You are here

How Flanders drives innovation in e-commerce and e-fulfilment

The challenges for e-commerce are manifold. Shorter lead times and greater volumes of smaller orders are just the tip of the iceberg. E-warehouses are also confronted with the need for highly flexible floor space and automation, along with extreme seasonal peaks in demand, higher return rates, a growing demand for tailored supply chains, and more.

Luckily, Flanders has the answer: innovative support that touches all facets of modern supply chain management. As such, your business can tap into the latest trends in e-commerce and logistics, including:

  • big data;
  • omni-channel logistics;
  • unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and cobots;
  • augmented reality
  • 3D visualization; and
  • track and trace solutions.

Flanders Institute for Logistics (VIL)

The Flanders Institute for Logistics (VIL) is the driving force behind Flanders’ logistics and e-fulfilment industries. It strives to reinforce the region’s competitive advantages by:

  • encouraging innovation;
  • conducting research;
  • supporting companies and collaborating with them in the development of new applications.

VIL is also the single point of contact for the Spearhead Cluster for Logistics of the government of Flanders. This multidisciplinary collaboration between industry and research players focuses on four innovation domains:

  1. digitization in logistics;
  2. Flanders’ logistics gateways;
  3. sustainability;
  4. omni-channel retail logistics.

Digitization, robotics and other advanced technologies in logistics

While big data and digitization have already become the cement of online marketing, sales and purchasing, e-businesses are also considering the possibilities of digitizing the logistics framework behind their online shops. Flanders is home to various organizations to help them do just that.

Innovative industry partners

From drones and cobots to augmented reality, several industry partners are working on or driving new developments that can be applied in the supply chain of tomorrow:

  • imec – Flanders’ strategic research center for digital innovation and nanotechnology, based in Leuven and Ghent, works closely with the Flanders Institute for Logistics (VIL). One of imec’s strategic focal points is smart logistics, developing innovations that drive e-commerce and e-fulfilment forward.

  • VITO – One of Flanders’ four strategic research centers, VITO conducts multi-disciplinary technological research in cleantech and sustainable development. The organization is also one of the strategic partners of VIL, the Flanders Institute for Logistics.

  • EUKA – Ghent-based competence center that helps develop drone technologies and train drone pilots to support the UAV industry.

  • I-TEX – This research project – a collaboration between Centexbel (textile research center), Arteveldehogeschool (university college) and Flanders Inshape – helps B2B textile companies in Flanders transform their business model in line with the e-commerce trend.

Support organizations for e-commerce in Flanders

  • Vlaio – Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship offers advice and a range of subsidies to help companies with the start-up of their activities, the growth and continuity of their business, and supports numerous projects in e-commerce.

  • Flanders DC – Short for ‘Flanders District of Creativity’, this organization supports, promotes and connects creative entrepreneurs in Flanders. Flanders DC focuses, among other sectors, on the e-commerce industry.

  • FeWeb – Short for ‘Federation of Web companies’, FeWeb supports e-business growth by improving the digital business climate, improve the quality of online services, stimulate knowledge sharing and inspire both the sector and its digital professionals.

  • BeCommerce – As the association of companies active in online sales and other forms of e-commerce, BeCommerce aims to strengthen both the sector and consumer trust through promotion, certification and the BeCommerce quality label.

Interested in doing business in Flanders?

Let us help you!

  • We can introduce you to other companies, banks and regulators
  • We organize site visits to real estate locations
  • We assist with all legal aspects of setting up a business
  • We're an official government agency
  • Our services are completely free
  • We are a team of international experts

Receive our handbook to growing your business in Flanders

  • It's completely free.
  • Get an overview of all incentives relevant to your company.
  • Tax system explained in-depth.
  • Learn how to set up your business quickly.
  • Discover the benefits of Flanders (in addition to the chocolate).

In addition to the ebook, I agree to receive one or two follow-up emails