#21: Optimizing Retail with Johanna Småros Co-Founder of Relex Solutions

Optimizing Retail with Johanna Småros Co-Founder of Relex Solutions Featured Image

Johanna Småros (Ph.D.) is one of RELEX Solutions’ three co-founders. Before founding RELEX, Johanna conducted ground-breaking research on retail supply chains. She is the author of tens of peer-reviewed academic articles on supply chain management and optimization. 

Johanna received the Young Scientist Entrepreneur Award in 2014 and the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award in 2017. 

RELEX Solutions is a leading provider of cutting-edge retail optimization software that is built for the age of Living Retail, where change is the only constant. They help retailers such as Morrisons, PetSmart, Rossmann, and AutoZone adapt to every future, faster. Their cloud-native Living Retail Platform delivers pragmatic AI across all retail functions and at a retail scale. They offer a fast lane to a value that builds from a foundation of radically improved demand forecasting and supply chain optimization. Their customers leverage this enhanced visibility of demand and supply into exponential benefits — optimizing their retail space, workforce, pricing, and promotion strategies ­— all within our unified platform. 

Listen to the full discussion here:



Connect with the Guest:

Johanna Småros: Linkedin

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • AI and Machine Learning limitations and advantages during a crisis.
  • Most important trends in supply chain retail impacted by the covid19 crisis.
  • How a drug store retailer in Germany with 2000 stores took 2 days to deal with the surge in their demand patterns. 
  • Working from home and the importance of informal interactions.
  • Expect nothing and everything –  be flexible and adapt.

COVID-19 Resources:

Show notes:

  • [02:22] You and your other two co-founders, and I think I was reading somewhere, “Three supply chain scientists actually founded Relex with the goal of perfecting retail operations.” Tell us more about how and when was the company created and how it adds value to your clients.
  • [05:01] How did you decide who will be responsible for what among the three co-founders?
  • [06:39] How is your company helping your clients cope with the current crisis? And maybe share some of the questions and requests that you receive most often up from your clients.
  • [11:03] I do think that AI and machine learning are quite powerful in these situations. But the power comes from basically freeing up time for planners to deal with the supply issues that are around products.
  • [11:23] What are the priorities you advise your clients to focus on? 
  • [12:20] The important thing right now is to secure the availability of essential products. 
  • [14:36] If a client or a potential new client comes to you now during this time, how can you help? Can you have people who would like to join or to use Relex Solutions now or is it a bit tough?
  • [16:55] Maybe you can give us an example of a client who is doing a good job and what they did in the past in order for them to be better prepared now.
  • [19:14] It really makes a huge difference to have a flexible IT system that you can adapt quickly to a new situation.
  • [20:14] A drug store retailer in Germany with little less than 2000 stores around the country mentioned that it took them two days to deal with this surge and unusual demand pattern. 
  • [21:19] This example of the drugstore in Germany, what did they do beforehand? did they do something different?
  • [23:41] Do you see any trends when it comes to transformation or digitization and the appetite of clients towards it?
  • [26:48] How do you manage to set this kind of healthy expectation regarding AI and Machine Learning? What have you learned so far?
  • [30:14] What is the strategic direction of the company? Where do you see the company growing? 
  • [33:33] From a geographic expansion perspective is Europe still the base focus or you’re thinking about other places as well?
  • [35:25] Working from home and connecting with clients remotely has been the norm these last few weeks globally. Have there been some lessons learned from your service leaders that are connected to how to manage remote teams in an efficient way? 
  • [38:00] Can you share your perspective on what type of culture you are nurturing at Relics? How are you hiring for that culture?
  • [41:01] If not all information is perfectly documented, it’s super important that the people around you are willing to help you do a great job.
  • [42:09] What should we expect in the next few months? And how should we prepare supply chain professionals from your perspective?
  • [42:16] Expect nothing and everything. Retailers need to be flexible, adaptable, and to keep a close eye on the market.

Quote from the Episode:

About the Host:

The host, Andrei Palamariu is the founder of Supplify where he and his team works on building a platform to connect the supply chain tech ecosystem. His most interesting discussions with the clients are focused on implementing the best technology, digital transformation, company growth and expansion, turnarounds, and product and business development.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

Supply Chain Resilience With Ashish Pujari Digital Supply Chain Head APJ At SAP

Supply Chain Transparency And Visibility With Stefan Reidy CEO Of Arviem AG

Tech And Supply Chain Disruption With Antonio Boccalandro President, APAC At Blue Yonder




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