In 2020, most companies experienced a sales slump. But not Giesswein, an Austrian producer of woolen clothing. Here’s how AutoStore helped them to expand.
The Giesswein Walkwaren AG company has been around for a long time — since 1954 when it began producing knitted wool sweaters. It was founded as a family business, with Walter Giesswein delivering his wife's hand-knitted sweaters by bicycle after World War II. Currently, the third generation of Giessweins, namely Markus and Johannes Giesswein, run the company.
Situated in the Tyrolean part of Austria, Giesswein is known for natural, high-tech wool fabrics, from which it makes footwear and apparel for men, women, and children. It’s known as the leading European manufacturer of clothing, slippers, and accessories made from 100% virgin wool. Gieswein’s clothing range includes footwear, such as sneakers, socks, slippers, and insoles, as well as knitted jackets, vests, and scarves. They also produce blankets and pillows.
The Giesswein family has always been passionate about sustainability. In fact, the company was one of the first in Austria to install a water recycling unit into its fabric production in 1997. In addition, the company only uses materials that are natural, organic-based, or recycled.
Currently, Giesswein ships its top-quality, eco-friendly products to the United States, Canada, Australia, the U.K., and countries within the European Union.
Although sales were initially down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, by April 2020, orders via the company’s e-commerce platform quadrupled. With more people working from home, Giesswein’s products were suddenly in high demand and, thanks to AutoStore, they could scale up quickly.
“Without our AutoStore facility, we would never have been able to handle the boom in business during the pandemic,” says owner Markus Giesswein.
At the company’s warehouse in Brixlegg, AutoStore was installed into the existing warehouse in 2020 to deal with the steady increase in online orders. The system, which went into operation in July of that year, is empowered by Hörmann Logistik.
Here are a few quick facts about the AutoStore system at the Brixlegg facility:
Sustainability is important to the company, which follows a “zero-waste” approach. The fact that the AutoStore system helps to save energy costs has been a huge advantage and also ties in with Giesswein’s sustainability approach.
The team increased the efficiency of the warehouse, and the work is also much less labor-intensive for the employees, who no longer have to walk far every day to pick goods in the warehouse. The system frees up the employees to now concentrate on other important activities.
“The new AutoStore system makes our order picking processes much more effective and our employees’ work easier — a win for the whole team,” says Giesswein. “AutoStore helps to make deliveries quick and reliable, which helps to increase sales. It also creates trust in the brand.
“The new AutoStore system makes our order picking processes much more effective and our employees’ work easier — a win for the whole team.”
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