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2021 |
new office in venlo

With the Covid measures and increasing number of colleagues, our space in Venlo started to get a bit too crowded. So we have moved across the street and are setting up a bigger office in the same cool style than the office in Gouda.

2021 |
Take on the world!
Starting a company in the middle of a pandemic might come out a bit strange. It's even worse when you set up two and do it remotely. But, despite everything, we enter a new phase as the number of large accounts keeps growing, and the demand for 24x7 support is continuously increasing in this 24-hour economy. So, to correct the work-life balance once more, we are moving away from nightly standby shifts and implementing a follow the sunset up in which we can provide local support for our customers from inspiring locations.


starting a new company during the pandemic. Starware expands to Melbourne and Toronto
collage starware update 2020


2020 |
what, no xmas party?

Usually, the Xmas party is one of the highlights of the year at Starware. Due to the covid lockdown, there is no way to organise this safely this year, so we have opted to bring a bit of the xmas spirit to everyone. Dressed as santa and his reindeer, Marc & Roland drove 2000 kilometers in 3 days to deliver everyone a freshly chef-prepared xmas dinner along with a wine arrangement and entertainment for a perfect xmas night. In lack of a true santa sleigh, we used our friends of the parcel delivery services and video calling to even mimic the experience for our new colleagues in Australia and Canada.

2020 |
WORLD PANDEMIC
With the arrival of Covid-19, the whole world goes into lockdown. We are doing our best to support all people at Starware and prepare a lockdown package to cheer them up and help them through these difficult times. When we could finally slowly go back to the office again, Marc & Roland made this insightful instruction video for everyone to make sure all precautions were taken.


survival kit for remote workers starware
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2019 |
brand new office

The come of new employees meant Starware's current office was slowly becoming too small, so we moved to a new office in the center of Gouda with more space, great coffee and the latest technologies.

2018 |
SEVEN DEADLY SINS
We are approaching the end of 2018, and our team has grown to over 50 persons. We just hired our first internal people operations manager to help us recruit and structure our employee management. We are celebrating another great year by hosting an action-packed weekend in a former church of Breda. There we have great activities around these seven sins: a boxing workshop with Olympic-superstar Arnold van der Leijden, a great Boom Chicago roast of the company, Marc & Roland doing their yearly presentation dressed as American tv evangelists along with a gospel choir as their accompanying act. It all ended with us being locked up in the infamous dome jail of Breda to participate in a massive action role play event that made us escape from that prison. Another memorable weekend was etched in our memories forever.


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2018 |
STARWARE IS BECOMING A HOUSEHOLD NAME
Being at the start of our move to become a partner of JDA and our increased focus on implementing their WMS, customers don't necessarily think of Starware when they are in the market for a new WMS. This means that these first years we had to invest heavily into getting our name out. We participated in several large tradeshows and visited a huge number of potential customers in the sales cycle, all while delivering projects and enhancements for our existing customers. This year, we begin to see the effects of all these efforts as we start to win the first "own" customers in this area. The largest flower auction in the world is one of the main projects, and we will continue to work together for years to come.
2017 |
Starware 25 years!

Starware becomes a quarter of a century old! And we celebrate with our "Fireball rally," racing from different locations in the Netherlands to Germany. The whole program was shrouded in secrecy again, teams were told to assemble on a beach in Bergen aan Zee in pre-formed teams. In true cannonball run style, teams arranged special transport and matching outfits. What followed was a competition of rally driving to unknown locations. Days and nights filled with surprises like carpool karaoke challenges, rib-boat rides to the dutch wadden islands, a nightly bonfire on the beach along with musical entertainment, tank driving (yes in a real tank!), laser gaming, biking, food challenges...the list never stopped. The ultimate winners of these 4 crazy days were crowned champions at a local beach club on the riverbanks in Hamburg. Next to the eternal fame, they earned a joyride in the new company car: a fully restored 1967 Ford Mustang that Marc & Roland bought for the occasion.



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2016 |
ICH BIN EIN HAMBURGER 
Starware becomes a multinational by opening a new office and setting up a company in Hamburg, Germany. As the German market has a huge potential for our work, it is a logical choice. We learn about 2 great consultants leaving their current job due to a relocation of their employer's head office. With their help, we set up the company in a day! With a lightning-fast visit to Hamburg and the punctual planning Germans are known for, we visited offices, opened a lease for the best one, arranged the paperwork at the notary, and opened our main bank account. We were even finished in time to celebrate in Das Altes Mädchen with great company, beers, and a lovely dinner!
2015 |
THE END OF MYSCILS
We come to the conclusion that the world isn't ready yet for Myscils. We built the whole platform on 2008 technology, so scalability was becoming a problem as we had to handle huge amounts of data for that time. Also, although all the large accounts we were visiting immediately saw the potential and were engaged in the system and the theory behind MyScils, the impact of the application was huge for any organisation. It meant finance, the supply chain department, IT, and general management all needed a seat on the table to discuss the implications of the system. This wasn't speeding up the decision-making process and the system has become a victim of its own potential in terms of being sellable. Finally, our success and partnership with JDA make us decide to go all-in on Blue even before becoming a blue yonder slogan.


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2015 |
JDA PARTNER AWARD 
All this collaboration doesn't stay unnoticed, and at the yearly JDA Customer and Partner Summit, Starware is awarded its first of many JDA partner awards. We are delighted with such an achievement, of course, and after a night of celebrations, Marc woke up next to the award that was miraculously still in one piece!
2015 |
SPRECHEN SIE DEUTSCH?
It's 2015, and JDA doesn't have a strong WMS partner at this point in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so we agree to become a partner in those countries as well. We join forces for sales activities and go to market together. In the meantime, we are also running major implementation projects for a huge diary supplier and start our implementation of one of the largest fashion EDC's in Europe.


German bbq starware
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2014 |
A FOOT IN THE DOOR
A bit frustrated by our earlier failed attempts to become a Red Prairie partner, we set our mind to establish a relationship with the new JDA company. An opportunity arises when we see that there is a business event organised in Barcelona. Although it is primarily focused on customers, we try to apply via a link we stumbled upon and are admitted (to our own surprise).
We followed some interesting workshops and presentations and later on tried to crash the afterparty in the hotel's rooftop bar. After some drinks with random strangers, we were finally pointed in the right direction of the newly formed partner management. This is the beginning of our partnership with JDA, and we will grow it every year.
2013 |
RED PRAIRIE BECOMES JDA
In 2013 Red Prairie merges with JDA software and becomes an even bigger player in the Supply Chain Software market. It also starts a culture shift within the company, and there is an increased focus on partners to create a stronger offering to their customers.


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venlo office bert and franklin small


2013 |
BALANCING IT OUT
The importance of work and life becomes more and more important for Starware after our earlier experiences. In the past years, a lot of our new colleagues are coming from the area around Venlo in Holland as it is one of the main logistical hot spots here. Venlo is a 2 hours drive from our office, and although it is a nice adventure to drive to Reeuwijk every day and we have great lease cars for everyone, we understand people got less and less enthusiastic about this. One of our first colleagues from this area, Jay, knows a great little office near Venlo to build our first branch office in and it is quickly decided that this is a great idea and would improve everyone's life a lot.
2012 |
20 YEARS OF STARWARE
2012 is also the year that Starware celebrates its 20th year of being in business. In true Starware style, we plan a secret weekend for all Starware employees and their better halves. A getaway to the beautiful city of Bilbao at the end of the summer. Nobody knows where we are going till they board the plane to Biarritz. What follows is a legendary action-packed weekend of culture, tapas, bar tours, exploration, and trying out our basque Michelin star qualities in a cooking workshop. Unfortunately for some, Bilbao turned out to be a city that never sleeps. That especially becomes clear the following day when the program continues with an hour-long bus ride on winding roads to a nearby town. In the Basque Country, they probably believe now that green is the national color of the Netherlands.


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2012 |
we were on a break!

After this monster project, we all need a well-deserved break. Roland takes the opportunity to wander around New Zealand with his family for a couple of months, and other project members also take some extended holidays. When everyone returned, we realised that we had now all gained so much experience in configuring the red prairie stem and solving issues that we can easily run full implementations on our own from now on.

2011 |
OUR AHA-ERLEBNIS
The next big thing for Starware is to play a role in the go-live support for another high-end tech customer for a large 3PL. The 3PL implemented the system all by themselves but acknowledged some possible issues in the system's configuration and asked us to drum up a large hypercare team for multiple shifts of on-site support during the go-live.
We find out that although the Red Prairie system is a great system and literally enables you to build any warehouse process you want in it, it's not really always a good idea to do so. It turns out the system is pretty unforgiving if you don't exactly work out all your flows entirely.
Right now, the sentence "this exception should never happen as it is not in the work instructions" is a clear sign for us to run for the hills if we ever hear someone utter it again.
We won't forget all the effort we put into a huge problematic shipment and finally getting it staged for departure, only to find it unpacked and processed at inbound as a return again the next morning due to a glitch... 3 TIMES in a row!
Also, the weekend of puzzling with a room full of experts trying to make sense of why the system was giving so many errors all the sudden, only to find out that someone (in his effort to provide support) removed ALL order-lines with the line number 10 from the entire database, will not be easily forgotten 😉
It takes us a Herculean effort and many, many sleepless nights to turn the worst go live in history around to a successful operation. However, in the end, together with the customer's team, we pull through and will still be helping this customer changing its processes 10 years later, although in a much calmer setting.


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2009 |
RED PRAIRIE 
We notice that Red Prairie discrete WMS is gaining a lot of traction with our larger customers. They are phasing out their existing home-grown WMS's and are moving to the industry-leading WMS of Red Prairie. This poses a challenge for us as this system has all customisation possibilities and output management capabilities built in. We acquaint ourselves with the software and get the chance to help out with several large implementations, gaining even more experience. We try to become an official partner of Red Prairie, but unfortunately, they don't have such a program.
2008 |
BOOM 
Marc just became a father year ago, and Roland took a break for a couple of months to pursue his dream of travelling through Australia. This year, e-commerce starts to become a booming business, and the first smartphones are seeing the light. Also, there is an increased focus on supply chains and how to model and measure them, so better decisions can be made regarding planning, capacity, and value. Furthermore, one of our oldest business contacts wants to start a business for himself. So after some brainstorming sessions, we decide to start the joint venture MyScils as a side project. We manage to build an interactive visual dashboard in which you can model and design your supply chain, set budget values on all key flows and entities and then start interfacing data from all operational systems, so you get a clear picture of expectations versus real-world actuals. It is a great endeavour, and we are learning to deal with loads of new technologies and languages again.



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2007 |
15 YEARS

After 15 years of being in business, we totally transform our company, move to a new great office, and go to Iceland with the whole team to celebrate our anniversary on a long weekend packed with adventure, beautiful landscapes, and long nights in Reykjavik.

2006 |
GOING GLOBAL
The functionalities of our software and the services around it get noticed all around the world. We travel all across Europe and from Hong Kong to the USA to help with implementations and teach local teams about our tools.
In the end, our output management software is so successful that the global division of our largest customer decides they could create a similar product themselves and outsource the work to a large party in India. We focus on our quality and keep steadily growing our team. We are still doing major implementations and steadily branching out our services to other main 3PL customers.


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2004 |
the grid
After the initial success with the scanner tools, we further specialise ourselves in improving and customising ICT systems in the supply chain. Our largest customer is implementing their new WMS for every large customer they land. The system is quite rigid and not very strong in output management and integration. Also, add ons and customisations are difficult to create. So we get a chance to get involved with the largest technology customer right now, initially to build some KPI reports. We quickly notice a possibility to intercept events and interfaces from the WMS, and the idea is born to create our own Output Management System based on Crystal Reports and Microsoft .Net.
The possibilities turn out to be endless. We create every report, document, and label imaginable in a warehouse and are involved in every major implementation since then. Later on, we extend the modular functionality to handle interfaces and EDI messages and add a dashboard feature to create custom dashboards, additional screens, and reports tailored to that implementation. This software later evolved into the product known as The Grid.
2003 |
Do they know it's Xmas time?

Our renewed focus makes work much more enjoyable and Starware profitable again. We celebrate the end of the year with a legendary party at the local tapas restaurant. Not every one of our young staff could handle all the sangria very well at this point, but we managed to get everyone home safe and sound again.



1st starware xmas party Marc and Roland
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2003 |
the world of logistics

After that, we get into more and more projects to create full warehouse batch scanner applications for 3PLs customers like Nokia. These applications open up an array of possibilities for the operation that are unheard of till now. We spend a lot of days and nights in the warehouse in Roosendaal to get everything working in record time. Consequently, the customer was so happy with the solution that we flew all over the world to implement it at the other sites in Finland and Brazil.

2002 |
WAIT FOR THE BEEP

We have discovered that our combined knowledge of logistics and ICT is scarce. Moreover, we've always enjoyed tweaking the logistics and supply chain aspects of our own operation. The case is, we are lucky enough to know a guy that is working at one of the biggest 3PL's in the Netherlands at this time: Nedlloyd. He is aware of an issue they are having in the warehouse with a scanner that refuses to play a confirmation beep at the right time. We fixed the issue in minutes, where others were struggling for weeks. Soon after that first impression, we are invited to join a project to set up a Business Intelligence system 'Avant la Lettre', that enables standardisation and measurements of logistic processes across customers and warehouses.



label man
starware 2001 before clean your desk policy


2001 |
before the "clean your desk policy" 😉

Work is coming at us from all these angles, and we are having some serious growing pains. It is already getting clear that we will need to clean up our act (and our desks), regroup, and focus our efforts again to make the work a little less crazy again. 

2001 |
the perfect storm

After years of growth, a number of things are happening at the same time, and it feels like the perfect storm: the first internet bubble just burst, computers have become a commodity, and the world economy is holding its breath after 9-11. Our plans to refocus go into the maelstrom. We are forced to re-invent ourselves quickly and let go of some great employees. This is probably the hardest period of our existence.



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2000 last starware computers


2000 |
last Starware computers
It's around the year 2000, and we are constantly visiting the CEBIT in Hannover (a huge computer TradeShow with worldwide suppliers) to look for the latest computer housing designs and components. These were always hard days at the trade shows (and the afterparties at night ;-)). We always ended up with new ideas and great components, though.
At this time, we are at the peak of our hardware game, and we are building and selling close to a thousand computers per year for local businesses like the Gemiva SVG. Also, the tax breaks given to companies to provide their personnel with a computer at home caused a huge spike in the demand for quality computers.
1999 |
the Xmas party like it's 1999...

Oh wait, it's actually 1999... Till now, we have been so busy working that besides visiting the local bars or joining a house rave now and then, there has been no need to organise real parties. Well, a lot has changed ever since: after the first try with a great karting event and a very, very late dinner, we could not get enough, and we set a precedent for many parties to follow!



1st starware xmas party marlboro
98 starware office 2.0 2


1998 |
GROWING again

We keep on growing: Marc's brother, Sander, is joining the company, and Roland's father Ab is always helping out where he can: getting the administration straight for us, painting the office, or getting a better deal on cars at any garage. Next to that, we hire a small army of part-timers from our old schools, provide work for interns, and employ other local talents from our extensive network.

1997 |
first company cars

Our hard work locally gets us in touch with bigger and bigger local companies, and one of our local role models (SPS) takes us under their wing. We are building specific monitoring PCs for them and helping them providing system support services at large corporations like the former dutch broadcasting company (NOB), the dutch waterworks, and potato giants like Aviko. But, of course, we need a more reliable mode of transport for all this, and it's the first time Starware's blue Citroën Saxo's are leased, completed with a Starware logo!



first company cars marc and roland
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1997 |
GROWING PAINS
As we keep on growing and branch out our service offerings, we see a real need to expand in terms of space and employees. Our first hires include Roland's sister, Debbie, & long-term friend, and Marc's old boss, Frank. It's time to move towards a bigger office (next door). Next to the optimising of our computer selling supply chain together with Frank, we also took over an infamous bookkeeping system called Balans +.
1996 |
The original Starware computers

As Starware's computers are becoming a household name in Reeuwijk and far beyond, we are coming up with a whole line of the latest hardware, making more and more professional brochures, and selling and building many computers. At the same time, we are developing SIS, Starware's information system in Visual Basic, and an access database. We now can do item and category management, stock management, automated ordering and invoicing, stock counts, creating delivery notes and packing lists. Before we knew it, we had built our own little WMS.



the original starware computers
first tradeshow starware


1996 |
OUR FIRST TRADE SHOW

Now that we have gathered some local fame as the kids that know everything about computers, we are getting invites for local business clubs and trade shows. As we have never done such a thing and are very intrigued by the concept of free drinks afterwards, we quickly decide to join. It turns out to be very successful and we are reaching new record levels of sales!

1995 |
the first Starware office

It's 1995, and Roland's parents are finally fed up with trucks blocking the street, unloading pallets of computers, and us hauling everything up and down the stairs. They can also do without the nightly faxes with new pricelists from Thailand and us finishing all the beer in the house for "creative inspiration." So, after spending a summer holiday partying on the Spanish Costas and giving our first large customers support via a payphone on the beach, we decide to quit our education and go all-in on Starware. We found a small office near our homes in Reeuwijk and worked our asses off to get an actual business going.



starware office 1.0 computer
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1992 |
THE original attic office

This is the place it all started for us: a couple of extended desks, some chairs, and a filing cabinet in Roland's childhood bedroom at his parent's house. Also, not the unmistakably 90's style fashion we are wearing. In this picture, we are probably having a thorough deliberation about using either sound blasters or adlib music cards in our next line of Starware computers. We offered them via a very well-designed printed price list on our school's bulletin board!

venlo office under construction
2021 |
new office in Venlo

With the Covid measures and increasing number of colleagues, our space in Venlo started to get a bit too crowded. So we have moved across the street and are setting up a bigger office in the same cool style as the office in Gouda.

starting a new company during the pandemic. Starware expands to Melbourne and Toronto
2021 |
Take on the world!
Starting a company in the middle of a pandemic might come out a bit strange. It's even worse when you set up two and do it remotely. But, despite everything, we enter a new phase as the number of large accounts keeps growing, and the demand for 24x7 support is continuously increasing in this 24-hour economy. So, to correct the work-life balance once more, we are moving away from nightly standby shifts and implementing a follow the sunset up in which we can provide local support for our customers from inspiring locations.
collage starware update 2020
2020 |
what, no Xmas party?

Usually, the Xmas party is one of the highlights of the year at Starware. Due to the covid lockdown, there is no way to organise this safely this year, so we have opted to bring a bit of the Xmas spirit to everyone. Dressed as Santa and his reindeer, Marc & Roland drove 2000 kilometers in 3 days to deliver everyone a freshly chef-prepared Xmas dinner along with a wine arrangement and entertainment for a perfect Xmas night. In lack of a true Santa sleigh, we used our friends of the parcel delivery services and video calling to even mimic the experience for our new colleagues in Australia and Canada.

survival kit for remote workers starware
2020 |
WORLD PANDEMIC
With the arrival of Covid-19, the whole world goes into lockdown. We are doing our best to support all people at Starware and prepare a lockdown package to cheer them up and help them through these difficult times. When we could finally slowly go back to the office again, Marc & Roland made this insightful instruction video for everyone to make sure all precautions were taken.
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2019 |
brand new office

The come of new employees meant Starware's current office was slowly becoming too small, so we moved to a new office in the center of Gouda with more space, great coffee, and the latest technologies.

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2018 |
SEVEN DEADLY SINS
We are approaching the end of 2018, and our team has grown to over 50 persons. We just hired our first internal people operations manager to help us recruit and structure our employee management. We are celebrating another great year by hosting an action-packed weekend in a former church of Breda. There we have great activities around these seven sins: a boxing workshop with Olympic superstar Arnold van der Leijden, a great Boom Chicago roast of the company, Marc & Roland doing their yearly presentation dressed as American tv evangelists along with a gospel choir as their accompanying act. It all ended with us being locked up in the infamous dome jail of Breda to participate in a massive action role play event that made us escape from that prison. Another memorable weekend was etched in our memories forever.
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2018 |
STARWARE IS BECOMING A HOUSEHOLD NAME
Being at the start of our move to become a partner of JDA and our increased focus on implementing their WMS, customers don't necessarily think of Starware when they are in the market for a new WMS. This means that these first years we had to invest heavily into getting our name out. We participated in several large tradeshows and visited a huge number of potential customers in the sales cycle, all while delivering projects and enhancements for our existing customers. This year, we begin to see the effects of all these efforts as we start to win the first "own" customers in this area. The largest flower auction in the world is one of the main projects, and we will continue to work together for years to come.
Image
2017 |
Starware 25 years!

Starware becomes a quarter of a century old! And we celebrate with our "Fireball rally," racing from different locations in the Netherlands to Germany. The whole program was shrouded in secrecy again, teams were told to assemble on a beach in Bergen aan Zee in pre-formed teams. In true cannonball run style, teams arranged special transport and matching outfits. What followed was a competition of rally driving to unknown locations. Days and nights filled with surprises like carpool karaoke challenges, rib-boat rides to the dutch wadden islands, a nightly bonfire on the beach along with musical entertainment, tank driving (yes in a real tank!), laser gaming, biking, food challenges...the list never stopped. The ultimate winners of these 4 crazy days were crowned champions at a local beach club on the riverbanks in Hamburg. Next to the eternal fame, they earned a joyride in the new company car: a fully restored 1967 Ford Mustang that Marc & Roland bought for the occasion.

Image
2016 |
ICH BIN EIN HAMBURGER 
Starware becomes a multinational by opening a new office and setting up a company in Hamburg, Germany. As the German market has a huge potential for our work, it is a logical choice. We learn about 2 great consultants leaving their current job due to a relocation of their employer's head office. With their help, we set up the company in a day! With a lightning-fast visit to Hamburg and the punctual planning Germans are known for, we visited offices, opened a lease for the best one, arranged the paperwork at the notary, and opened our main bank account. We were even finished in time to celebrate in Das Altes Mädchen with great company, beers, and a lovely dinner!
Image
2015 |
THE END OF MYSCILS
We come to the conclusion that the world isn't ready yet for Myscils. We built the whole platform on 2008 technology, so scalability was becoming a problem as we had to handle huge amounts of data for that time. Also, although all the large accounts we were visiting immediately saw the potential and were engaged in the system and the theory behind MyScils, the impact of the application was huge for any organisation. It meant finance, the supply chain department, IT, and general management all needed a seat on the table to discuss the implications of the system. This wasn't speeding up the decision-making process and the system has become a victim of its own potential in terms of being sellable. Finally, our success and partnership with JDA make us decide to go all-in on Blue even before becoming a Blue yonder slogan.
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2015 |
JDA PARTNER AWARD 
All this collaboration doesn't stay unnoticed, and at the yearly JDA Customer and Partner Summit, Starware is awarded its first of many JDA partner awards. We are delighted with such an achievement, of course, and after a night of celebrations, Marc woke up next to the award that was miraculously still in one piece!
German bbq starware
2015 |
SPRECHEN SIE DEUTSCH?
It's 2015, and JDA doesn't have a strong WMS partner at this point in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so we agree to become a partner in those countries as well. We join forces for sales activities and go to market together. In the meantime, we are also running major implementation projects for a huge diary supplier and start our implementation of one of the largest fashion EDC's in Europe.
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2014 |
A FOOT IN THE DOOR
A bit frustrated by our earlier failed attempts to become a Red Prairie partner, we set our mind to establish a relationship with the new JDA company. An opportunity arises when we see that there is a business event organised in Barcelona. Although it is primarily focused on customers, we try to apply via a link we stumbled upon and are admitted (to our own surprise).
We followed some interesting workshops and presentations and later on tried to crash the afterparty in the hotel's rooftop bar. After some drinks with random strangers, we were finally pointed in the right direction of the newly formed partner management. This is the beginning of our partnership with JDA, and we will grow it every year.
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2013 |
RED PRAIRIE BECOMES JDA
In 2013 Red Prairie merges with JDA software and becomes an even bigger player in the Supply Chain Software market. It also starts a culture shift within the company, and there is an increased focus on partners to create a stronger offering to their customers.
venlo office bert and franklin small
2013 |
BALANCING IT OUT
The importance of work and life becomes more and more important for Starware after our earlier experiences. In the past years, a lot of our new colleagues are coming from the area around Venlo in Holland as it is one of the main logistical hot spots here. Venlo is a 2 hours drive from our office, and although it is a nice adventure to drive to Reeuwijk every day and we have great lease cars for everyone, we understand people got less and less enthusiastic about this. One of our first colleagues from this area, Jay, knows a great little office near Venlo to build our first branch office in and it is quickly decided that this is a great idea and would improve everyone's life a lot.
Image
2012 |
20 YEARS OF STARWARE
2012 is also the year that Starware celebrates its 20th year of being in business. In true Starware style, we plan a secret weekend for all Starware employees and their better halves. A getaway to the beautiful city of Bilbao at the end of the summer. Nobody knows where we are going till they board the plane to Biarritz. What follows is a legendary action-packed weekend of culture, tapas, bar tours, exploration, and trying out our basque Michelin star qualities in a cooking workshop. Unfortunately for some, Bilbao turned out to be a city that never sleeps. That especially becomes clear the following day when the program continues with an hour-long bus ride on winding roads to a nearby town. In the Basque Country, they probably believe now that green is the national color of the Netherlands.
Image
2012 |
we were on a break!

After this monster project, we all need a well-deserved break. Roland takes the opportunity to wander around New Zealand with his family for a couple of months, and other project members also take some extended holidays. When everyone returned, we realised that we had now all gained so much experience in configuring the red prairie stem and solving issues that we can easily run full implementations on our own from now on.

Image
2011 |
OUR AHA-ERLEBNIS
The next big thing for Starware is to play a role in the go-live support for another high-end tech customer for a large 3PL. The 3PL implemented the system all by themselves but acknowledged some possible issues in the system's configuration and asked us to drum up a large hypercare team for multiple shifts of on-site support during the go-live.
We find out that although the Red Prairie system is a great system and literally enables you to build any warehouse process you want in it, it's not really always a good idea to do so. It turns out the system is pretty unforgiving if you don't exactly work out all your flows entirely.
Right now, the sentence "this exception should never happen as it is not in the work instructions" is a clear sign for us to run for the hills if we ever hear someone utter it again.
We won't forget all the effort we put into a huge problematic shipment and finally getting it staged for departure, only to find it unpacked and processed at inbound as a return again the next morning due to a glitch... 3 TIMES in a row!
Also the weekend of puzzling with a room full of experts trying to make sense of why the system was giving so many errors all the sudden, only to find out that someone (in his effort to provide support) removed ALL order-lines with the line number 10 from the entire database, will not be easily forgotten 😉
It takes us a Herculean effort and many, many sleepless nights to turn the worst go live in history around to a successful operation. However, in the end, together with the customer's team, we pull through and will still be helping this customer changing its processes 10 years later, although in a much calmer setting.
Image
2009 |
RED PRAIRIE 
We notice that Red Prairie discrete WMS is gaining a lot of traction with our larger customers. They are phasing out their existing home-grown WMS's and are moving to the industry-leading WMS of Red Prairie. This poses a challenge for us as this system has all customisation possibilities and output management capabilities built in. We acquaint ourselves with the software and get the chance to help out with several large implementations, gaining even more experience. We try to become an official partner of Red Prairie, but unfortunately, they don't have such a program.
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2008 |
BOOM 
Marc just became a father year ago, and Roland took a break for a couple of months to pursue his dream of travelling through Australia. This year, e-commerce starts to become a booming business, and the first smartphones are seeing the light. Also, there is an increased focus on supply chains and how to model and measure them, so better decisions can be made regarding planning, capacity, and value. Furthermore, one of our oldest business contacts wants to start a business for himself. So after some brainstorming sessions, we decide to start the joint venture MyScils as a side project. We manage to build an interactive visual dashboard in which you can model and design your supply chain, set budget values on all key flows and entities and then start interfacing data from all operational systems, so you get a clear picture of expectations versus real-world actuals. It is a great endeavour, and we are learning to deal with loads of new technologies and languages again.

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2007 |
15 YEARS

After 15 years of being in business, we totally transform our company, move to a new great office, and go to Iceland with the whole team to celebrate our anniversary on a long weekend packed with adventure, beautiful landscapes, and long nights in Reykjavik.

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2006 |
GOING GLOBAL
The functionalities of our software and the services around it get noticed all around the world. We travel all across Europe and from Hong Kong to the USA to help with implementations and teach local teams about our tools.
In the end, our output management software is so successful that the global division of our largest customer decides they could create a similar product themselves and outsource the work to a large party in India. We focus on our quality and keep steadily growing our team. We are still doing major implementations and steadily branching out our services to other main 3PL customers.
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2004 |
the grid
After the initial success with the scanner tools, we further specialise ourselves in improving and customising ICT systems in the supply chain. Our largest customer is implementing their new WMS for every large customer they land. The system is quite rigid and not very strong in output management and integration. Also, add ons and customisations are difficult to create. So we get a chance to get involved with the largest technology customer right now, initially to build some KPI reports. We quickly notice a possibility to intercept events and interfaces from the WMS, and the idea is born to create our own Output Management System based on Crystal Reports and Microsoft .Net.
The possibilities turn out to be endless. We create every report, document, and label imaginable in a warehouse and are involved in every major implementation since then. Later on, we extend the modular functionality to handle interfaces and EDI messages and add a dashboard feature to create custom dashboards, additional screens, and reports tailored to that implementation. This software later evolved into the product known as The Grid.
1st starware xmas party Marc and Roland
2003 |
Do they know it's Xmas time?

Our renewed focus makes work much more enjoyable and Starware profitable again. We celebrate the end of the year with a legendary party at the local tapas restaurant. Not every one of our young staff could handle all the sangria very well at this point, but we managed to get everyone home safe and sound again.

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2003 |
the world of logistics

After that, we get into more and more projects to create full warehouse batch scanner applications for 3PLs customers like Nokia. These applications open up an array of possibilities for the operation that are unheard of till now. We spend a lot of days and nights in the warehouse in Roosendaal to get everything working in record time. Consequently, the customer was so happy with the solution that we flew all over the world to implement it at the other sites in Finland and Brazil.

label man
2002 |
WAIT FOR THE BEEP

We have discovered that our combined knowledge of logistics and ICT is scarce. Moreover, we've always enjoyed tweaking the logistics and supply chain aspects of our own operation. The case is, we are lucky enough to know a guy that is working at one of the biggest 3PL's in the Netherlands at this time: Nedlloyd. He is aware of an issue they are having in the warehouse with a scanner that refuses to play a confirmation beep at the right time. We fixed the issue in minutes, where others were struggling for weeks. Soon after that first impression, we are invited to join a project to set up a Business Intelligence system 'Avant la Lettre', that enables standardisation and measurements of logistic processes across customers and warehouses.

starware 2001 before clean your desk policy
2001 |
before the "clean your desk policy" 😉

Work is coming at us from all these angles, and we are having some serious growing pains. It is already getting clear that we will need to clean up our act (and our desks), regroup, and focus our efforts again to make the work a little less crazy again. 

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2001 |
the perfect storm

After years of growth, a number of things are happening at the same time, and it feels like the perfect storm: the first internet bubble just burst, computers have become a commodity, and the world economy is holding its breath after 9-11. Our plans to refocus go into the maelstrom. We are forced to re-invent ourselves quickly and let go of some great employees. This is probably the hardest period of our existence.

2000 last starware computers
2000 |
last starware computers
It's around the year 2000, and we are constantly visiting the CEBIT in Hannover (a huge computer TradeShow with worldwide suppliers) to look for the latest computer housing designs and components. These were always hard days at the trade shows (and the afterparties at night ;-)). We always ended up with new ideas and great components, though.
At this time, we are at the peak of our hardware game, and we are building and selling close to a thousand computers per year for local businesses like the Gemiva SVG. Also, the tax breaks given to companies to provide their personnel with a computer at home caused a huge spike in the demand for quality computers.
1st starware xmas party marlboro
1999 |
the Xmas par like it's 1999...

Oh wait, it's actually 1999... Till now, we have been so busy working that besides visiting the local bars or joining a house rave now and then, there has been no need to organise real parties. Well, a lot has changed ever since: after the first try with a great karting event and a very, very late dinner, we could not get enough, and we set a precedent for many parties to follow!

98 starware office 2.0 2
1998 |
GROWING again

We keep on growing: Marc's brother, Sander, is joining the company, and Roland's father Ab is always helping out where he can: getting the administration straight for us, painting the office, or getting a better deal on cars at any garage. Next to that, we hire a small army of part-timers from our old schools, provide work for interns, and employ other local talents from our extensive network.

first company cars marc and roland
1997 |
first company cars

Our hard work locally gets us in touch with bigger and bigger local companies, and one of our local role models (SPS) takes us under their wing. We are building specific monitoring PCs for them and helping them providing system support services at large corporations like the former dutch broadcasting company (NOB), the dutch waterworks, and potato giants like Aviko. But, of course, we need a more reliable mode of transport for all this, and it's the first time Starware's blue Citroën Saxo's are leased, completed with a Starware logo!

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1997 |
GROWING PAINS
As we keep on growing and branch out our service offerings, we see a real need to expand in terms of space and employees. Our first hires include Roland's sister, Debbie, & long-term friend, and Marc's old boss, Frank. It's time to move towards a bigger office (next door). Next to the optimising of our computer selling supply chain together with Frank (...not clear...), we also took over an infamous bookkeeping system called Balans +.
the original starware computers
1996 |
The original Starware computers

As Starware's computers are becoming a household name in Reeuwijk and far beyond, we are coming up with a whole line of the latest hardware, making more and more professional brochures, and selling and building many computers. At the same time, we are developing SIS, Starware's information system in Visual Basic, and an access database. We now can do item and category management, stock management, automated ordering and invoicing, stock counts, creating delivery notes and packing lists. Before we knew it, we had built our own little WMS.

first tradeshow starware
1996 |
OUR FIRST TRADE SHOW

Now that we have gathered some local fame as the kids that know everything about computers, we are getting invites for local business clubs and trade shows. As we have never done such a thing and are very intrigued by the concept of free drinks afterwards, we quickly decide to join. It turns out to be very successful and we are reaching new record levels of sales!

starware office 1.0 computer
1995 |
the first Starware office

It's 1995, and Roland's parents are finally fed up with trucks blocking the street, unloading pallets of computers, and us hauling everything up and down the stairs. They can also do without the nightly faxes with new pricelists from Thailand and us finishing all the beer in the house for "creative inspiration." So, after spending a summer holiday partying on the Spanish Costas and giving our first large customers support via a payphone on the beach, we decide to quit our education and go all-in on Starware. We found a small office near our homes in Reeuwijk and worked our asses off to get an actual business going.

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1992 |
THE original attic office

This is the place it all started for us: a couple of extended desks, some chairs, and a filing cabinet in Roland's childhood bedroom at his parent's house. Also, not the unmistakably 90's style fashion we are wearing. In this picture, we are probably having a thorough deliberation about using either sound blasters or adlib music cards in our next line of Starware computers. We offered them via a very well-designed printed price list on our school's bulletin board!