Nike’s European distribution centre in Laakdal, Belgium serves markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The 200,000 m2 facility houses 3 operations - one for apparel, one for footwear and one for sports equipment - which share a common, high-bay warehouse.
In the past, Nike had warehousing operations in 20 European countries. They decided to consolidate their European distribution operation to provide customers with all items in the product range, while reducing costs and enhancing efficiency. The facility was opened in 1994.
Vanderlande built the material handling system. Since the opening, Nike has partnered with Vanderlande to make several adjustements to the existing system. Within Nike, the Supply Chain is considered as one of its key pillars, considering the competitive advantage it can bring to the company. They felt a focused capacity and service optimisation program was required to support their growth (capacity) and to safeguard and improve their Supply Chain capabilities (service related). Objectives of the program were: a) Capacity and efficiency improvements, related to resolving the capacity bottlenecks and support business growth at an optimal supply chain cost, b) Lead time improvements, related to realising increased operational flexibility, essential to support more complex and demanding supply chain models. While redesigning some of their processes and processing areas, they placed high emphasis on incorporating employee related benefits.