"Our software is quite friendly!"

Interview with Anna Riege, Head of People and Culture, and Christian Riege, CTO and Managing Director of Riege Software International GmbH

Interview with Anna Riege, Head of People and Culture, and Christian Riege, CTO and Managing Director of Riege Software International GmbH
Interview with Anna Riege, Head of People and Culture, and Christian Riege, CTO and Managing Director of Riege Software International GmbH

Especially the logistics industry has experienced a turbulent time during the Coronavirus pandemic. As a leading provider of cloud-based logistics software, Riege has not only closely followed these developments but also worked on solutions that will accommodate even stronger digital networking. The lessons the company has additionally drawn from its increased engagement in Asia and North America were discussed by Head of People and Culture Anna Riege and CTO and Managing Director Christian Riege in an interview with Wirtschaftsforum.

Business Forum: Mrs. Riege, Mr. Riege, the COVID-19 pandemic has particularly thrown the world of logistics into turmoil. How did your company experience this time?

Anna Riege: The major price distortions that were sometimes observed in the market have now normalized. What has definitely changed permanently, however, is the working environment - both for our customers and at Riege. At the beginning of 2019, when I joined the family business, our office in Meerbusch with 70 employees was bursting at the seams on 1,500 m2. Since then, we have increased our staff to 100 employees, but have reduced our office space by about a third, because, thanks to generous home office solutions, we have not had to maintain a physical workplace for every employee for a long time, and we can also search for talent nationwide. We have remained loyal to this flexibility with 100% remote work options, even though many other software companies are starting to row back a bit. But for us, the office has become a place of creative exchange, where constant physical presence is no longer necessary.

Business Forum: Meanwhile, your commitment also extends to the North American and Asian markets. What experiences have you made there?

Christian Riege: Since the economic activities in China - by far the largest player in the Asian region - were still quite dominated by permanent lockdowns until the beginning of this year, we are still largely at the beginning there. In North America, however, we have already established a headquarters in Seattle with our own staff and can already report significant growth rates there. While our customers from Germany typically have two to three locations at central logistical hubs like Frankfurt or Hamburg, the American companies that are interested in our solutions are often smaller start-ups in more remote regions like Chattanooga, Tennessee, which does not mean a disadvantage for their business activities thanks to the good connection to the railway network and the local distribution by truck. Thanks to the increased digital possibilities, we no longer need traditional field sales representatives there, because in a geographically extensive market like the USA, an effective use of digital communication channels is almost imperative - an effect we are now also feeling in Europe. Thus, in 2023, for the first time in over ten years, we have waived our own booth at the transport logistics fair in Munich.

Business Forum: And you do not regret it?

Anna Riege: Instead, we invested in a cool event at the Löwenbräukeller, where our existing customers could network with prospective clients. This personal approach, combined with a clear benefit from enjoyable networking opportunities, is much more targeted from our point of view - not only because it enables us to achieve positive word-of-mouth on site but also because the discussions between industry representatives with similar challenges and objectives give rise to interesting new ideas - a line of thought that we also want to integrate into our software solution.

Business Forum: How exactly is that supposed to work?

Christian Riege: A central secret to the success of our solution lies in its simplicity. Because of its intuitive design, it can be operated by forwarding merchants easily and without days of training, while, of course, hard work on our part lies behind its simple and pleasant usability. What looks simple in the result is often particularly difficult to develop. While our software significantly simplifies internal coordination today, we want to transfer these possibilities to cross-organizational communication as well, so that an exchange can take place beyond the isolated systems of the respective companies. In this way, our customers can handle their logistics requirements even more stringently, simply, and friendly - entirely in line with our company motto ‘Logistics with a Human Heart’.