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Sprocket Express was founded in 2005 by Dan Cence. Dan was the former IT director for Polaroid corporation’s global supply chain. The company was created out of the need to support the many entrepreneurs emerging from over 32 Universities in the Boston area. These entrepreneurs, armed with great product ideas and solid business plans, had only rudimentary knowledge of eCommerce infrastructure.
As Sprocket continued to evolve, they identified a opportunity to assist offshore eCommerce companies that sought to expand into the US market. With Dan’s understanding of international distribution, Sprocket was in a unique position to help these companies establish their US subsidiaries.
Today, Sprocket Express hosts approximately 110 clients. They have supported clients form Europe, Eastern Europe, Canada, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Argentina.
Below is our recent interview with Dan Cence, CEO of Sprocket Express:
Q: Which marketplaces do you support?
A: In addition to web based B2B and B2C sales, we also support Amazon, Ebay, Proforma and EDI based Retail. Our robust API makes integration with new marketplaces simpler.
Q: What makes you the best choice?
A: We won’t always be the best choice for your business. Our core competency centers on quickly shipping small (under 10 pound) consumer dry goods to end users worldwide.
We’re happy to help our prospects in making the right decision as to “fit”.
Q: Tell us something about the technology behind Sprocket Express?
A: Sprocket Express uses a “best of breed” strategy as it’s technical foundation. Best of breed affords us the option of picking functional software components and knitting them together.
As an example, we take order entry software from one supplier and interface it with a warehouse management application from another and shipping software from a third etc.
Supporting that capability is software that we’ve developed in-house to manage the process flows and to give our users a seamless transition from one application to another.
What this strategy gives us is an agility to be able to acquire new functionality without having to throw out the entire system.
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Q: You’ve recently been selected as a Top 3PL for 2018; could you tell us something more?
A: We’re a David to the Goliaths in the industry. With one exception, there’s only one level of management in the company. This gives our clients quick response to unconventional issues.
As a client, we’ll know you, and you’ll know us on a first name basis. Our size gives us agility and responsiveness, our flattened org. structure enables us to turn on a dime.
Q: What advice would you give a new eCommerce shop regarding fulfillment and logistics?
A: Information exchange is key to a successful working relationship. Any advance notification of upcoming events such as sales, new products, new markets etc. goes a long way in ensuring smooth execution.
This information gives us the lead time to prepare for business changes smoothly and efficiently.
Work with your fulfillment company to minimize issues that slow down the various steps in the supply chain. E.g. Having the manufacturer prepare a product for shipping as much as is practical to reduce preparation time in the warehouse.
Recognize that the preparation of products for ecommerce fulfillment is different than that of retail sales. Having your manufacturer design for these requirements is key to efficiency and your customer’s satisfaction.
As distribution costs can run from 8% to 25% of sales, any steps you can take to reduce costs hit the bottom line pretty significantly.
Q: What do you mean by “Real people, no tickets?” Why is this important?
A: When you have an issue, you won’t be given a form on a website to describe it. You won’t be left wondering if someone has read your ticket, and when your ticket might be addressed.
When you call us, you’ll reach a customer service rep. who is assigned to you, knows your business and can triage the importance of the issue. The rep. has direct influence over operations and will stay with your issue until resolved.
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Q: How about a fun story from your past clients?
A: This was during the Obama administration…
One of our clients came to visit one day and he brought along his 6-year-old daughter.
She was very cute and quite precoutious.
He introduced her to me by saying: Grace, this is Mr. Cence, he’s the president.
Grace said: “You can’t be president”.
I said “Why not?”
She said: “Because you’re not black!”
Q: What are your plans for 2018?
A: We are planning a “Print to Garment” capability to allow us to offer T-shirt printing on demand.Activate Social Media: