Fastenal, the largest fastener distributor in North America, recently announced that it has purchased certain assets of Apex Industrial Technologies, which provides provides automated point-of-use dispensing and supply chain technologies.. However, the terms of the deal have been kept under wraps.
Since 2008, both Fastenal and Apex have worked together in developing more than 105,000 product dispensing and leased devices across 23 device types in 25 countries. Apex has created and developed the software, designed the equipment, as well as built the vending equipment supply chain.
Fastenal has provided the technology with industry expertise and a marketplace. This solution in the industrial and commercial marketplace generated sales of more than $1.1 billion in 2019. In addition to certain assets, Fastenal also bought a perpetual and unfettered use of key patents, designs, software and licenses, along with a direct access to the supply chain.
Notably, Fastenal adopted FAST Solutions to revolutionize the industrial distribution system and increase profitability with the automated dispensing technology. Sales through vending machines grew strongly in both 2017 and 2018. Moreover, in 2019, the same grew at a double-digit pace, primarily due to higher installed base.
At 2019-end, the company operated 89,937 vending machines, up 10.8% from the prior year. In 2020, it projects to sign 22,000-24,000 vending devices, suggesting an improvement from 21,857 signed in 2019.
Shares of the company have gained 0.9% in the past six months against the industry’s 13.8% fall. Fastenal’s aggressive investment to boost onsite locations, vending machines count and the e-commerce business is driving growth.