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Webinar ‘Future of European supply chains and distribution networks’

The pandemic, Brexit, trade wars and a de-globalization trend are changing European supply chains. In these uncertain times, the Netherlands has proven to be a reliable and efficient gateway for many overseas brands and manufacturers. But what will the future bring?

During the webinar ‘Future of European supply chains and distribution networks’ that had been organized on December 10 by HIDC and Invest in Holland partner OostNL, interesting speakers like Fons de Zeeuw, Management Team at OostNL, Johan Beukema, partner at Buck Consultants International and Jurrie-Jan Tap, Chief Commercial Officer at Bleckmann Fashion & Lifestyle logistics informed us about changing European manufacturing and distribution networks, strategies like re-shoring and near sourcing, but also postponed assembly and customization in European distribution centers.

The speakers concluded that international companies are looking to de-risk their supply chain, especially after a global disruptor like the pandemic. Redesigned supply chains will take effect in the coming years and result in more regionalization and decentralization, near-sourcing and potentially near-shoring of activities that are less dependent on low wages or overseas production networks. For the Netherlands, this brings opportunities as more postponed manufacturing activities will be taking place close to the market. At the same time, a decentralized distribution structure may change the service area of distribution centers in the Netherlands or their role in the European market. A focus on fostering the strong inbound logistics proposition combined with a highly innovative and automated warehousing and outbound logistics system can secure the position of the Netherlands as the number 1 gateway to Europe.

Missed it? Please click here to see the webinar.

Presentation Fons de Zeeuw, Management Team OostNL

Presentation Johan Beukema, partner at Buck Consultants International

Presentation Jurrie-Jan Tap, Chief Commercial Officer at Bleckmann Fashion & Lifestyle logistics


Questions and answers

Are people willing to pay extra costs for a more sustainable Supply Chain solution?
Jurrie-Jan Tap, Bleckmann: “Yes, people are willing to pay more for a more sustainable solution, or at least offer an alternative to their clients. Our experiences thus far however have been that more sustainable solutions usually do not have to cost more but rather ask for a bit longer commitment to justify the investments. Examples like solar panels, reducing waste programmes, alternative packaging solution and greener distribution alternatives  have been implemented for various customers this year.”

Johan Beukema, BCI: “Agreed with Jurrie-Jan’s answer. In addition: it also depends on the definition of sustainability. We see more companies broadening the definition to not only energy use, emissions, etc. but also including human aspects: do we offer a sustainable working environment (incl. the aspect of location) to be able to attract longer-term the talent that we need? Companies who use this definition are even more willing to pay more versus a less sustainable solution as they believe that longer-term this will contribute to their overall business case.”

What is the next main investment in digitalization in your Supply Chain?
Jurrie-Jan Tap, Bleckmann: “With regards to our investments in digitalization, we have plans in many area and have created a dedicated role in our Executive Committee to oversee our efforts. Key focus areas are around business intelligence, order management solutions and front end connections (through API’s and connections to the major webshop solutions such as Shopify)  to the many e-commerce clients we support.”

Do you think that weighing factors like for instance transport costs and riskmanagement are being redefined (mainly in new investing decisions. If so, in what kind of (product)segments this will be the case?
Johan Beukema, BCI: “Yes, especially risk factors get a higher weight than before. In our practice this is the case across all industry verticals. Naturally most significantly in sectors of industry which supply critical and/or high value products, but also in more bulky, lower value segments this is observed.”

December 11th 2020

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