WiseTek Solutions is a market leader in the provision of reverse logistics, IT asset value recovery and manufacturing services to the electronics and IT industry in Ireland and, more recently, Asia. With an expanding blue chip customer base including EMC, McAfee, Tyco, Dell, VCE, Option Wireless and Jabil, WiseTek Solutions turns a cost into revenue with its one-stop approach to redundant IT equipment through re-use, re-sale and recycle.
Sean Sheehan joined EMC in 1989 as warehouse manager having returned from a three-year stint in Australia. By 1992, the Milford native had moved to operations management where reverse logistics was a developing concept in the electronics industry. At that time very little waste & defective products were recycled and this was becoming an increasing cost for companies and an environmental headache. Sean identified the solution to these problems and developed the unique process that became WiseTek Solutions. He’d also been no stranger to setting up his own business, having started one of the first successful internet au pair agencies with his wife Orla. With the full support of his wife, family and friends, Sean continues to bring WiseTek Solutions on a growth trajectory across the globe.
WiseTek Solutions was founded in a hotel room in 2007 by former EMC employee Sean Sheehan. Since then it has quickly grown an international reputation for providing a “One Company Solution” in Reverse Logistics, IT Asset Value Recovery and full Manufacturing Services to the Electronics/IT Industry.
The Company – named Emerging Company of the Year in 2010 and High Growth Company of the Year in 2011 – now has over 160 employees based in its European Headquarters in Cork serving its global customer base. In 2011 it also opened an Asia-Pacific facility in Thailand where another 38 are employed. Last November it continued its rapid expansion programme by setting up a US presence in Franklin, Massachusetts.
WiseTek offers a comprehensive range of services from Full Manufacturing, Reverse Logistics, Asset Value Recovery specialising in Environmental Compliance, Data Security and Brand Protection.
WiseTek Solutions’ clients include some of the electronic industry’s leading Original Equipment Manufacturers including EMC Corp – the leading provider of enterprise information solutions, including data backup, network storage, virtualization, and big data solutions.
The company recently signed a European Middle East and Asia contract with VCE for integration, testing and delivery of their new introduced products. VCE, formed by Cisco and EMC with investments from VMware and Intel, is a leader in converged cloud infrastructure systems.
MD Sean Sheehan anticipates significant growth potential for WiseTek over the next three years with aggressive expansion in geographical markets such as the US and Continental Europe and the development and expansion of market share in existing geographic markets such as East Asia and Ireland.
The global change in attitude to the environment creates opportunity for WiseTek as companies seek solutions within their regions to reduce their carbon footprint. Legislation is also working in WiseTek’s favour as companies are now looking for options that can manage their complete reverse cycle in a compliant and cost effective way while also delivering a lucrative revenue stream.
Turnover has more than doubled between 2010 and 2012 and is expected to continue on this profitable growth curve over the coming three to four financial years. In fact, forecasts show a threefold increase in turnover between 2012 and 2015. This profitable growth is expected to be achieved through expansion domestically and internationally in the US, East Asia and Europe.
– ENTREPRENEURIAL INSIGHTS –
What vision prompted you to start-up your business?
Opportunity in the market to solve a nuisance cost and environmental headache with a one-stop, revenue generating solution.
What were the best & worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
Best: Gather market intelligence – as much as possible.
Worst: Don’t do it, you’re giving up a secure job.
How did you secure your first investment?
We started off with a small overdraught but we quickly moved into positive cash flow by developing a cost plus model.
What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?
It’s always a back-to-the-wall moment when you leave a permanent secure job to set up from scratch. I keep that thought, but by continuous planning and reviewing our strategy we look to stay ahead.
What moment or deal would you identify as the “game changer” for the company?
Being able to offer the complete solution was the game changer and having a blue chip company such as EMC meant we had instant credibility in the market place.
What are the biggest challenges you face now?
Managing the growth and staying ahead of the competition.
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Providing a complete global compliant solution. It made our business scalable.
What top tips would you give entrepreneurs starting out today?
Information, information, information. You can never have enough market intelligence or plan too little.
Were there any early signs that you would eventually follow an entrepreneurial path?
My first business was a chimney sweeping venture in Milford with my friend Billy Kiely in our teens.
Has your “Irish-ness” contributed to your success?
Being Irish is a terrific advantage when working with and engaging with people from the US. Our heritage, personalities and friendliness match theirs.
When making a new hire, what key characteristics do you look for?
A team player and adaptable person who wants to bring the best out of themselves and the business.