Cellnet to renew focus on telco business

Cellnet to renew focus on telco business

Re-installed managing director, Stephen Harrison, plans a review of the ASX-listed distributor's IT business as part of plans get it back on track

Re-installed Cellnet managing director, Stephen Harrison, has flagged a return to its telco roots and a review of its IT business as part of his new strategy for the ailing distributor.

Harrison and co-founder, Mel Brookman, returned to day-to-day duties at the ASX-listed distributor on Monday. Harrison took over from Mark Bloomer, who had been at the helm for four months.

Harrison told ARN it would conduct a review of its IT vendor stable, but denied it could sell-off any parts of the business. There were also no plans to shed staff.

"I'm not saying we will reduce the number of IT vendors - but we need to review them, and vice versa," he said. "The space we are looking to play in is SMB. We always said we wanted to be in that area, but we have been trying to play in the top end of town. We need to consolidate and focus on SMB."

Harrison was also keen to strengthen Cellnet's traditional telecoms business.

"We were a telco company and we made lots of money. We got into the IT space and started to lose money," he said. "We've got to go with where the profit is - and the telco business at the moment is making money. So there needs to be a balance in the business.

"We will grow the telco and accessory side and put more focus on our Asian imports business. With IT, we are going to sit down with partners and make some calls on our relationships moving forward."

Other key focal points were to improve sales direction and streamline back-end distribution and warehousing, Harrison added.

The Cellnet board commissioned Harrison to review the business several weeks ago. From those results, it has opted to re-appoint him as managing director and bring back Brookman as sales director.

"The board asked me to jump back into the driver's seat to get the business back on track," Harrison said. "Cellnet needs some TLC. I think it has lost some of the energy and passion it once had. With that goes other things in the back-end, such as service levels and customer service.

"We lost our direction and lost the plot a bit. But the fundamental business is good - we have strong skills, our financials are stable and we have a good customer base and vendor line-up. We have all the ingredients to bake the cake; it just hasn't been rising."

For more on this story, see next week's ARN.

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