Why I Founded Ship Simply
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
I’m excited to launch Ship Simply, helping to optimize, automate and simplify our clients’ entire logistics operation to reduce costs, streamline processes and delight customers.
Here is the story of how I’ve arrived at this launch:
Shortly after graduating from college, I helped create a brand of digital video connectivity products called DVIGear. I was immediately confronted with the difficulties of importing products manufactured predominantly in Asia, shipping domestically, and we had a large portion of clients buying our products internationally as well.
It was complicated to navigate air freight and ocean freight with various ports of entry. What is a consignee or a customs bond? Who is the broker of record? I need what kind of insurance?
We shipped out of a glorified closet in our posh Chapel Hill office, but with all of the product we had to buy from our international manufacturer, we needed additional warehouse space, off-site of course. We’d sometimes get pallets delivered to an office building where we shared the second floor with a venture capital fund. No loading dock, not even an industrial elevator; not a happy neighbor.
Back in those days, I’d answer the phone for technical support (and for any other type of call) and I’d run to the next room to see if we had products, telling the caller, “I checked the warehouse and they have the product. And by the way, on the way through the warehouse, I spoke to shipping and they can get the order out today.” In reality, all of those departments were departments of one: just me. It was hectic, but I learned pretty quickly how to organize product for efficient and accurate fulfillment, as well as select the correct shipping method when, for example, an order needed to arrive on a movie set the next day (It was The Island with Scarlett Johansson, by the way).
After DVIGear sold and moved to Atlanta, I started Riley Life Logistics in 2007. I had one client at the start and I’m proud to say that when I left they were still as happy doing business with us as they were when we were shipping out of my garage in our first few days.
Chris Bingham circa 2010
Over 12 years, through all sorts of struggles and triumphs both personally and professionally, I grew tremendously as a business owner. The business grew too — from my garage and that first client to occupying almost 250,000 square feet of space with hundreds of happy clients and about a hundred employees that stuck it out with me through some very difficult days. We were leaders in fulfillment for nationally televised flash sales and we fulfilled orders for some of the most exciting e-commerce brands in the world. But the best thing about Riley Life, and the hardest thing about selling and leaving it, was the relationships, partnerships and friendships that I built.
Like many people, I craved a “sexy” (or at least sexy-sounding) career -– maybe something in the arts or cutting edge technology. In that vein, I’ve tried to flee shipping and logistics several times in my entire career, but I keep coming back to it. While there are plenty of companies in the business of shipping and logistics, I’ve realized there’s still not enough help for companies that want to improve their supply chain, regardless of size or the number of shipments. Shipping and logistics is complex and it starts to get complex pretty early on in the life of a business. Brands that just wanted to launch a good product, solve a problem or even disrupt an industry, have found themselves dealing with logistics complexities they never wanted to understand. Getting those products into the hands of customers faster, better and more smoothly is where I excel.
At Riley Life, I used to have a saying: “Some people are good at dunking basketballs, and others are good at packing products in boxes; I didn’t draw the same straw as Michael Jordan.”
After selling Riley Life, I stayed with the company for six months and then I took some time off. I consulted for a few well-known consumer goods companies — the kinds that sell online and disrupt industries. I thought for sure these modern, sophisticated companies would have more advanced knowledge of shipping and logistics than I did, but they just didn’t. I kept finding value I could add – improving processes, significantly cutting costs and improving the overall customer experience for online shoppers of the brands. I realized that after seeing thousands of brands and over 100 million packages processed through my company, I had a unique understanding — and skillset — that allowed me to quickly look at the data and identify opportunities for significant impact and improvement.
I assisted these brands in developing a strategy for optimizing and resolution of the issues, and then I led the execution of the strategy. These companies saved very significant sums when I was done with each engagement and had improved their customer’s experiences.
The idea for Ship Simply came out of those experiences. I wanted to build upon what I’ve learned and the partnerships I’ve built over the last 20 years in a new way. Most business leaders’ perspective on shipping and logistics is negative — it’s complicated, hugely expensive and a headache, often leading to poor customer experiences.
My goal in Ship Simply is to build a platform that vastly improves that perspective and shows how through simplification, automation and optimization, your shipping and logistics operation can not only be less expensive, but can also be easier, more scalable and a help your customer relationships and not be a hindrance.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.