Development of Trust in Customer Relationship Evolution

warehouse automation partnership

Viastore is a big player in the warehouse automation space, completing intralogistics projects in 35 countries and over 3000 warehouses and DCs. It packs a powerful punch with its automation heritage, which includes equipment provision as specified with and for the customer, all spearheaded by its viadat WMS software.

First Line Software began collaborating with viastore, a Germany-based, international supplier of warehouse automation solutions, over 15 years ago.

Development of Trust

Initially, viastore’s software development team was limited and sought external support to develop and implement in-warehouse solutions. They turned to First Line Software for assistance, beginning our partnership by integrating one of our developers and a part-time manager into their team. This manager undertook multifaceted responsibilities, ranging from analytics to comprehensive project management on our behalf.

As the collaboration progressed, our involvement deepened. Our team contributed to customizing viadat products for viastore’s clients, working closely with viastore’s managers, developing the technical specifications, and acting as a co-pilot for the German manager from viastore, ensuring seamless operations.

Some of our most experienced employees became integral parts of viastore’s core product development team, initiating the next stage of our partnership.

Viastore eventually reached a point where they no longer needed to oversee or control our work on a daily basis. They entrusted us entirely with growing our team dedicated to their projects, confident in both the technical prowess and soft skills of our employees. This marked a pivotal shift, where viastore ceased participating in the team new-comers approval, placing complete trust in First Line Software in this aspect.

Another significant leap occurred when viastore entrusted us with full responsibility for their implementation projects, with First Line Software assuming a 100% commitment to ensure viastore fulfilled client obligations. This led to substantial team growth, and as a result, First Line Software built a viastore core team of 25 highly qualified professionals.  Viastore entrusted this team with multiple parallel projects, some of which are totally handed over to First Line Software and completed on a turnkey basis, whereas other projects are done by a distributed team comprised of First Line Software and viastore specialists. In the course of these projects, First Line Software key team members are in direct contact with the viastore clients, efficiently resolving technical issues and ambiguous requirements.

This elevated trust led to viastore involving us not only in project management but also in primary sales discussions (pre-sales activities) before contract finalization. Our team now includes consultants who engage directly with end clients, analyzing requirements, suggesting process enhancements for warehouse efficiency, and formulating viadat-based implementations. In cases where direct implementation isn’t feasible, our consultants negotiate alternative methods with the client or propose custom development tasks.

Our Team

The team’s distinctiveness lies in its ability to cultivate a level of versatility uncommon in most other teams. Nearly every programmer assumes multiple roles, including those of an analyst and tester, with about half also functioning as consultants and managers.

Among the 22 software developers, 5 to 10 take on the role of tech leads, while some also serve as QA specialists (2). Additionally, full-time consultants double as business analysts (2), and there is one full-time Project Manager.

The Outcome

The viastore WMS development team has enjoyed a partnership of over 15 years and over 40 projects with First Line Software, it is a relationship with considerable trust.

It means that they have the status to sell our solutions independently under their name and provide the full scope of services. That means they can start with the functional specification, go on with the customizing, coding, onsite installation and commissioning, and go live.”

Markus Muellerschoen, viastore’s VP of Sales

With over 15 years of collaboration and evolving relationships between First Line Software and viastore, we have surpassed pure staff augmentation to evolved to a full-scale technological and business partnership.

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