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Customer Profile - DJS International Services Inc View all »

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Family Values in Times of Change

A third generation family business, DJS International is finding new and innovative ways to combine the highly personalized service of a small company with the reliability and efficient data management of a large company.

Darrell Sekin was just 13 when he started as a runner at his father’s customs brokerage firm, Darrell J. Sekin & Co. Founded in 1960 as one of the first independent customs brokerage firms and bonded warehouses in Dallas, the company rapidly built its reputation for friendly professional service, as Sekin learned about the industry from the bottom up, running documents between businesses and customs.

“I guess I got what you would have called in those days an education in the ‘ industry’,” Sekin says. “Back then it was about sitting down at somebody’s desk as they showed you how to do things, and that’s how I learned the industry early on, there was no formal or continuing education in the industry.”

In the days before computers, Darrell J. Sekin & Co. had a handful of typists who would produce multiple versions of customs documents, so Darrell, as a young messenger, could deliver them into the right hands.

“It was all hand typing, and we’d use calculators to calculate the numbers then enter them by hand,” he says. “It’s very different now, it is very highly automated. It’s really about making cargo move, and the idea is to provide a full end-to-end service to the customer, to give them the visibility they require regarding their shipment.”

For 20 years, Darrell worked in his father’s business, eventually managing the company’s Houston, Oklahoma, and Dallas offices, until the business was sold in 1983. But it didn’t take long for the family to get back into the game. Just two years later, in 1985, Darrell and his wife Marty established their own firm, DJS International.

This time around, Darrell was keen to maintain his father’s commitment to innovation and customer service, but wanted to provide a more streamlined offering, rather than the comprehensive warehousing and transportation solution on which Darrell J. Sekin & Co had built its reputation. But this wasn’t the only company tradition he was carrying on into the next generation.

“I can remember selling Girl Scout cookies in the office and the friendly nature of the people who worked there,” says Melissa Meyer, Darrell’s daughter and DJS International’s Chief Financial Officer. “There was lot of learning over the family dinner table, and some of the most important aspects of the business, the culture and the work ethic, and the value of hard work, were all things we learned at home.”

The challenge for Darrell as DJS International continued to grow, was how to remain competitive in an increasingly computerized industry, while holding onto the reputation the company had built for reliable, friendly service.

“I remember when we first started transmitting customs releases electronically, and that we weren’t really sure about it when we were sending the information. Then we would suddenly get an automated customs release sent back,” Darrell says. “Coming out of a manual system, it all seemed very strange, but now everything is done electronically, which means we can deal with a much larger workload from what is still a small office.”

Having tried a number of different software packages over the years, it wasn’t until DJS International adopted ediEnterprise that Darrell began to appreciate the extent to which good quality software could truly increase the efficiency of his business.

“We came from a world where we still had to print up data, and re-key in information, to one where the ediEnterprise system seamlessly handles all of the processes,” Darrell says. “In many instances our people never have to print up a document, they just work from the product code, and the whole thing is handled within the system. It was a major process change for us, and our employees were champions in the way they embraced it.”

This kind of increased efficiency has only enhanced the capacity of DJS International to maintain its commitment to high levels of customer service and staff retention, traditions which the family is planning to continue to carry into the next generation.

“What came from the original business, is the way we treat people, and it’s still a continuing characteristic of the company, in spite of all the regulatory and technology changes going on around us,” says Melissa. “We treat people the way we’d like to be treated ourselves, and that respect is something we’ll always have a part of our company.”

DJS International Services, Inc. Offers Customers:

  • Over fifty years of freight-forwarding, customs brokerage and logistics experience.
  • A track record of investing in and retaining quality personnel, and investing in technology to benefit customers.
  • The reassurance of dealing with a company that is highly respected in the industry, and actively involved in industry associations and councils.
  • Comprehensive services, including US customs brokerage, inbound, and outbound freight logistics.
  • A tailored logistics management service focused on the needs of the individual customer.

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