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Bleckmann signs for e-fulfilment success in Flanders

With over 150 years of experience in supply chain management, Bleckmann functions as a logistics partner for fashion & lifestyle shops and webshops worldwide. Operating under the wings of the Dutch Netlog Logistics Group, Bleckmann leverages its roots in Flanders to tap into the global e-commerce market – with success: the company’s turnover has risen tremendously through the years.

Bleckmann Ghent

Omnichannel, it’s a lifestyle!

Bleckmann offers e-fulfilment solutions to internationally oriented fashion & lifestyle brands for the entire logistics chain: picking up goods, freight forwarding, warehousing, customs activities, value-added logistics and transport to the consumer. Pick-and-pack services, which cover the entire process from storage to delivery to the end consumer, are part of Bleckmann's specialty.

Tremendous growth

“We were fortunate to be part of the industry where e-commerce first made its appearance,” explains Steven Rymenans, chief innovation & digital officer at Bleckmann. “We needed to invest and develop instantly, allowing us to learn very quickly. Early exposure to e-commerce enabled our enormous growth, making us one of the largest players in the field.”

“What we achieved with online fitness clothing retailer Gymshark (UK) is a good example of how fast a company can grow with the right e-commerce support,” Rymenans continues. “When they first came knocking at our door, they sold an average of 150,000 pieces of clothing per year. By 2020, this figure rose to no fewer than 20 million units per year.”

Early exposure to e-commerce has made us one of the main players in the field.

Steven Rymenans
shareholder and chief innovation & data officer at Bleckmann

People and cobots hand in hand

To keep up with this expansion, the right mindset, technology and data systems are essential. Rymenans: “The only way to guarantee optimal e-fulfilment is to train our people quickly. But it’s nearly impossible to get there by relying solely on manpower and talent: a certain degree of automation is key too.”

“We are currently running a number of projects where cobots – collaborative robots – are working together with human employees to perform pick-and-pack activities. In addition, we aim to excel in data management to predict how much stock should be at which of our customers’ sites to ensure an optimal logistics flow.”

Rooted in Flanders – for good reason

While gaining international success, Bleckmann remains aware of the strengths and assets of its roots in Flanders. Steven Rymenans: “Geographically speaking, Flanders is ideally situated to connect with the rest of Western Europe: in virtually no time, you gain access to the German, French, Dutch and UK markets. In addition, Flanders’ international seaports – such as the Port of Antwerp – and the region’s road network offer our business excellent transport possibilities.”

“What’s more, the human capital and available talent in Flanders is unrivaled for our industry,” Rymenans continues. “Our people are well educated yet modest in their job requirements. They are motivated to roll up their sleeves.”

Bright future ahead

Looking at the future, Bleckmann keeps a positive outlook: “Flanders is our springboard to the rest of the globe. We intend to expand our activities in the region and far beyond. We want to continue building on our expertise in Flanders as the logistical heart of Europe and the world.”

Flanders is our springboard to the rest of the globe.

Steven Rymenans
shareholder and chief innovation & data officer at Bleckmann
Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade
24 November 2020

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