Gemplers Improves Order Automation to Support Omnichannel Growth

Gemplers has been a trusted retail brand for farm and home supply products for over 80 years. To enhance the omnichannel customer experience and improve order automation with vendors, Gemplers partnered with SPS Commerce. SPS managed vendor outreach and EDI onboarding on Gemplers’ behalf to drive greater automation and vendor collaboration.

Order Automation
  • Company Type:
  •  Industry:
    Agriculture, Farm and Ranch, Lawn and Garden
  • Headquarters:
    Janesville, Wisconsin
  • SPS Solution:

Treating customers like a neighbor, not a number

Since 1939, customers have relied on Gemplers for farm and home supply products such as tools, sprayers, pest control, workwear and footwear. Gemplers sells its merchandise through catalogs, eCommerce and a retail store in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

From the beginning, Gemplers has focused on delivering an exceptional customer experience.

According to Gemplers President Carl Atwell, “Our motto is to treat customers like our neighbor. We give them extra care and attention. At the same time, we know customers want straightforward information about product availability and when their order will arrive at their home or business.”

The company’s four category managers source all products and manage over 30,000 SKUs. Providing the information that customers expect requires close communication between Gemplers and its vendor community.

Gemplers was looking for a partner to enhance order automation and streamline the process of working with vendors. That’s why the company turned to the experts at SPS Commerce.

“We’re a small, nimble team and need partners like SPS that can do some of the heavy lifting for us. We’re always trying to partner with companies with similar values. We look for partners that are humble, straightforward and want to serve people. If we can get alignment there, then we know it’ll be a great relationship. In the case of SPS, it’s been that way from the beginning,” Atwell said.

Collaborating with vendors, large and small

Shea Tans, purchasing assistant, described how Gemplers works with a wide range of vendors, from small businesses to conglomerates. Deploying EDI with vendors has eliminated manual work for both parties.

“EDI allows us to give customers a smooth, seamless process when ordering. Customers can see when a product is on backorder or if it’s in stock,” Tans said.

Prior to having EDI-capable vendors, Gemplers had to manually contact vendors for status updates.

“Instead of contacting vendors all the time, I can now work on other projects,” she added.

Full-service order automation from SPS Commerce

Before partnering with SPS Commerce, Gemplers worked with another EDI provider. After two years, they had only three or four vendors up and running on EDI.

“With our previous EDI partner, we paid to sign up and then all the heavy lifting was on us. If there was an issue, we could call them. Maybe they’d call us back. With SPS, that’s not how it was from the beginning. SPS does the heavy lifting on both vendor compliance and project management,” Atwell said.

The full-service approach from SPS proved highly successful in meeting Gemplers’ goals. Thanks to the SPS partnership, Gemplers has driven purchasing efficiencies for its category managers and has 98 vendors that are EDI capable. Having accurate data from vendors will also create efficiencies for its accounting and finance teams by reducing errors and the need for manual reconciliation.

“I’m pleased to report that we have 65% of our purchase orders coming through the SPS platform, and we’re only a year into it. We have aggressive goals to take that number much, much higher,” Atwell concluded.

The Interviewees:

Carl Atwell, President
Shea Tans, Purchasing Assistant

The Challenge:

Enhance order automation and reduce manual work.


The Solution:

SPS Commerce Community


The Results:

Improved EDI compliance from 3 to 97+ vendors.

“What separated SPS from the beginning was SPS’s outreach to our vendors. SPS is motivated by the same thing we are, which is to get a high compliance rate.”

– Carl Atler, President, Gemplers