Case Study

Peterhans Handwerkercenter

Unique UX for Peterhans

Element Logic

At the Peterhans Handwerkercenter store in Switzerland, customers can watch the AutoStore™ system processing their orders. Find out more about this unique experience.

sqm (4,305 sqf)
Covered by grid

Peterhans Handwerkercenter AG sells building materials, tools, machines, fittings, fastening equipment, and personal protective equipment directly to customers and wholesalers in the building trade. In addition, it specializes in the assembly and mounting of hardware for industrial and commercial customers and sells household appliances and related goods. The company operates chiefly in the German-speaking area of Switzerland.

Hans Peterhans, Sr., started the company in his house in 1952 and opened his first shop in Wettingen, Switzerland, in 1954.Since then, Peterhans Handwerkercenter AG has grown tremendously, and, in1988, Peterhans’ son, Hans Peterhans, Jr., took over the company's management. 

By 1993, the company needed more space and moved the shop into new premises in Würenlos.


Time to enlarge and improve

In the following years, the business introduced its first website and started selling goods online. It continued to grow and, by 2009, it was time to enlarge the warehouse. 

The founder’s grandson, Marc Peterhans, who had taken over the reins from his father, undertook the enlargement of the warehouse when this became necessary. In 2018, another critical improvement followed: AutoStore, a fully automated warehouse system empowered by Element Logic, was installed. 

Straight after installation, the new system made it possible to meet customer expectations of same-day delivery and shorter waiting times at the pick-up counters inside the shop. The team dramatically increased the sales warehouse’s storage capacity and streamlined the picking processes with AutoStore. 

Connected to the store in early summer 2019, customers can now watch AutoStore process their orders as the Ports are located right next to the sales counters — a unique customer experience.

“We can now count on a powerful, automated small-parts warehouse to secure our customers’ expectations regarding quick order fulfillment,” says Dieter Egloff, Deputy Managing Director at Peterhans Handwerkercenter AG.

AutoStore has also greatly benefited employees: “Our new, fully automatic storage and retrieval system, AutoStore, simplifies important warehouse processes and supports our employees considerably in their daily work.”

The AutoStore system at Peterhans

The warehouse automation system, now in its third year of operation, combines the warehouse and physical store in a micro-fulfillment center (MFC) setting. Peterhans fulfills both online and in-store orders from the same system. Customers are able to see the system in operation at the warehouse facility as well as watch AutoStore fulfill their order placed in-store.

"When we talk to our customers, they are clearly astonished. They are impressed to see something like this in our store," shares Egloff.

Here’s what customers visiting the premises can observe:

  • An AutoStore grid covering 400 square meters (4,305 square feet). At this stage, it occupies only 10% of the warehouse, which measures 4,000 square meters (43,055 square feet).
  • The system uses the AutoStore 220mm Bin and has 20 bin layers for a total of 11,650 Bins.
  • By subdividing the Bins, Peterhans is able to increase its storage density by placing multiple product lines in one bin.
  • Six workstations (or Ports) move items in and out of storage, and three picking Ports are visible to customers awaiting order fulfillment. Additional ports, not visible to customers, pick online shop orders for external deliveries and collections.
  • Ten Robots glide along the top of the grid. They lift Bins containing the required goods, deliver the Bins to the workstations, and then restack the Bins.
  • An express order, for which there was no prior notification, takes a Robot only four minutes to retrieve from the lowest Bin level. 
  • On average, a customer’s order takes less than two minutes to arrive at the sales counter.

How AutoStore benefits Peterhans

The new warehouse system has benefited the company and its employees in many ways:

  • Fast order fulfillment and same-day delivery is now easier than ever before.
  • AutoStore has saved the company 80% of the available floor space, making future expansion possible.
  • The system has simplified and streamlined many warehouse processes.
  • AutoStore supports employees in their daily work, which is now much less labor-intensive than before. Employees no longer have to walk long distances and lift heavy goods.

“In the course of a holistic realignment of our logistics, the AutoStore system serves as the central core,” says Egloff. “The simplicity of the technology, the flexibility of the storage grid, and the output convinced us from the start.

“With 500,000 items, it’s easy to imagine there would be some delivery errors. But with the support of the AutoStore system, we are able to pick items from the system with nearly zero errors.”

It has indeed been an investment in the future, Egloff concludes. “We’re continuously strengthening our store through future-oriented investments in the area of digitization and logistics.”

With 500,000 items, it’s easy to imagine there would be some delivery errors. But with the support of the AutoStore system, we are able to pick items from the system with nearly zero errors.

Dieter Egloff
Deputy Managing Director, Peterhans

Peter Bimmermann
Managing Director, Germany

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