Seán Sheehan

Wise Tek Solutions

Wise Tek Solutions was founded in a hotel room in 2007 by former EMC employee Seán Sheehan. Sheehan joined EMC in 1989 as warehouse manager working his way up to operations management. At that time very little waste and defective products were recycled. This was becoming an increasing cost for companies and an environmental headache. Sheehan identified the solution developed the process that became Wisetek Solutions.

With more than 160 employees and European headquarters in Cork, the company provides contract services to the electronics industry. It offers a “one company solution” in reverse logistics, IT asset value recovery and full manufacturing services to the electronics/IT industry.

The company has an expanding blue-chip customer base which includes EMC, McAfee, Tyco, Dell, VCE, Option Wireless and Jabil, and has recently signed a European, Middle East and Asia contract with VCE for integration, testing and delivery of their newly introduced products.

In 2011 it opened an Asia-Pacific facility in Thailand where 38 people are employed, and last November it continued its rapid expansion programme by setting up a US presence in Franklin, Massachusetts.


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 a business from scratch. I keep that thought but by continuous planning and reviewing our current strategy we look to stay ahead.

When you succeed at something, competitors are quick to enter the space. A key part of our strategy is looking to how we can keep innovating 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 were the best and worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?

The best was to gather market intelligence as much as possible. For example, you can't spend enough time on your business plan and make sure it stands up to scrutiny.

Also, leverage experience. The amount of good advice and market insights that are provided by people such as Enterprise Ireland is invaluable. Never be afraid to ask people who have done it.

The worst was ‘don’t do it, you’re giving up a secure job’.

Do you plan to expand your operations into new regions within the next 12 months?

Yes, at the moment we are looking at the US, Brazil, China and the Middle East.

We see these regions as high potential growth areas where legislation and a more rigorous approach to environmental issues will mean a greater demand for reverse logistics.

Europe is ahead of the curve on legislating and regulating to protect the environment, but other regions – particularly those mentioned – are catching up quickly.

Do you plan to extend your services to a new customer demographic or penetrate a new sector in the next 12 months?

Yes. We recently signed a major contract with VCE. We also see major opportunities with high-end manufacturing in Ireland as a gateway to Europe.

We’re seeing manufacturing going back into the States as costs increase in the Far East and the time of delivery is slow.

This is good news for Ireland as we fit culturally with the US on language, innovation, time zone and are the natural gateway for them to do business in Europe.