Introducing RELEX Labs

Jul 28, 2020 3 min

One of our core values at RELEX is to provide measurable value, and continuous development is key to our ability to consistently meet this promise to our customers. That’s why three years ago, we established our research engine: RELEX Labs.

RELEX Labs works closely with our customers to make sure our vision for the future of retail optimization meets their real-world, boots-on-the-ground needs. Our goal is to ensure that we spend our time, energy, and resources developing a product that drives demonstrable, measurable benefits for our customers both today and well into the future.

A Spirit of Innovation

Each RELEXian—from R&D to the consultants who implement our software, from marketers to the software developers who improve our computational performance—is challenged each day to question conventional ways of doing things. This culture of innovation is how we’ve been able to enter crowded markets packed with big players and become a true market leader among retail optimization software vendors.

Labs is the innovation test kitchen where we develop new RELEX functionalities and explore opportunities to improve our products and services. Our team works with an open and curious mind, finding ways to solve problems that seem unsolvable and testing how the newest developments in science and technology can be applied to further enhance RELEX’s capabilities.

From prototyping to fine-tuning, our job is to stress-test new ideas until we’re confident we can productize them and release them for our customers to use. And if we determine that an idea will not ultimately be successful, it’s also our job to make the hard decision to kill our own work rather than introducing sub-par products into our customer environments. A new capability must add significant value compared to previous approaches to qualify for production release—by increasing accuracy, robustness, or simplicity, for example.

Matching Our Vision to Customer Needs

The work we do in RELEX Labs comes from two sources of inspiration:

  1. Close collaboration with customers and internal RELEX teams to solve real-world business problems
  2. Our vision of how the latest developments in science and technology can improve business optimization across retail’s core operations

By taking this integrated approach, the Labs team is able to support RELEX in delivering an optimal product that not only incorporates the latest technologies but also solves our customers’ real-world challenges.

The Finnish retail giant S Group, for example, is one of our earliest customers—and was also a true partner in the development of our main replenishment days optimization. “We were thrilled about the opportunity to develop AI-based optimization of main replenishment days in collaboration with RELEX,” says Tuulia Wennerkoski, S Group’s VP Supply Chain. Working together, we advanced new capabilities that have helped them optimize and improve their replenishment efficiency while smoothing the inbound goods flow at their stores.

When it came to moving our own vision for unified retail planning forward, RELEX Labs made sure to fold our customers’ insights and needs into the development of our microspace solution. After customer research and cross-team collaboration, the Labs team helped to create a unified microspace optimization solution that could draw from existing supply chain data to build optimized planograms based on future forecasts. This solution continues to bring our customers real, quantifiable results; they are able to use their shelf space more efficiently and also reduce deliveries and decrease shelving work, which in turn cuts business costs. The Labs team’s innovative work on this and other unified systems contributed to RELEX’s 2019 win of the Retail Systems Supply Chain and Logistics award.

Prioritizing R&D to Deliver Innovative Products with Quantifiable Results

To support our continued growth as a company, RELEX reinvests over 20% of our revenue into R&D because it’s such a significant driver for our business. As we are always in a state of evolution, our R&D teams are able to add, update, and refine our platform with intention. For us, the reward lies in the business results we’re able to deliver to our customers and the positive environmental impact we’re able to make by reducing food waste.

If you have any questions or suggestions about RELEX’s roadmap for future functionality, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always open to reviewing new ideas with the RELEX Labs team so that we can continue on our mission to bring intentional, thoughtful value to our customers.

Written by

Henri Nikula

Henri Kaleva

Head of RELEX Labs