Geoffroy Henry is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ofload, responsible for managing and scaling the business with a focus on sustainable sales growth, rapid client acquisition, thorough business administration, and strategic investor relations.
Geoffroy brings over a decade of experience across various industries, including finance, retail, ecommerce, and asset management. He also has an impressive history in the start-up sphere, having managed and led a company to a successful exit as Group General Manager prior to starting Ofload.
Starting his career in France, Geoffroy moved to Australia in 2014 and pivoted his career to explore his entrepreneurial talents. He has been growing and leading businesses ever since.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Geoffroy Henry: I started Ofload in 2019 as a digital tech B2B forwarding company, bringing transparency and trust back to trucking. We connect road freight to thousands of reliable carriers and manage it through technology. This means less waste and more data. At Ofload, we use technology to empower the long tail of carriers and achieve zero waste in trucking ensuring lower costs and full visibility on shipments for shippers.
Before founding Ofload, I worked in a range of successful start-ups in the logistics and education industries, paving the way forward for the Ofload business.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Geoffroy Henry: The most important learning for me has been that you cannot let uncertainty prevent you from investing in business growth. The toughest times for Australia and the world also present the greatest opportunity for the supply chain to innovate and find new ways to service our communities in need.
The pandemic has taught us that Australian businesses must embrace technology to be prepared for the challenges presented by the evolving business environment. By staying focused on operational efficiency and the growth this offers, we can navigate the twists and turns on our business journey.
At Ofload, we are helping Australian logistics shippers and carriers use technology to connect and organise loads in real-time. This allows businesses to adapt to changing conditions swiftly without starting the process from scratch.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Geoffroy Henry: Yes, the pandemic has shaken up the economy. However, this is not a bad thing. It’s forced us to look for newer, better ways to manage operations and improve the service that we are providing. The structures put in place today stand us in good stead, meaning the Australian logistics industry will forever be more resilient and able to handle future challenges.
My advice to businesses is to not shy away from the challenge that the pandemic has presented. It is an opportunity to adapt and grow; if you wait for markets to settle, the opportunity will be lost. In France, we say, “Little by little, the bird makes its nest”—meaning, regardless of what else is happening, it is only through continuous effort that you will get to your goal.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Geoffroy Henry: The logistics sector has been running the same way for as long as I have been alive. It’s incredibly analogue; carriers have a network of shippers that they have always worked with, so they call around, get a job, and do it. This is woefully inefficient and unable to adapt quickly enough when a driver might become sick and need to go into isolation with no notice. Here, an online marketplace that connects shippers and carriers in real-time has proven instrumental.
By embracing technology, the logistics industry stands to benefit in so many ways—from improved load efficiency by reducing the number of partial loads, minimising empty miles by enabling return loads, and decreasing our carbon footprint by limiting the number of empty trucks on the road, to modernising the process so everyone is spending less time managing jobs.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Geoffroy Henry: Don’t freeze. Whenever there is an unknown, everyone freezes and waits to see what happens before taking decisive action. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, we did the same—we paused our hiring and investment to see what the long-term impact would be. We started up again fairly quickly and managed to grow significantly throughout the lockdowns, however, the initial hesitation still cost us in growth.
The logistics industry will always be needed and difficult times create new opportunities for many growing businesses. Investment in technology almost crashed in March 2020, though it doubled by April, and this acceleration continued throughout the lockdowns. People need to adapt and the companies that enable this adaptation need to be ready but moving, not frozen in indecision.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Geoffroy Henry: As one of those online businesses, I expect this to continue. More and more people are realising that the old way of doing things is no longer the best we can do. By embracing technology and innovation, we can find faster, better ways to organise our businesses and realise the growth we are all seeking.
While I love being in the office with my team, we did not slow down during the pandemic. We were able to seamlessly connect and work throughout the lockdowns, as we are an online business at our core. This will continue to hold us in good stead for the years ahead, as being able to adapt to the potholes in your route is what separates businesses that succeed from those that don’t.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Geoffroy Henry: I start my day at 6:45am, reviewing emails on my phone. By 8:15am, I’m in the office splitting my time between meeting people from my team, customers, partners or suppliers. I tend to head home for some family time around 7:00pm, but log back on between 9:00pm and 11:15pm to tie things up for the day.
I spend about half my workday in meetings, and the other half split between my computer and phone screens.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Geoffroy Henry: Stories have a vital role in motivating a team and bringing it together. For me, they are a means to empathise with the challenges a group faces, so we can understand the problem and develop a solution that solves it instead of just going where the tech takes us.
This means we start our development from the perspective of the shippers and carriers that will ultimately use our technology and build out from there. An example of this is diving into the life of a small trucking business owner who is struggling to compete against the industry juggernauts and on the brink of bankruptcy. Old school methods of finding work by calling shippers are no longer working, staff members phone in from quarantine without warning, and state border closures change daily.
This viewpoint allows us to position Ofload within the world and navigate towards solutions that will tackle the actual challenges businesses face.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Geoffroy Henry: For me, one of the core challenges we are yet to face is the severe misalignment between consumer expectations and business realities. For the most part, consumers want life to return to normal in most ways, as COVID is viewed as being largely under control. However, the sad reality is that we are still in the early stages of feeling the impact of disruptions to the global supply chain.
Over the last two years, we have faced intermittent supply issues for consumer goods, however, borders reopening does not fix this problem. Many experts predict that the disruption to the supply chain will continue to impact the industry for years to come. The backlog of deliveries cannot be cleared overnight or even in a single year, because every moment spent catching up on the deliveries of 2020 is one not spent on the deliveries being ordered today.
With this in mind, the impact of the pandemic, and more recent disruptions, including the war in Ukraine, will have long-lasting effects. The sooner consumers understand this, the better prepared we will all be.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Geoffroy Henry: On a personal level, crypto is fascinating as it represents the digitisation and decentralisation of currency. While the current raft of speculative investment opportunities in this space does not interest me, the underlying technology is fascinating, and I don’t doubt that it will continue to grow and impact how we work. Unfortunately, I don’t have the capacity to dive into this technology right now, but I’m interested to see how it plays out.
Closer to home, hydrogen-powered vehicles have become an area of significant interest for me. Australia has long since been grappling with the need to shift its logistics industry towards more sustainable practices, however, the long distances between towns have made going electric very difficult. Hydrogen presents a solution that can span great distances without the need to wait for even greater developments in technology.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Geoffroy Henry: Australia’s tech sector has been drastically underinvested in for years. There is already a fight for talent, with developers able to have their pick of workplaces. The only way for companies to attract and retain the talent needed for survival is to create an environment and culture where people want to work as they see the contribution they make and feel recognised for it.
In Australia, we have seen a significant shift in talent over the last few months as people look for opportunities for growth and development in their careers. At Ofload, not a week goes by where we are not adding multiple members to our team as we scale up to meet growing customer demand.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Geoffroy Henry: Many people have a great idea that could become a successful business. The real challenge is building a team that shares the same vision and can execute the idea quickly.
With this in mind, I think the most useful superpower would be the ability to take great talent and instantly instil confidence, a try and fail attitude and a collaborative mindset within them. We have built a fantastic team at Ofload and continue to grow rapidly. Making sure that we do not lose our ways of working as the team grows, so we can continue to move quickly and grow would be incredible.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Geoffroy Henry: For me, success in 2022 is about preserving our business DNA as we grow. Ofload is predicted to triple or quadruple our headcount this year, so if I can maintain our company culture of egoless collaboration as we onboard so many new people, I will consider the year a success.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Geoffroy Henry for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Geoffroy Henry or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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