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Case 24.08.2021

RELEX Solutions: How a Finnish software company closed a major deal in Australia

The software company RELEX Solutions believes that the key to success is a great product, passion and perseverance — a Finnish mindset doesn’t hurt either. RELEX reveals its recipe for global success.
RELEX Solutions
  • The software company was founded in 2005 when the company's three founders were still working as researchers at Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University).
  • RELEX's solutions are used for optimizing the most important retail processes: the supply chain, floor and assortment planning, promotion and markdown pricing, as well as workforce planning.
  • RELEX Solutions has 1,000 employees and 13 offices around the world.
  • Business Finland offered extensive support to the company, including funding for international growth, funding for research and product development, as well as contacts in different parts of the world.

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RELEX Solutionsin suunnittelu- ja optimointiratkaisut

Photo: Otso Alasko.

RELEX Solutions provides customers across the world with software for planning and optimizing retail processes. The company was founded in 2005, and today it has 1,000 employees and 13 offices around the world.

"When I joined the company nine years ago, we had 40 employees, and now there are 1,000 of us. We're no longer a startup but an established growth company. In the Nordics, for instance, we became the market leader years ago," says Jukka Uskonen, who is responsible for the company's accounts and operations in Asia and the Pacific region.

Business Finland has supported the company since its startup phase

Business Finlandin Eero Toivainen, Sydney Australia

Business Finland has supported RELEX Solutions from the outset by providing funding for research, product development and international growth. Business Finland's international contacts have also been helpful in opening doors and discussions with customers. Currently, negotiations are ongoing in Thailand and Singapore.

"The support from Business Finland has played a significant role, especially in the beginning. With the funding, we were able to expedite our product development and international growth," Uskonen says.

Eero Toivainen from Business Finland has been helping Finnish companies in Australia for the last few years. According to Toivainen, Australia is a great market: a large and wealthy country with 25 million residents and very little local competition in many industries.

"We offer Finnish companies information and support in entering the Australian market," Toivainen explains and lists how this is done:

  1. We provide market knowledge.
  2. We have a wide network of contacts.
  3. We provide expertise and contacts for identifying partners, developing sales channels or conducting market research.
  4. We give advice on where to find further help in setting up a local business, as well as on taxation and visa-related issues.
  5. We can evaluate the marketability of a product or product idea with the company.

RELEX Solutions' recipe for international growth

RELEX is building a successful export business with the following ingredients:
  • A world-class product
  • Great ambition
  • Courage
  • Humility without groveling
  • Perseverance
  • Strong teamwork
  • A Finnish mindset: we keep our promises.

Knowing the right people is also important, especially in Asia.

"In Southeast Asia, building trust and business relationships is a long-term process that requires effort, faith and perseverance," Uskonen explains.

The Finnish mindset resonates with customers

RELEX has large well-known clients such as S Group in Finland, ICA in Sweden, Marks & Spencer in the UK and Ahold Delhaize in the USA.

In April, RELEX closed a deal with the Australian company Coles, which has a 40% market share of the country's retail market. The procurement process was long. From the first discussions to closing the deal, it took a total of two years. In the middle of the process, the world was also hit with the Covid-19 pandemic.

"During the process, we noticed that the Finnish work culture and mindset clearly resonated with the locals. We bring significant added value to the customer, keep our promises and never promise something we cannot deliver. This forms a good basis for developing our relationship and cooperation with the customer," Uskonen says.

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