31 Years of ALSO
"The men gathered in Hergiswil were in high spirits. It was Friday 10th February 1984, and a new company had just been founded on the shores of Lake Lucerne. At a time when most offices still relied on typewriters for their written documentation, these pioneers were united in their belief that the future belonged to the personal computer."
When telling the story of our company, these are the words that describe how our early years began. It was a turbulent time in an industry that was only just taking its very first steps. While a mundane sight in today's world, back then almost no-one could imagine that PCs and other high-tech products would become such general retail commodities that are so firmly ingrained in our daily lives. Performance, a dramatic drop in prices and - most importantly - rapidly-improving user-friendliness paved the way for the unstoppable march of technology. And in its wake, this technology has brought applications that today we simply cannot imagine living without: the internet, mobile phones, social networks, commercial platforms. In fact, it's hard to remember how our society was able to function both at home and at work without the achievements of the IT industry.
Against this backdrop, ALSO developed from a small start-up enterprise into a company with successful commercial activities spread across twelve countries and which has enjoyed an exceptional position in the Swiss market for years.
The first hardware distribution agreement is signed in March 1986
ALSO begins selling HP Laserjet printers. At this point the warehouse is located in a garage. The company grows rapidly, and so space quickly becomes limited. A second goods warehouse is rented in Alpnach to satisfy the increased capacity requirements. Since the company address no longer corresponds to the delivery address, misunderstandings often occur among suppliers. This leads to HGVs trying to unload their palletized goods in the middle of the residential district on Hirsernstrasse.
The first head office
The first office is a rented apartment at Hirsernstrasse 36 in Hergiswil. This building quickly becomes too small, so a second apartment is rented on the same street at number 34. As administration and sales are in different locations, direct communication between the departments is not possible, presenting a number of challenges.
Takeover by Schindler
ALSO becomes a member of the Schindler Group on 1st July 1988. The purchase price is approx. CHF 56 million.
Relocation to Kriens
ALSO moves its head office from Hergiswil to Kriens and acquires a new CEO - Thomas C. Weissmann. The company in Switzerland now starts to focus on the following three business areas: Distribution to sealers through ALSO ABC, sales to large customers through ALSO Comsyt and training through ALSO Consult.
A new Managing Director
In the same year, Marc Schnyder takes over the role of Managing Director at ALSO Switzerland and successfully leads the company over the next 25 years.
Staying ahead with Total Quality Management
ALSO quality is miles ahead of the competition. While the error rate in the industry sector is 3 percent, at ALSO this is just 0.3 percent. This exceptional performance is a result of the consistent application of quality management in both direct sales and the distribution trade. The error rate today is 0.07 percent.
ALSO as one of the first distributors in Europe
At the beginning of the 1990s, strategic thinking evolves to expand the range of software and primarily hardware. ALSO proposes this idea to IBM, Compaq and HP. However, at first the companies are not interested in having a distributor between them and their customers. Nevertheless, ALSO directors Thomas C. Weissmann and Marc Schnyder remain stubborn and win the companies over. In 1992 ALSO is thus the first major distributor and one of the first distributors in Europe for IBM, Compaq and HP.
ALSO expands its business operations into western Switzerland, in other words Renens in the Canton of Vaud.
ALSO Campus in Emmen
ALSO moves its administrative functions from Kriens to Emmen. Emmen also becomes the site of the central ALSO Campus.
ALSO Services – an independent division
On 1st January 2004, ALSO Services Business is founded to stand alongside Distribution as an independent division. At the same time the company wins Orange, the third-largest telecommunications provider, as a logistics customer.
The IT market is a growth market. In other words, volumes are growing the margins are becoming ever tighter. Right from the very beginning, ALSO has had a significant commitment to PCs, laptops and printers. While these were still extremely complex devices back in those early days, today almost everyone is able to use a PC, laptop or printer without any help. The amount of advice needed during the sale of laptops, PCs and printers is thus relatively low and the simple processes lend themselves easily to automation.
The advent of the internet brought technologies such as servers and networks to the IT sector. New and complex subjects such as visualization and storage, data protection, replication, and security have arisen as a result. Tackling such issues requires specialists who can offer customers comprehensive support. These business transactions cannot be automated any further as the range of products and processes per manufacturer is so extensive.
To master them, the organization needs to adapted accordingly. In 2005 ALSO therefore embarked on a new course and separated the complex, support-intensive business from the largely automated, less support-intensive business. This means that for manufacturers such as HP, the PC and printer business is separate from the server business. Facilitating this approach gave rise to the current ALSO Solutions division, which through its portfolio and staff offers detailed knowledge of the available products. By adopting this structure we can guarantee that partners and customers enjoy the best possible support from industry experts.
Managed Print Solutions
Through the acquisition of the company NRS in 2012, ALSO expanded its portfolio to include complete print solutions
30 Years of ALSO
With an exclusive customer event and large employee celebration, ALSO Schweiz AG enjoyed its 30th anniversary.
Change at board level
A significant change at board level was also undertaken in 2014: After 26 years as Managing Director of ALSO, Marc Schnyder stepped down and handed over the reins to Harald Wojnowski. Mr Wojnowski has been at ALSO since 1992 and a board member for ALSO Solutions at ALSO Switzerland since 2006.
Change at board level
After 26 years Harald Wojnowski leaves the ALSO. He hands over the leadership to Tom Brunner, who has been at ALSO in Emmen since 2016 and recently headed the Supply Division.