Northern Tool + Equipment

Northern Tool + Equipment Is Spinning Up Retail Stores Like Crazy, Thanks in Part to RingCentral
Northern Tool and Equipment logo


phone lines across 126 stores, all managed through one cloud portal


administrative employees easily moving between HQ and home with RingCentral


not weeks or months, to roll out the cloud phone system for new stores
RingCentral gives us the mobility and flexibility we need to keep our employees connected and productive from anywhere. And for our national retail operations, RingCentral makes it easy to open new stores, manage the phone capabilities at those stores, and even gain business intelligence into customer patterns and trends. That’s a lot to ask from a phone system, but RingCentral delivers all of it.

Rodney Dybedahl

Senior Telecommunications Analyst

A 40-year history of selling the tools that build America

Among the more than 100,000 tools available on its website and in its 126 retail stores across the United States, Northern Tool + Equipment offers quality solutions for everyone from do-it-yourselfers to trade professionals to construction companies.
In its 40-year history, Northern Tool has earned the loyalty of millions of customers, built a reputation as an outstanding tool and equipment retailer, and even designed and manufactured its own products under such premium brands as NorthStar, Powerhouse, and Klutch.
Retail and manufacturing
Burnsville, MN

A phone solution that wasn’t built to Northern Tool’s exacting standards

Before the company discovered RingCentral, Northern Tool signed up for a different cloud telephony platform. The company was adding retail locations around the country at a rapid rate, and the leadership team recognized that a decentralized, legacy phone infrastructure was no longer capable of supporting the company’s fast-paced growth.
But as Senior Telecommunications Analyst Rodney Dybedahl explains, the company quickly found that not all cloud communications solutions are created equal. “The first cloud phone provider we signed up with didn’t offer the level of support we needed, especially in terms of helping us roll out telephony at our new stores,” Rodney says. “Also, we soon found that we needed more functionality than their system offered.”

An implementation that couldn’t have gone more smoothly

As Rodney explains, rolling out RingCentral was an entirely different experience from Northern Tool’s first exposure to a cloud communications solution. “Our RingCentral implementation was terrific. The company sent a team out to work with us, listened to our needs, trained us on the platform, and even helped us customize our telephony environments exactly how we wanted for our retail stores.”
“That experience was so positive, and our retail teams were so happy with the results, that our leadership team decided to implement RingCentral at our headquarters, our distribution centers, and for all our employees across the company.”
What impressed me most about our RingCentral implementation is that the team took some of our feature requests and actually built that functionality. At least a few of RingCentral’s recent feature additions are partly due to our input. That’s not a vendor. That’s a partner.

Rodney Dybedahl

Senior Telecommunications Analyst

RingCentral’s mobility and intuitive platform helps the company grow

One of the most significant benefits Northern Tool has experienced with RingCentral is enabling mobility for its staff. “We have about 750 employees who were working in our Minnesota headquarters before COVID,” explains Rodney. “Because we had the RingCentral apps on our PCs and cell phones when the lockdowns started, we were able to transition everyone to working from home without slowing our operations at all.”
He adds: “Now our corporate employees can work just as efficiently and stay just as accessible to each other and our customers whether they come into the office or work remotely. And thanks to RingCentral’s built-in digital fax tool, employees can receive and process faxed orders just as quickly if they’re at home—something we’ve never been able to do before.”
On the retail side of Northern Tool’s operations, Rodney points out, RingCentral has provided significant benefits as well. “We’ve been able to build just the right telephony environment for our stores—automated greetings, extensions, physical phones—and repeat the process with very little effort anytime we open a new location. I just go into the RingCentral admin portal, order local lines and phones, and then basically do a copy-and-paste to create the telephony environment for the new store. It’s so easy, and it saves me an enormous amount of time.”
Another way RingCentral is supporting Northern Tool’s growth, Rodney notes, is with the platform’s call reporting and analytics. “The RingCentral data is great for several reasons. Our regional sales managers can pull reports to find patterns across their stores, such as when call traffic tends to be up or down. Our sales teams also use these reports to capture customer details, so we can send them relevant promotional information later.”

A global communications platform that supports international expansion

Finally, Rodney points out that Northern Tool is expanding its geographic footprint to new countries, something the company can do more easily now that it has a truly global cloud communications partner.
We’re building a presence in India, and that’s just the beginning of our planned international expansion. Because we have RingCentral, the telecommunications component of this expansion won’t be the complication that it usually is with other providers. It’s great to know that we have a global communications partner that operates all over the world and can support us as we add locations anywhere.

Rodney Dybedahl

Senior Telecommunications Analyst