“Service is everything. It doesn’t matter who you are, what size your business is, or what you’re shipping cross-border. I want every customer who works with Forager to say, ‘Wow, they’re amazing. They take this seriously and they care.’”
Meet Beck Readhimer, Forager’s Director of Customer Success. A Houston native with a decade of experience at companies like Echo Global Logistics and Coyote Logistics, Readhimer is what we (and Forager’s customers) call a logistics superstar. Her team describes her as “amazing and supportive”, a “genuine, tell-it-like-it is leader”, and “Forager’s MVP” (which isn’t just a compliment, she actually was the company’s MVP in 2019).
So how did this professional problem solver, freight expert, and turtle-saver (ask her about her ecological stint in Costa Rica) land at a logistics tech start-up? And how has she created a best-in-class operations team in only a year?
A small world and big ambitions for cross-border shipping
Readhimer launched her freight career in 2011 at Echo Global Logistics and, a year later, began her seven-year tenure at Coyote. “When I first joined Coyote, I was put on an enterprise customer with cross-border freight. It was the first time I got to support a customer through their whole shipping experience, and I could use my Spanish – which I’d always wanted to do. I started to find my niche.”
Three years later, Coyote began turning that niche into a fully-fledged Mexico logistics division. Future Forager CEO and Founder, Matt Silver, headed up the process. “Matt and I crossed paths when he started the Mexico side of Coyote. I remember sitting with him in a corner of Coyote, blasting reggaeton and talking about cross-border logistics. We were making it up as we went. It’s pretty incredible to look back and see what the division became.”
Fast forward to 2019 when Readhimer, then at Uber Freight, got a call from her old coworker. “It’s funny how things work out. Matt gave me call, told me about the company he’d just founded, Forager, and how they focused on cross-border freight. It sounded exciting so I went in to talk with him. Turns out it was an interview and I got the job,” Readhimer laughed. “It was an easy choice to make. Domestic is kind of boring.”
Improving and amplifying an exciting team
Forager simplifies the many complexities of cross-border logistics through a combination of easy-to-use tech and specialized service. With a team of bilingual and multicultural logistics experts, there’s a lot of technical skill and know-how available to Forager’s customers.
Readhimer was partly responsible for building that team. “When I got here there was definitely room for improvement. There were, and still are today, active changes going on. It’s part of being a start-up, but a start-up can offer better service than a big outfit, and we do.”
Readhimer approached her team’s development through a combination of training, mentorship, and leading by example. She created processes to improve customer communication, suggested organization methodologies to avoid small but costly mistakes, and even spent a week with team members in Colombia to help them understand and use Forager’s systems. “I really love mentoring people. I learned a lot from my past jobs, and I want to pass that on. It’s about helping people learn and grow and amplify their talents.”
It helps that Readhimer is the first to raise her hand to tackle a new challenge. She’s always ready to step in if a team member needs to escalate a situation. “One of my mantras is lead by example. I like to exemplify the standards on my team, and that means I really do give it my all every day. I’m here to solve problems and to help us all succeed for our customers.”
How to build best-in-class service
With a decade of logistics experience, Readhimer has seen, heard, and experienced it all. “It’s amazing the balls that people drop, the corners they cut. I’m proud to be at a company that takes our work seriously. We go the extra mile for our customers.”
There are a lot of important qualities of a great operations team, but Readhimer homes in on three: organization, transparency, and communication.
For a $30B industry, cross-border logistics operates on a lot of emails, phone calls, and spreadsheets. Forager eliminates that inbox (and mental) clutter for shippers, but internal organization remains crucial as well. “I kind of see it as a circle of freight. There’s the shipper, the carrier, the customs broker, the customer- all these little pieces. We need to be organized internally and understand what each part of that circle does.”
Good organization doesn’t just keep the wheels on the truck. It also mitigates issues when things do go awry. Which, in the world of logistics, does happen from time to time. “Our team is trained to think one step ahead. So, if there’s an issue with a load for example, we’re already troubleshooting. What happened? Where did it happen? Who needs to be notified? How can we proactively correct the situation? Organized businesses like Forager make fewer mistakes. Organized teams like ours correct or avoid problems because we’re two steps ahead.”
Shipping freight can feel like herding cats if you don’t have a good operations point to take the lead. “Your communications need to be as clear and precise as possible, and sometimes you have to hound people to get your customer what they need,” Readhimer explains. Every now and then she also reminds her team to “idiot proof your emails” to make sure a haul goes off without a hitch. “I’m going to assume the person getting my email knows nothing so that it’s damn clear what I need on behalf of my customer. I’d rather someone tell me ‘You’re over communicating’ than leave someone guessing.”
Readhimer also applies empathy to freight operations. She asks herself, what would she like to know if she were shipping freight? How would she like to receive communication? “Sometimes things happen. If we need to share news that isn’t good, that’s okay. What isn’t okay is not saying anything. We always communicate with our customers and we always take the lead coming up with a solution.”
That’s an approach that’s shockingly unique to Forager. In an industry where there’s more reactivity than proactivity, Forager sets itself apart. “I think that’s where our customers see a big difference with Forager. We’re really a group of good people who care. If I were a customer, I’d gravitate toward that. I’d rather work with someone who is transparent and proactive than someone who gives some BS answer and then you can’t get ahold of them.”
From Director of Operations to Director of Customer Success- the open road’s the limit
Readhimer’s customers take notice. “Thanks again for the good work. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a freight operator as good as you, and I’ve been doing this awhile,” commented one shipper. “This is the smoothest our entire process has been yet. You’re organized and your daily emails are greatly appreciated,” shared a CEO and Founder. It’s why Readhimer will now bring her skills to a new position at Forager: Director of Customer Success. It’s not a far cry from Director of Operations, but Readhimer will support customers from onboarding to building their first load to delivery and beyond. There are a few details to define (Forager is still a start-up after all) but the result will be an even better experience for Forager customers.
Helping our customers, helping each other
Logistics and start-ups require a distinct personality. Readhimer is unique, but also one of many hardworking and invested professionals at Forager. She puts it in perspective. “Working at Forager has been one of the most intense, grueling, and rewarding times in my life and career. It’s worth it because we’re doing something special and I’m doing it with people who really care. We’re helping our customers, we help each other, and I’m excited to be a part of where we go from here.”