Exotec, First Supply partner to deploy Skypod system at new Wisconsin distribution center

Skypod system will consist of over 43,000 bins, 36 robots


First Supply announced a partnership with Exotec to deploy its Skypod warehouse robotics offering at a new distribution center in Wisconsin.
Exotec announced a partnership with First Supply to deploy its Skypod warehouse automation system at the company’s new 308,000 square foot distribution center in Wisconsin.

Exotec, a global warehouse robotics provider, recently announced that First Supply, the largest Wisconsin-based wholesaler of HVAC, builder, plumbing, lighting, waterworks, industrial PVF, pump, well and septic supplies, has partnered with Exotec to install warehouse robotics at its new 308,000-square-foot distribution center in Western Wisconsin.

Exotec, which announced $1 billion in systems sold at MODEX 2024, adds another organization to its partnership list.

First Supply implemented new supply chain options

First Supply, according to a news release, was challenged with changing its operating model to reimagine the possibilities of its supply chain. This included finding an offering to manage a growing variety of stock-keeping-units (SKUs), effectively utilize available space and reduce labor-intensive manual picking practices. By automating its warehouse with Exotec's Skypod System, First Supply aims to improve productivity, optimize resource utilization and ultimately better serve its customers.

First Supply's Skypod system will consist of over 43,000 storage bins, 36 robots, three picking stations and three induction work stations. First Supply anticipates continuous growth, according to the company, and has designed the new distribution center to easily scale its storage capacity by up to 30% in the system by adding bins and robots.

“As a 127-year-old, 5th generation company, First Supply is committed to innovating how our employees experience work daily,” said Katie Poehling Seymour, president & CEO at First Supply. “Our rich history has laid the groundwork for success in distributing innovation and fostering partnerships in our communities, with our customers, and among our partners. We're transforming our supply chain, focusing on optimizing inventory management through enhanced technology and refined procedures, exemplified by our new distribution center.”

The system will make use of Exotec's smart conveying technology, Skypath, to feed six packing stations and a sortation loop with 12 outbound destination lanes. The distribution center will support all of the company's branch locations in the upper Midwest, as well as effectively supplying direct-to-customer deliveries.

“First Supply is among the first US companies in their industry to adopt cutting-edge robotics solutions for their warehouse,” said Stanislas Normand, managing director of Exotec, North America. “This not only demonstrates their capability for innovation but also establishes the gold standard for the industry in building customer-centric supply chain operations.”

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First Supply announced a partnership with Exotec to deploy its Skypod warehouse robotics offering at a new distribution center in Wisconsin.

Robot Technologies