Cellnet & SPS Commerce: Full-Service Distribution EDI Success

Distributors face ongoing pressures to maintain margins, deliver superior customer service and comply with the trading requirements of today’s retailers. Cellnet is one of the APAC region’s leading distributors using automation from SPS Commerce to tackle these business challenges.

Cellnet & SPS Commerce: Full-Service Distribution EDI Success
  • Customer Type:
  • Industry:
  • Headquarters:
    Eagle Farm, QLD, Australia
  • SPS Product:
  • ERP:
    Infor M3
  • Customer Since:

Executive Summary

As the leading electronics distributor in Australia and New Zealand, Cellnet Group Ltd. represents some of the world’s largest brands including Samsung, Braven, Griffin, Huawei, Incipio, tech21 and Planatronics. Today the business has a fully automated order management process using EDI from SPS Commerce integrated with their Infor M3 ERP. This automation provides the scalability and error-free compliance to meet the trading requirements of 15 of the region’s largest retailers including Amazon Australia, David Jones, JB Hi-Fi, Rebel Sport, Target Australia, The Good Guys and Vodafone.


Portals vs automated distribution EDI

Cellnet was growing and bringing on more and more retail partners. They were downloading orders from retailer portals and manually entering them into their ERP solution. Their staff were spending hours keying in orders, often making mistakes that naturally result from manual processes.

“Portals were our gateway to being able trade with retailers, but we quickly found out that they were massively inefficient and error-prone,” said Sean Kenny, IT Manager at Cellnet. “We needed an automated process that merged the EDI that our retailers desired with our new Infor M3 ERP system.”

Additionally, Cellnet utilizes a third-party logistics provider (3PL) which further extended the manual handling of orders. With the double entry into their 3PL and ERP, this added more cost to their relationships in the form of cost of errors and/or internal data entry on Cellnet’s side.

EDI is required, internal expertise isn’t

In Australia, most retailers require, or strongly prefer, that vendors and distributors use EDI to trade with them. So, while distributors may need to do EDI, they have options as to how they do EDI. For Cellnet, their decision was based on whether or not they wanted to staff or become experts in this area.

“We need to have on-site expertise in many areas of IT. EDI is one less thing that I need to be an expert at. Relying on a partner like SPS is really important,” said Kenny. “With the SPS full-service EDI solution, we get technology, expertise and local support. Its everything we need for EDI, but we don’t have to do EDI. SPS does it on our behalf.”

By integrating EDI from SPS Commerce with our Infor M3 ERP system, Cellnet eliminated the time and labor spent manually entering orders. More importantly, they cut errors, thus showing their retailer partners that they were professional, and they could trust their communications.

The automated distribution EDI solution has scaled with Cellnet as they’ve grown. “With SPS, we don’t notice if there are 10 orders or 10,000 going through the system. It just works and we don’t have to think about it,” states Kenny.

Keeping up with retail trading requirements

Cellnet knew that EDI wasn’t a system that could be setup and then left alone to perform its tasks. Retailers are constantly changing their EDI requirements for orders, shipping notices and invoices to keep pace with their business. With each change, and there could be hundreds each year, Cellnet’s EDI configurations would also need to change.

“SPS has the retail industry expertise to keep us up-to-date with retailers’ EDI requirements. As retailers make changes, SPS does all the heavy lifting to keep us compliant, even contacting our retailers if necessary. They make it simple for us.”
– Sean Kenny, IT Manager, Cellnet

Onboarding new retailers

Cellnet is continually adding new brands and retail partners as its business grows. With each new relationship, a new EDI connection to SPS Fulfillment is needed. To setup a new retailer, Sean simply emails his SPS account manager. A local SPS technical resource is assigned to lead the project and this individual brings together the parties involved to complete the process.

“It’s a very collaborative process,” states Kenny. “SPS experts lead the way, working with me, our Infor M3 development firm and the retailer to test and confirm everything is in full working order. The entire process is well-coordinated and takes only a few weeks. And, at the end, the order flows automatically.”

No looking back

As Cellnet looks towards it future, it sees an increase in its gaming business as well as ongoing growth in its electronics and telephony brands.

“SPS Fulfillment will continue to scale to support our business,” concludes Kenny. “I wouldn’t want to run our business without SPS. Without their full-service EDI the labor hours we’d need to enter our current orders, send invoices and shipping notices would be massive.”

Cellnet is supported by the local team of SPS experts in Australia, as well as the global resources of its EDI professionals located around the world.

The Interviewee:

Sean Kenny, IT Manager

The Challenge:

Remove manual inefficiencies and become EDI compliant with multiple retail trading partners, while still focusing on core business competencies.


The Solution:

Automate EDI operations with SPS Fulfillment and Infor M3.


The Results:

Scale to support 15+ retailer partners for its brands, including Samsung, Huawei and Incipio.

“As retailers make changes, SPS does all the heavy lifting to keep us compliant, even contacting our retailers if necessary. They make it simple for us.”

– Sean Kenny