Swisslog Integrates Software, Storage to Help Northern Tool + Equipment Meet Omnichannel Demand

Northern Tool will install Swisslog's Automation Solution in its facility in Fort Mill, S.C., to meet its distribution needs.


Swisslog has integrated its SynQ software with AutoStore for Northern Tool.
Swisslog is deploying automation including its SynQ software and an AutoStore system to help Northern Tool + Equipment grow both retail and online fulfillment.

Swisslog last week announced that Northern Tool + Equipment will install a Swisslog Automation Solution in its Fort Mill, S.C., facility to support both online ordering and retail. Designed by Swisslog experts, the system will include an AutoStore system optimized by Swisslog’s SynQ software. The company said it expects the system to be operational by October 2023.

“Northern Tool + Equipment is committed to continued growth,” said Shaun Bunch, senior vice president of supply chain operations at Northern Tool + Equipment, in a press release.

“Through strategic planning and thoughtful attention to what our customers need most from us, we’ve built a detailed roadmap for the future. One that includes continued innovation in manufacturing our products and upgrades at the retail level to meet the needs of our customers,” he said. “A big step in this direction is the expertise and innovative automation technology that Swisslog is bringing to our supply chain.”

Burnsville, Minn.-based Northern Tool + Equipment said it helps both DIYers and trades professionals find the right tool for the job and assists with parts and repairs. A leading supplier of more than 100,000 tools for over 40 years, the family-owned company assists customers at more than 130 retail stores, online, and over the phone through its fully-staffed contact center.

Northern Tool adds automation for continued growth

Northern Tool + Equipment plans to deploy Swisslog's SynQ and AutoStore's automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) to position itself for continued omnichannel fulfillment growth. Its existing Fort Mill facility supports both online ordering and retail stores, and the company plans to open 80 additional locations over the next four years.

Swisslog said its automation solution, which contains 23,175 bins and 62 robots, will help Northern Tool + Equipment provide its customers products when and where they want them in today’s changing marketplace.

Experts from Swisslog worked with the customer to integrate the system into the existing facility and operations without needing any additional construction work. The automation solution operates on synchronized intelligence from Swisslog’s SynQ modular platform.

SynQ integrates warehouse management systems (WMS), orchestrate material flow, and provide automation control functionality, said Swisslog. It can ensure that the different components communicate and work together, the company added.

Swisslog supports AutoStore deployments

“We are excited to partner with Northern Tool + Equipment to help the company meet consumer expectations for quick, easy, and reliable access to quality tools and products,” stated Sean Wallingford, president and CEO of Swisslog Americas. “Our SynQ AutoStore module has been specifically designed to manage the system and play a key role in optimizing efficiency and performance by balancing loads across pick stations to maximize picks per station and overall system throughput.”

Buchs, Switzerland-based Swisslog Holding AG provides automation for warehouses and distribution centers, as well as consulting, system design and implementation, and lifetime customer support in more than 50 countries. The KUKA Group unit is a leading AutoStore integrator, with more than 370 projects in over 26 countries.

Swisslog said its projects include more than 9 million storage bins and use over 13,000 robots. The company's e-book, “Making AutoStore Work For You,” offers insights and best practices from a variety of these projects.

Swisslog said it delivers data-driven and robotic systems for logistics automation alongside reliable, modular service concepts.

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Swisslog has integrated its SynQ software with AutoStore for Northern Tool.

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