glik-steered Ship4wd aims to fill since its launch in 2021. “The majority of the market still works the traditional way and appears unwilling to change their behavior and start accepting novel, innovative tech solutions. There is innovation, but it’s not very common in the industry,” Glik says.
Ship4wd is creating a significant disruption in its space. Traditionally, the shipping world is dominated by Goliath carriers, who cast their net across global shipping long decades ago. As new businesses enter commerce, they face a logistics world that newcomers find challenging to navigate. However, Ship4wd’s platform delivers understanding and certainty to the world of these up-and-starting SMBs.
“Our tools support a segment that had not had a proper solution in our industry before we launched. Large corporations have ample tools and often dedicated in-house logistics departments to handle their commercial activities. With Ship4wd, we aim to make this know-how available to SMBs to help them kickstart their businesses,” Glik says.
How does Ship4wd help these SMBs? “Any SMB can leverage the tools and industry knowledge our platform provides for them. Ship4wd can cater to their needs in any scenario, whether they have one container, one shipment, or even just one pallet of cargo they need to ship. Regardless of the shipment size, they all get the same services right after registering for free with our platform,” Glik says.
Users can sift through a wide range of freighters, see the prices they offer, and book and pay for the services with their company credit card to imminently start the shipping process. After booking, customers can follow the operational flow and see all the significant milestones of the shipment. Once the goods are delivered, they receive the invoice and any related necessary paperwork.
Challenging Terrain to Navigate
In 2018, when Glik first in her career became a CEO at Cogoport, a global online trade platform, her main task was to introduce an up and coming brand to Europe—a challenge. She had to gain support and trust from suppliers and customers toward a relatively unknown company. She faced rejection daily. However, through her perseverance, she eventually introduced the brand to Europe and enhanced the industry with increased digitalization. Glik, despite the difficulties, found this stage of her career a rewarding experience, as she had the opportunity to create something new while positively impacting her industry.
Her perseverance and willingness to take up a challenge may be encouraging for many, especially in a world where only 4.8% of Fortune 500 companies are led by women (2022 August data). “It’s a sad figure; not a comfortable figure to hear, as it does not recognize half of our population. However, it’s a very complex issue,” she says. But there is a silver lining.
“It’s not all doomed, though. When I started 20 years ago, the business world didn’t discuss this topic. There were no female role models back then. Today, if a woman decides to progress in business, she has much better opportunities than two decades ago. We should maintain this discussion, as the way to make a difference is to make a change. And I believe that the change is coming,” she adds.
Ship4wd, with Glik at the helm, is already making significant changes to her industry. The platform is receiving good feedback, supported by a 90% retention of customers. Glik’s customers have voiced their appreciation for the tech solution, as they believe the platform advocates for their activities in a market where they had not received support before Ship4wd. The platform offers 24/7 customer support, even on the weekends and holidays. “Feedback shows that our customers are delighted,” Glik adds.
While Ship4wd has already stirred the waters with novelty, their pipeline is jammed with further improvements to create more waves. In June, they launched a ground-breaking credit line financial tool (subject to meeting eligibility conditions) that gives SMBs a 90-day payment window after the goods arrive, allowing them to sell the inventory first and generate funds to pay for the shipping later. Moreover, developers are working on a tool that allows customers to tend to the most complex customs processes, cargo insurance options, and inspection services to be tracked via the dashboard.
“So many things are in our pipeline to support our customers’ journey within Ship4wd,” Glik concludes. “In essence, we want to be their home, where they can find solutions to all their needs for logistics and financial needs—a one-stop shop.”